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.

Piazza Navona

October 20, 2016

"Piazza Navona is not only the most exquisitely beautiful square in Rome, it's also the beating heart of the city."
―William Murray, City of the Soul: A Walk in Rome (Crown), not an essential book for the visitor, but an engaging, informative stroll through the city, written by someone who has lived there, as a child and an adult.

Scott Expedition at the Pole

October 13, 2016

Robert Falcon ("Con")Scott, Dr. Edward ("Uncle Bill") Wilson, Henry Robertson ("Birdie") Bowers, Lawrence Edward ("Titus") Oates, and Edgar ("Taff") Evans reach the South Pole in March 1912 to find that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen has beaten them to it.

A painful photo, illuminated by Beryl Bainbridge's novel, The Birthday Boys, which I've reviewed below.

And while I'm on the topic of the Scott expedition, another book I'd recommend is The Worst Journey in the World, by Apsley Cherry-Garrard. "Cherry," only 24 at the time of Scott's Terra Nova Expedition, was not along on the final run and lived to write this excellent work, with its account of the side-trip he made with Wilson and Bowers to visit the Emperor penguin rookery at Cape Crozier--an extraordinary journey so challenging they barely survived.

Riveting Story of Fatal Scott Expedition

October 11, 2016

The Birthday Boys
By Beryl Bainbridge. With a brief biography and photos of the author. Open Road Media, Digital, 2016.

Many books have been written about Robert Falcon Scott’s fatal expedition to the South Pole, but none I’ve read is more gripping than Beryl Bainbridge’s novel, The Birthday Boys. From the outset, we know the conclusion: the five men on the final run will reach the Pole, will find that the Norwegian Roald Amundsen has beat them to it, and will die returning to camp. But Bainbridge brings the men so fully to life, we feel we’re with them in their present, unaware of what lies ahead.

The novel is ingeniously constructed. (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.”

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