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OUR FAVORITES

Neglected Travel Classics

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

Ten Favorite Travel Books that Should be Better Known

The Towers of Trebizond

The Towers of Trebizond

by Rose MacAulay | Jan Morris

  • LITERATURE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 277 PAGES

Mixing high farce, archaeology, history and lively travel writing, Rose MacAulay's impossibly witty short novel is back in a new edition. Originally published in 1956, MacAulay follows the adventures of English missionaries traipsing across Turkey from Istanbul to Trebizond. (TKY15, $16.00)

Dersu the Trapper

Dersu the Trapper

by V.K. Arseniev | Malcolm Burr

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 358 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Captain Arseniev's mesmerizing account of adventure, exploration and friendship in the Russian Far East, source for the Kurosowa film. (SIB24, $16.00)

Ecuador, A Travel Journal

Ecuador, A Travel Journal

by Henri Michaux | Robin Magowan

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 144 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

A brief, querulous and entirely wonderful narrative of the modernist painter Michaux's travels with the poet Gangotena, strong on color and personality. Its many pleasures include an unbeatable description of Quito's accursed mountain weather. (EDR16, $17.95)

The Steel Bonnets

The Steel Bonnets

by George MacDonald Fraser

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

MacDonald Fraser captures the celebrated mayhem, blood and glory of the Anglo-Scottish border raids in rich and entertaining detail. (SCT04, $14.95)

Tent Life in Siberia

Tent Life in Siberia

by George Kennan | Larry McMurtry

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 425 PAGES

Kennan's spirited account of his adventures among the people, little-known cultures and snow-capped volcanoes of Kamchatka and the Russian Far East, originally published in 1871. (RUS142, $17.95)

Mornings in Mexico

Mornings in Mexico

by D.H. Lawrence

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Lawrence's collection of luminous short essays on the allure of Mexico and the American Southwest, originally published in 1927. The first four essays explore Oaxaca, where Lawrence and Frieda rented a house, and the second four, Taos, where they lived in 1924. (MEX166, $17.00)

Independent People, An Epic

Independent People, An Epic

by Halldor Laxness

  • LITERATURE
  • 1997
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Rich in local color, this great mock-epic by the Icelandic Nobel Prize-winner features the indelible Bjartur of Summerhouses, a hard-headed, independent-minded sheep farmer. (ICL01, $17.00)

The Egg and I

The Egg and I

by Betty MacDonald

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 287 PAGES

MacDonald's uproarious tale of raising chickens and children on a dilapidated 40-acre farm on the rainy, remote Olympic Peninsula. (PNW51, $13.99)

Winter Wheat

Winter Wheat

by Mildred Walker

  • LITERATURE
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 386 PAGES

A classic novel of family life and love on a 1940s-era farm in Central Montana. (RKY75, $15.95)

Farthest North

Farthest North

by Fridtjof Nansen

  • EXPLORATION
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 544 PAGES

The great Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen's classic account of the voyage of the Fram, originally published in 1897, interspersed with dozens of original photographs. (ARC60, $27.00)

 
The Galapagos Affair

The Galapagos Affair


by John Treherne

  • HISTORY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

Colorful early settlers including Dr. Ritter, Baroness Wagner von Bosquet and her three lovers and sturdy Margaret Wittmer enliven John Trehorne's riveting, real-life tale of murder in paradise. (GPS69, $29.95)

The Raven Crown

The Raven Crown


by Michael Aris

  • HISTORY
  • 2005
  • HARD COVER
  • 160 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Aris chronicles the rise of the Wangchuk dynasty in this beautifully illustrated history of Bhutan and its 20th-century monarchy, featuring 106 rare photographs. (BHU02, $60.00)

Letters on Cezanne

Letters on Cezanne


by Rainer Maria Rilke | Joel Agee

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 84 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

This brilliant meditation on Paris, art, and life takes the form of a series of short letters by the great poet Rilke to his wife Clara. The book chronicles Rilke's daily pilgrimage to a Cezanne exhibition at a Paris gallery. (FRN300, $14.00)

The Naturalist on the River Amazons

The Naturalist on the River Amazons


by Henry Walter Bates

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 409 PAGES

A spell-binding early account of the river and its environs, first published in 1863. This classic chronicle of Bates's scientific adventures, part natural history and part travelogue, has inspired generations of tropical biologists. (AMZ07, $17.95)

Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer

Weird and Tragic Shores: The Story of Charles Francis Hall, Explorer


by Chauncey Loomis | Andrea Barrett

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 350 PAGES

The tale of 19th-century Arctic explorer Charles Francis Hall, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his untimely death somewhere in Greenland. (ARC63, $19.00)

A Fortune-Teller Told Me, Earthbound Travels in the Far East

A Fortune-Teller Told Me, Earthbound Travels in the Far East


by Tizanio Terzani

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 371 PAGES

A peripatetic journalist sets off to Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, Mongolia, China, Japan and other far-flung destinations in this warm, anecdotal account. (SEA35, $16.00)

A Time of Gifts

A Time of Gifts


by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience gives the book particular poignancy. (CEU30, $16.95)

A Visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican Journey

A Visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican Journey


by Sybille Bedford | Bruce Chatwin

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

A tale of a leisurely journey to Mexico after World War II, the first book by the marvelous Sybille Bedford. Bruce Chatwin called it "the most perfect travel book of the 20th century." (MEX126, $18.95)

A Winter in Arabia, A Journey Through Yemen

A Winter in Arabia, A Journey Through Yemen


by Freya Stark

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

A classic account of Stark's 1937-8 expedition in what is now Yemen, rich in incident. (ARB58, $17.00)

Between the Woods and the Water

Between the Woods and the Water


by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

In this sequel to A Time of Gifts (CEU30), Leigh Fermor's classic account of his adventure on foot to Constantinople in 1933, Paddy relates his youthful travels in Hungary and Romania, culminating with his arrival at the Iron Gates on the Danube. (CEU31, $15.95)

Beyond the Chestnut Trees

Beyond the Chestnut Trees


by Maria Bauer

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1986
  • PAPER
  • 224 PAGES

Bauer interweaves recollections of her youth in Prague with an account of a return visit 40 years later in this affectionate, classic memoir. (CZH53, $24.95)

Farewell to Salonica

Farewell to Salonica


by Leon Sciaky

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 299 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

In this affectionate memoir, and portrait of a city now changed forever, Sciaky looks back the thriving, polyglot Salonica of his youth. (GRE236, $16.95)

Hindoo Holiday

Hindoo Holiday


by J.R. Ackerley

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 300 PAGES

Ackerley traipses across India as the English tutor to a handsome and extravagantly homosexual maharajah in this comic, beautifully written novel masquerading as a travelogue. (IDA115, $17.95)

Lords of the Atlas

Lords of the Atlas


by Gavin Maxwell

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 316 PAGES
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

A classic account of the tribal warlords of the Atlas Mountains -- and of life in French colonial Morocco. A rousing tale and excellent introduction to Marrakech. (MRC35, $34.95)

Mani, Travels in Southern Peloponnese

Mani, Travels in Southern Peloponnese


by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Fermor weaves anecdote, magnificent description, classical references, history and commentary into an absorbing portrait of place. (GRE27, $15.95)

Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar

Memoirs of an Arabian Princess from Zanzibar


by Emily Ruete

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 244 PAGES

Born Princess Salme in the Sultan's court on Zanzibar, the author wrote this book for her children in the 1800s as a tribute to the island. It is rich in details of a long-lost way of life, recalling the time when the sultans reigned on Zanzibar. (EAF44, $10.95)

Old Calabria

Old Calabria


by Norman Douglas

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 357 PAGES

A classic account of adventures in southernmost Italy, first published in 1915. (ITL475, $21.00)

Peking Story

Peking Story


by David Kidd

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

A wry tribute to a lost way of life and time in Beijing. Kidd writes with humor and sweet nostalgia of the privileged and eccentric Lu family in the years around the 1948 Communist Revolution. (CHN264, $15.95)

Roumeli, Travels in Northern Greece

Roumeli, Travels in Northern Greece


by Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 260 PAGES

Extending his travels to the north, Fermor visits with the Sarakatsans and Kravarites, two remote peoples (ethnography was among his many interests), and chases off to Missolonghi to retrieve a pair of Lord Byron's shoes. (GRE249, $16.95)

The Innocent Anthropologist, Notes from a Mud Hut

The Innocent Anthropologist, Notes from a Mud Hut


by Nigel Barley

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 190 PAGES

British anthropologist Barley's refreshingly candid, witty account of the perils of fieldwork among the Dowayo of northern Cameroon. (CAF14, $17.95)

The Long Walk, The True Story of a Trek to Freedom

The Long Walk, The True Story of a Trek to Freedom


by Slavomir Rawicz

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

This remarkable tale follows the odyssey of cavalry officer Rawicz and six fellow prisoners from their capture in Moscow under Stalin to a prison camp in Yakutsk and escape across Siberia and the Gobi to Tibet and over the Himalayas to India. Originally published in 1956. (SIB13, $16.95)

The Oysters of Locmariaquer

The Oysters of Locmariaquer


by Eleanor Clark

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 203 PAGES

Winner of the 1965 National Book Award, this paper edition of Clark's pleasurable portrait of the hardy oystermen and byways of coastal Brittany is introduced by Mark Kurlansky. (FRN152, $13.99)

The Skeptical Romancer, Selected Travel Writing

The Skeptical Romancer, Selected Travel Writing


by W. Somerset Maugham

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Pico Iyer introduces this choice edition of Somerset Maugham's razor-sharp travel writing, set in Spain, China, Burma and Southeast Asia, including a long excerpt from Gentleman in the Parlour, a vivid account of travels from Rangoon to Haiphong by canoe, riverboat, rickshaw and pony. (TVL484, $15.00)

The Venetian Empire, A Sea Voyage

The Venetian Empire, A Sea Voyage


by Jan Morris

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 1990
  • PAPER
  • 200 PAGES

Morris reconstructs the whole of the glittering dominion of the Venetian Republic in this evocative account of a journey by sea along historic trade routes to the Adriatic and beyond. (ITL70, $24.95)

The Way of the World

The Way of the World


by Nicolas Bouvier | Patrick Leigh Fermor

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

Subtitled Two Men in a Car from Geneva to the Khyber Pass, Bouvier's classic account of hard travel in a battered Fiat across Asia with artist friend Thierry Vernet in the 1950s is a cult classic. (TVL137, $16.95)

Love in a Fallen City

Love in a Fallen City


by Eileen Chang | Karen S. Kingsbury

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 338 PAGES

A major 20th-century Chinese writer, little known in the U.S. (these sparkling translations will go far to change that), Chang wrote these four fascinating novellas and two glittering stories in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the 1940s. Her work is a revelation, poised tellingly between Confucian tradition and Western modernity. (CHN387, $15.95)

Memed, My Hawk

Memed, My Hawk


by Yasar Kemal

  • LITERATURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

From Turkey's master storyteller comes this deceptively simple tale of a rebellious boy in the Taurus Mountains of rural Turkey. (TKY57, $16.95)

Pedro Paramo

Pedro Paramo


by Margaret Sayers Peden | Juan Rulfo

  • LITERATURE
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 124 PAGES

This poetic novel is an early, great example of magic realism set in Rulfo's native Jalisco. In a complicated series of flashbacks, the prodigal son returns to his birthplace, now an abandoned village haunted by ghosts. Originally published in Mexico in 1955. (MEX09, $14.00)

Sleepless Nights

Sleepless Nights


by Elizabeth Hardwick

  • LITERATURE
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 128 PAGES

Harwick's luminous 1979 novel of longing, desolation, New York City and Billie Holiday, thankfully returned to print. Read it for the extraordinary language, the flavor of 1940s New York. (NYC21, $14.00)

The Discovery of Slowness

The Discovery of Slowness


by Sten Nadolny | Ralph Freedman

  • LITERATURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 325 PAGES

A late 20th century fictional biography of the 19th century polar explorer Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), a man who makes history by discovering the power of his own slowness. (ARC59, $16.95)

The Radetzky March

The Radetzky March


by Joseph Roth | Joachim Neugroschel

  • LITERATURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 331 PAGES

Magnificently set against the backdrop of the twilight of the Habsburg Empire, Roth's family saga takes in the sweep of history and empire in Central Europe. The richly textured novel opens at the battle of Solferino, when young Lieutenant Trotta saves the life of the Emperor. (AST17, $16.95)

The Siege of Krishnapur

The Siege of Krishnapur


by J.G. Farrell

  • LITERATURE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 344 PAGES

Farrell evokes the folly and hubris of empire in this splendidly detailed tale, which takes place during the bloody revolt of 1857 that set Indian military recruits against the Raj. (IDA240, $16.95)

The Singapore Grip

The Singapore Grip


by JG Farrell

  • LITERATURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 572 PAGES

One of a trio of remarkable historical novels by J.G. Farrell, its centerpiece is the Japanese invasion of British-ruled Singapore. Ranging all over the colony from the slums to posh clubs and cricket fields, it's an evocative portrait of the colonial city in peace and war. (SGP13, $18.95)

Troubles

Troubles


by J.G. Farrell

  • LITERATURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 459 PAGES

Set on the eve of the Irish Rebellion, this first novel in Farrell's remarkable series illuminates the British Empire's decline in Ireland to hilarious, haunting effect. Winner of the Man Booker Prize. (IRE171, $17.95)

Varieties of Exile

Varieties of Exile


by Mavis Gallant | Russell Banks

  • LITERATURE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

Wonderful stories set mostly in Gallant's native Montreal, a city starkly divided between working-class French Catholics and genteel English Protestants. (CND267, $16.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.