There are few better or simpler pleasures than embarking on a really good travel read. While we don’t always have the time and budget to trek across the globe, books allow us to explore places (and time periods) we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. We’ve selected eight of our all-time favorite travel books. Have you given any of these a read?
“Hopscotch” by Julio Cortázar
Argentinian magical realist Julio Cortázar published a series of gorgeous and surrealist works in the mid-20th century, of which “Hopscotch” is perhaps the most masterful. This experimental novel, which reads in non-chronological order, follows a group of characters between Paris and Buenos Aires.
“A Room With a View” by E. M. Forster
A travel story and romance set in Edwardian England, “A Room With a View” follows Lucy Honeychurch as she journeys to Florence and Rome. The classic novel’s scenes of blossoming romance take place against a lovely Mediterranean backdrop.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
This beloved work of Latin American fiction begins on a journey, as José Arcadio Buendía and his wife Úrsula migrate from their rural village to the riverside town of Macondo. Márquez’s fictionalized account of Colombia presents an enchanting and imaginative sense of place.
“The Odyssey” by Homer
The original travel story, Homer’s “Odyssey” is written as an epic poem that recounts the journeys and travails of heroic Odysseus, including his famous episodes with Scylla and Charybdis, and an encounter with a bloodthirsty Cyclops. The ancient story has influenced untold writers.
“On the Road” by Jack Kerouac
This stream-of-consciousness, quasi-fictional account of a road trip across the United States still captures readers’ imaginations today. Based on the lives of Kerouac and his fellow Beat Generation peers, the story is full of jazz and poetry.
“The Savage Detectives” by Roberto Bolaño
Set in 1970s Mexico City, “The Savage Detectives” follows a group of young poets and revolutionaries who first populate the cafes of the city before scattering around the world to Barcelona, Nicaragua and beyond.
“You Shall Know Our Velocity!” by Dave Eggers
A compelling novel that sees two protagonists, Will and Hand, embarking on an impromptu global odyssey to give away a large sum of money. The characters’ wanderings bring them everywhere from Latvia to Senegal.
“Rings of Saturn” by W.G. Sebald
A genre-crossing book that blends personal account with historic episodes, “Rings of Saturn” sees an unnamed narrator ambling across Suffolk in a reflective and beautiful story.
(Image: Book of Travel © jannoon028, 2013. Used under license from Shutterstock.com)
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