Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Around the World in Eighty Pages

As a kid growing up I traveled the world using just a library card. Ok, not literally, but I traveled the four corners of the globe between the covers of books.

I love to read and I love to travel. One of my favorite things to do when I'm on vacation is to read. I look forward to the blissful hours I can while away by the pool or on the beach reading a good book. I really enjoy reading books about travel and books set in the places I'm visiting. I've learned a lot along the way and discovered some writers I may not otherwise have known.

Go ahead, grab a book and transport yourself.

When on vacation in Jamaica I read the White Witch of Rose Hall by Herbert G. de Lisser. de Lisser's book is a fictitious account of what many Jamaican's feel is a true life tale. The White Witch tells the story of Annie Palmer, a probable black-widow and suspected voodoo practitioner who may have killed three husbands and several lovers. Annie is said to haunt Rose Hall to this day. Reading this story while I was there added yet another layer to the trip.

I first read one of  Tom Corcoran's Alex Rutledge novels, all set in Key West, sitting in the Key West airport. Vacation was over and I was wasting time in the airport gift shop while waiting for my flight out to Miami. I picked up Bone Island Mambo, I think it was, on a whim and really liked it. I've since read all of his books featuring Alex Rutledge Each one is like a return to Key West for me. His writing really captures the feel of the island and the people and places there.

Easily one of my favorite travel authors is Bill Bryson. I love his stuff. One of my favorites of his books is Neither Here Nor There. Laugh out loud funny. I read it when I was in Amsterdam. It's a really great book and one I would recommend. And now whenever I read it I'm right back in that hotel room.
Another of his books I really enjoyed is The Lost Continent-Travels in Small Town America. That book covers a road trip Bryson took around America starting in his home town of Des Moines, IA. Don't we all love a good road trip?
I've read and enjoyed most of Bill Bryson's travel books. They're fun and entertaining reads.

Another author that really captures the feel of a place is Archer Mayor. His Joe Gunther series is mostly set in the town of Brattleboro, Vermont. I started reading Mr. Mayor's books with the first Joe Gunther novel, Open Season.
I've read them all and even got to meet Mayor at a local book signing when I lived in Vermont.
From the capital in Montpellier to the ski slopes of Stowe, the novels paint a vibrant picture of Vermont. Archer Mayor's books are filled with fleshed out compelling characters that you'll love to get to know.

Ever since reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt I've wanted to visit Savannah, GA. I finally got my chance this past summer. I walked around Savannah with its beautiful squares and internationally know architecture and had my own perfect literary moment. From the page to real life. Fabulous.

When I think of travel I think of books. The two are inextricably linked in my mind. At least now I no longer need a separate suitcase for all of my books. (I'm only slightly exaggerating). Just me and my Kindle. With the ability to hold literally hundreds of books in the palm of my hand I can take along as many books as I want without over packing. Best travel accessory ever.

Want to return to someplace you've been? Dreaming about a place you want to visit? Pick up a book. Immerse yourself in the stories and travelogues. A chance to get away is as close as your bookshelf.

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