6 of the best travel reads

As we launch our competition to win a Kindle Paperwhite we thought we'd provide a little inspiration for books to take on your travels (and no doubt a bit of cotraversy too - how can we have the temerity to narrow "great travel books" just 6??)  So here goes, in no particular order:

A short walk in the Hindu Kush - Eric Newby

In 1956 Eric Newby sent a telegram to his friend, Hugh Carless - CAN YOU TRAVEL NURISTAN JUNE - and with some advice from a Welsh waitress on what to take, the two of them set off to one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.  Adventurers with more experience & sense may never have gone.  Fortunately Newby had little of either.  His iconic account of their journey and is responsible for pushing many young would-be travellers out into the world.

Travels with myself and another - Martha Gelhorn

Published in 1979, this is a memoir by one of the last great adventurers.  From a tense week with dissidents in Moscow to a laid back sojourn in a water tank with hippies in Eilat, Gellhorn's world is described with exceptional insight and razor sharp humour.  The unnamed other is her husband, Ernest Hemingway, who was enraptured by Gellhorn's courage as they dodged shell fire together.

Wind, Sand & Stars - Antoine de St Exupery

The ultimate philosopher pilot, Antoine de Exupery's memoirs about his days flying treacherous mail routes across the African  Sahara and the South American Andes. It's a book about the dangers of being a pioneer pilot but also about death, heroism and humanity - all in written in lyrical prose and exciting realism.

African Silences - Peter Matthiessen

In 1978 & 1986 Peter Matthiessen travelled through Senegal, Gambia, Zaire and the Central African Republic to examine the fate of African wildlife.  High adrenalin flights over the savanna and slow river journeys to track rare and endangered animals, and also to find the biologists who study them - it's a sobering journey but one written by a skilled naturalist writer.

The Shadow of the Sun - Ryszard Kapuscinksi

Ryszard Kapuscinksi has been the definitive voice of Africa for more than forty years and in this collection it's easy to see why.  He avoids official routes and high level politics, getting to the margins of the continent.  He says , "This is not a book about Africa, rather about some people from there, " and in his descriptions we finally meet the African Africa.

The Green Hills of Africa - Ernest Hemmingway

 In 1933 Hemingway and his wife, Pauline, went on safari in northern Tanzania.  The Green Hills is his account of the month long trip, a story of big game hunting, the pleasures of travel and the beauty of wilderness that even then was being constantly threatened by man. 

And one for luck...

India: The Road Ahead - Mark Tully

Mark Tully, the authority on all things Indian, toured his beloved homeland to see how much had changed in the twenty years since he wrote No Full Stops In India.  In interviews with farmers, captains of industry, bandits, spiritual leaders, untouchables and politicians he captures  the voices of the vast and diverse country.  With sympathetic insights into it's vibrant history and it's extraordinary potential, the book is a must for anyone who is thinking of travelling to India.

Win a Kindle Paperwhite

If you'd like to enter the competition to win a Kindle Paperwhite, it's dead easy - just visit our facebook page and "like" it and you'll find the entry form.  We'll be giving away one.  Click here to find out more

Posted by: Alex

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