Pairing your trip with the perfect book

Like pairing fine wine with food, finding the best book to read during a trip is an art. Wandering bibliophiles know what I mean – books may not make or break your travels, but having the right one on hand can enhance your experiences.

It’s a little obvious, but you can start with a book which has your destination as the setting. It doesn’t have to be a travel book, it could be a novel set in that place, such as Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises for a trip to Spain.

If you can’t find an exact match, go for similarity. For example, if you’re visiting some beaches, bring a book set at sea. Or if you plan to go hiking, you can bring a book about mountaineering which you can read before and after your hike.

You can also bring literature which was written in your destination. In fact, buy the book when you get there. This will make your purchase more memorable compared to buying it from Plus, some foreign works which are written or translated in English aren’t available online or from your home country.

It’s also important to know the mood of the work you’ll be reading before you make a choice. A serious and depressing piece might not go well with an adventurous outdoor trip, nor would classical Greek poetry go with a nightlife tour of Greece. Unless you crave this kind contrast, it’s best to choose a book you’ll enjoy with the trip.

One final thing to keep in mind: take a step back. Although reading during your trip can give you additional insight, you’ll still need some internal ‘alone time’ to process your experiences through your own unique perspective.

What was the last book you brought on your travels? How do you choose which book to bring along with you?

Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 7, 2008
Category: General

One Response to “Pairing your trip with the perfect book”

  1. Ann Says:

    I also think choosing the right book for the trip is an art. I often will get a book that connects to the place I’m traveling to. I really like history books. Especially when it focuses on a very specific time. I also like to buy books at the destination, like you said. I spend a lot of my travel time at the bookstore. AN interesting benefit to this is to see how the other culture views America. There’s always a lot of books about the country’s opinion and even though I don’t speak the language, the cover art and my limited knowledge go a long way. There was a photo book in Germany about guns in America, for example.

    On my last trip to Germany and Italy, I brought “The Name of the Rose”. It was pretty cool because it starts by discussing the catholic church in the 1300s and I had just finished listening to a tour in a German museum about that same era.