My aim on TraveLit is to introduce readers who share my love of travel literature to good books they may not know about. Mostly classics, some new, the books cover travel in its many forms, from exploration to tourism. Along with reviews, TraveLit also brings together provocative, entertaining travel quotations and reader recommendations. I welcome comments on the readings, the reviews, the quotations, or the fascinating enterprise of travel itself.

TraveLit--A blog about travel literature

Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

Book Review

September 24, 2014

Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes
By Robert Louis Stevenson. First published 1879.

In 1878 Robert Louis Stevenson, then in his twenties, set out from the village of Le Monastier to travel south through the Cevennes, the mountain range of south-central France. Determined to try to camp out, he had a sleeping sack constructed and then acquired a donkey to carry it.

The sleeping sack was a novelty—“a child of my invention,” as he calls it. But he himself, as he observes, was a novelty. “A traveller of my sort was a thing hitherto unheard of in that district. I was looked upon with contempt, like a man who should project a journey to the moon, but yet with a respectful intent, like one setting forth for the inclement Pole.” (more…)

Travel Quotation

September 21, 2014

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints."
―Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels With a Donkey in the Cevennes

Book Review

September 13, 2014

In A Sunburned Country
By Bill Bryson. Broadway Books, 2000, 307 pp.

In A Sunburned Country is too new to be considered a classic and Bill Bryson certainly can’t be called a “little-known” writer, but I enjoyed this book so much I feel compelled to recommend it. I’ve long wanted to return to Australia, having visited only briefly, and Bryson’s book intensified my longing to go back and see everything I missed—or some of what I missed, at least. As the author’s journey makes clear, this country is so huge that even traveling for weeks over many miles, you will still manage only a small portion of the continent’s vast territory. (more…)

Selected Works

Travel Memoir
"Loved this book, which appears to be but is more than an account of an anthropological expedition, more than a travel book, more than a memoir."--Barbara Beckwith, author of What Was I Thinking?: Digging Deeper into Everyday Racism,
"It is undoubtedly the best written account of, and reflection on, fieldwork I have read, and --perhaps -- the best book on fieldwork (period) I have come across. --Joel Savishinsky, Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus), Ithaca College, author of Trail of the Hare.
“An impressively insightful, deftly written, accessibly articulate, expertly knowledgeable, and decidedly analytical survey of…book reviewing today.”
Midwest Book Review
“Captivating stories in an anthology of epistolary fiction from the last 50 years.”

Quick Links

Find Authors