The Times on the Top 20 Travel books of the past century

thegoodlife_blhphotography_flickrIf you’re looking for something travel-related to read, now that the long Autumn evenings are nearly upon us, the Times Online has posted a great list of the top 20 travel books of the past century which has quite a few excellent suggestions.

While the time constraint eliminates some of my favorites, like Marco Polo or Ibn Battutah, who wrote a fascinating account of traveling in India and Africa between 1325-1354, the list is rather nicely geared toward lesser-known travel books. Sure there’s a few stalwarts like Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia and The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (both amazing books), but there are also quite a few I’d never heard of like Norman Lewis’ 1951 A Dragon Apparent – Travels In Indo-China or Full Tilt: Ireland To India With a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy (1965).

Other names that don’t get much press these days — like Wilfred Thesiger, Peter Fleming or Apsley Cherry-Garrard — make the Times’ list a great jumping off point for your Autumn travel reading list.

While I’m generally not a fan of ranked lists, this one redeems itself with a wealth of links for each entry that lead to the original Times book reviews, as well as excerpts, author interviews and, sadly, an obituary or two.

Also worth checking out are the comments where fellow travelers have posted their own lists and filled out some of the gaps in the Times’ list.

Got your own favorite obscure travel book that the rest of really must read? Be sure to leave a comment.

[via World Hum, photo by blhphotography, Flickr]

Posted by | Comments (3)  | September 22, 2009
Category: General

3 Responses to “The Times on the Top 20 Travel books of the past century”

  1. deanna Says:

    My Absolute favorite is Tracks by Robyn Davidson. In her 20’s she set out to cross Australia alone, on a camel. Sounds odd, but truly a wonderful book. Her insights on life, traveling, the desert are fascinating, not to mention how she was able to complete her journey. Read it!!!

  2. Susan Fox Says:

    Danziger’s Travels by Nick Danziger is on my short list for one of the most memorable, occasionally appalling, trips I’m glad to have read about and not taken. Not sure how obscure it is, but didn’t see it mentioned on the Times list or in the comments.

  3. Brett Stuckel Says:

    Evan S. Connell is a master of quietly perfect writing. “The Walls of Avila” (his short story about an awkward homecoming) is vagabond gold.