Destination: Everywhere or the Armchair
Book: Book Lust To Go by Nancy Pearl NEW September, 2010
Nancy Pearl travels the world from her easy chair. The prototypical armchair traveler, a former librarian and bookseller who suggests books and interviews authors on radio and TV, attracts crowds of fans.
Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers, is the third of Nancy Pearl’s books that suggest random books for people to read. This time she talks about travel literature.
When I say “random”, I mean a mix of genres, and also a mix of new and old. She explains that she does not shy away from suggesting out of print books and is quite happy that it is now easier to get them over the Internet.
She has arranged the entries in Book Lust to Go alphabetically by title of section. The titles relate to a state, city or region, but also sometimes to an activity or type of travel. And if you are looking for books about the country of Colombia, you had better look in the index, because alphabetically it shows up as “Hail, Colombia.” She gets a bit, well, “creative” with those titles. Most of her titles at least are alliterative, so they will show up close to where you expect them, but not New Zealand, that comes under K for Kiwi. I was relieved to be informed that unlike the review copy I was looking at, the final version of the book has an index by place name.
Readers of A Traveler’s Library should feel a companionship with Pearl, even though she says in her introduction that she herself is NOT a traveler. Rather she likes to travel in her mind with a travel book. She says, “I adore books–whether fiction or non-fiction–that give me a sense of being in another place and time.” Well I can certainly relate to that–can’t you?
It was fun to find that she admires some of the books that we have talked about here–The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Jennifer Steil (Yemen); The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim (Korea); Nine Lives by Dan Baum (New Orleans); and February by Lisa Moore (Newfoundland) caught my eye. When you read Book Lust To Go, you probably will notice some other books we have in common. She admits that had she realized when she wrote her first, or even second Book Lust book, that a series was in the works, she might have saved up some of the travel books for this volume. I will admit I skimmed pretty quickly, because let’s face it, this is the kind of book you put in your traveler’s library to refer to. You couldn’t absorb all of that content at once!
You probably will also notice a lot of books that are your own personal favorites that she left out. If you want to tell her about them, she gives her e-mail address in the book, and you can find her at her Nancy Pearl blog and on Facebook.
This may become my second favorite place to look for books about travel. My first favorite? The comment section of A Traveler’s Library, of course. And where do you find the perfect travel book? Please share….