TRAVEL READING: A Tale of Two Cities

I’ve started reading A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, many times before. Somehow I never finished it!

In London, he had expected neither to walk

This time around I was committed to sticking with it, and it is (as any Dickens novels) really great. The book is set partly in London and partly in Paris – so it’s an ideal read to take with you on a trip across the channel!

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TRAVEL READING: A few books on my wishlist

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I always take a book with me when I travel. Most of the times, it stays nicely in my backpack for the whole trip and it comes back without even being touched. But that doesn’t stop me from constantly selecting new books to take with me on my travels – here are a few currently on my wishlist:

Under An African Sky: Journey to the Climate Frontline, by Peter Hudson

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I know nothing about Mauritania. But after reading an article by Peter Hudson on National Geographic Traveller I decided I wanted to learn more. Peter has been visiting the same village in Mauritania for decades, and this is his most recent book about it. I know that reading it will make me want to go there too!

The Last Train to Zona Verde: Overland from Cape Town to Angola, by Paul Theroux

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I’ve never read anything by Paul Theroux (shame!), but for a long time I’ve been meaning to. On the top of my list is The Last Train to Zona Verde, which is supposed to be really dark and not particularly nice to read. I have a fascination with Angola, so I’m keen to see what his experience was.

Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth, by Albert Podell

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I love learning about others’ travel habits and adventures. This book is about how Albert Podell visited all countries on earth – how cool is that? I don’t necessarily want to go to every country on earth (I’m lying, I do, but I’m not planning to do it just yet), but I really want to learn how others do it!

Happy reading!

AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH, BY CHRIS HADFIELD: The perfect book to read on a plane

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Chris’s Hadfield book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, was on my wishlist for a long time, and I finally bought it when I had a long wait at the airport. This is a great book to read on a plane: you can look out the window and understand why people are obsessed with space exploration.

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When Chris was at the ISS for 6 months, his twitter account became really popular for the great photos he was sharing, showing the intricate details of deserts, oceans, hurricanes… I love looking out the window from a plane, seeing little villages above the clouds in Slovenia, the Andes cutting through Chile, the dryness of Morocco.

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His book tells the amazing story of how he went from dreaming of being an astronaut when he was 9, to actually going to space many years later. It includes lots of fun tales about the ins and outs of being an astronaut, but it is also a book about achieving goals and being focussed (which is exactly my kind of thing). It is the perfect read for a holiday – you’ll come back wanting to do more and more!

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Listen: Chris Hadfield’s rendition of Space Oddity has millions of hits of youtube and is just great!

WILD, BY CHERYL STRAYED: A book to read when you just need a break

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Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, tells the true story of a woman who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo. I bought it while waiting for a flight, and it turned out to be the perfect book to take on a trip.

As it’s often the case with long journeys, Cheryl’s leads to personal discoveries and and reflection. And as you follow her steps through the trail, you feel like you too are taking that journey, becoming increasingly more distant from the woes of daily life.

I can’t think of a better book to take on a trip. By the time I finished reading it, just as I returned to London after a weekend away, I felt like I too had just finished a long journey.

One to read when you need a scape from daily life!

  • Watch: The book was recently made into a film, and the screenplay is by Nick Hornby (a favourite of this blog). I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s on my list!

ROAD TRIP READING: The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck’s books are always a good option to take on a trip. His adventures in Russia are amazing, and his most famous novels usually set the scene nicely in America.

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The Grapes of Wrath follows the story of a family moving from Oklahoma in search of a better life in California. It’s not an easy journey – and the road that they travel, alongside the changing landscape around them, serve as a nice backdrop to the story of Tom Joad and his family.

As ever with Steinbeck books, the story develops slowly, and you are taken along on the journey as you read the book. It was also beautifully adapted into a film by John Ford.

One to take with you on a road trip!

THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN: A book to read to on a long journey

Reading The Magic Mountain, by Thomas Mann, is like going on a journey. You arrive in the Swiss Alps, feel the light breeze and breath in the deep air.

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The book follows the routine of the lead character in minute detail, and as you get to know Hans Castorp, you also connect with the environment around him.

The passage of time is slow; the days repetitive. As you turn page after page (the book is quite long) you start to feel like you’re in the mountains too.

Some books stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. This is on of them.

Take it with you when you go on a long trip!