By Edith Durham. With a new introduction by John Hodgson. First published in 1909. Beacon Press, Virago/Beacon travelers, 1985, 352 pp.
I have always been fascinated by those early, mainly British, women travelers who donned their thick skirts and set off on incredibly difficult journeys—to Africa, or Asia, or the southern Arabian deserts. How ill-prepared they should have been. How extraordinarily well they coped! Mary Kingsley credited her good thick skirt for a safe landing when she fell into a game pit!
For Edith Durham, according to John Hodgson’s introduction to High Albania, travel began as a curative for a personal crisis. Read More
TraveLit--A blog about travel literature.
Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.
Little islands are all large prisons: one cannot look at the sea without wishing for the wings of a swallow.
Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will.
By Judith Schalansky. Translated from the German by Christine Lo. Penguin, 2009, 143 pp.
Islands occupy a fascinating place in the Western imagination. Conceptually, they exert a strong pull, but they pull in contradictory directions. On the one hand, they offer a dream of freedom, solitude, a perpetual idyll; on the other, a nightmare of imprisonment, isolation, and permanent abandonment. As Judith Schalansky observes in her elegant and original book, “Paradise is an island. So is hell.” Read More
Margaret Piton, writer, editor, lecturer, and blogger at yourtravelwriter.blogspot.com recommends two of her favorite books: Travels in Siberia by Ian Fraser, and Siberian Dawn by Jeffrey Tayler. "Both," she writes, "are very readable accounts of travel through one of the little explored but beautiful parts of the world."
Travel writer Elaine J. Masters recommends two books that she says she has adored: The Voluntourist:A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem by Ken Budd, and My Gutsy Story an anthology of short narratives compiled by Sonia Marsh.
On her web site, A Traveler's Library, freelance writer Vera Marie Badertscher reviews books (and sometimes movies) that inspire travel whether they would be found in the travel section or not--novels, non fiction, travel narrative, memoir, history, etc.--that have a strong sense of place and/or culture.