Which books inspire you to travel?

by Heather Cowper on December 30, 2012

As I enjoy both reading and travelling, one of the ways that I get the most from the places I visit, is to take along a book to provide extra enjoyment and inspire my travels. I don’t mean the travel guidebooks, but rather a novel or travel story that will let you soak up the atmosphere before you even reach the airport, or adds richness and understanding to the experience while you are there.

Here are some books that I found through my research to get inspired about places I’ve considered visiting in the past.

For Lebanon

De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage is about relationship between Bassam and George, childhood friends living in Lebanon.

De Niro's Game Click to view on Amazon

For Ethiopia

The Emperor by Ryszard Kapuscinski relates the story of the court of the last Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie I (1892-1975),the period during which Selassie reigned as absolute ruler and source of all power in his country, and traces its way to his downfall at the hands of a military coup in 1974, and his subsequent death.

The Emperor Click to view on Amazon

The Shadow of the Sun by the same author gives an insight into the African continent at the time of independence.

Shadow of the sun Click to view on Amazon

For Malaysia

Malayan Trilogy by Anthony Burgess is three inter-connected, but independent stories on the dying days of the British empire.

Malayan Trilogy Click to view on Amazon

For Ecuador

In 2007 I spent three weeks in Ecuador and still retain a passion for all things South American. The book I had in my rucksack on that journey was The Mapmaker’s wife by Robert Whittaker which tells the story of Isabel Godin who travelled down the Amazon in search of her husband, experiencing disaster and tragedy – she was the only one of her party to survive. With two friends I retraced her steps from her home town of Cajabamba in the Andes into the Amazon basin as far as the Jesuit Mission station of Andaos (now in Peru) where she was taken to recover following her rescue from the jungle.

Mapmaker's wife Click to view on Amazon

The book gives a picture of the life of a wealthy woman in the 1760s as well as the context of the scientific expedition that brought her French husband to Ecuador. With this account of her journey I was able to taste a little of her experience, although thankfully not the capsized canoes or wandering for weeks in the jungle with only berries or plants to sustain me.

Do you have any favourite travel novels that are evocative of a place you’ve visited? If so, please do share them in the comments.

This article by Heather Cowper is published at CoolTravelGear.net

You’ll also find my Travel tales, videos and podcasts at Heatheronhertravels and my tips on how to build a better travel blog at My Blogging Journey

The links to Amazon are provided for your convenience and if you wish to purchase by this route I will receive a small commission which will support this blog.

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