Comfort Reads discussion

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Travel and Other Cultures > The Armchair Traveler

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message 1: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Who among us doesn't love to travel around the world while snuggled up safe in our favourite chair? Please post your favourites here.


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) I am a huge fan of travel books; both travelogues and also books set in far-flung countries, in particular China.

I can recommend travel books by Brad Newsham as his two books are really goos fun reads.

I am also a massive fan of Xinran who writes lovely books (keep some tissues handy though) and my favourite book in the whole world is Wolf Totem which I can so highly recommend.


message 3: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Hi Boof. I too love Xinran's books and also the Wolf Totem! I will now go check out Newsham; he is totally new to me. Thanks!


message 4: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments I recently discovered travel books, and Bill Bryson and love love love his writing style. I feel like I've sat down to hear a story from an old friend when I'm reading his work. The only one I've read so far is In a Sunburned Country but have Notes from a Small Island waiting patiently at home.

IaSC made me laugh so hard sometimes, and I found myself reading sections out loud to my boyfriend, who quickly became a fan as well.


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Bill Bryson is wonderful! I particularly like rereading his books after I've been to the place in question, so I can compare his experience to my own.


message 6: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Ooh - I'm jealous that you've been to some of the same places! I'd love to go to Australia and see some of the same sites - I love that he goes off the beaten path and doesn't just stop at the places you're "supposed to" stop.


message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah
You don't have to go too far to see some of the stuff he mentions. The Lost Continent Travels in Small-Town America takes him through some offbeat US sites as well.


message 8: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Cool - thanks! Just added to be to-read list :)


message 9: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I think I'm the only person I know who hasn't yet read Bill Bryson! He sounds like the perfect comfort read, funny and quirky. Or maybe he's not quirky but many people seem to find him funny!


message 10: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments I think you could include quirky in that description :)


message 11: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Chrissie wrote: "Hi Boof. I too love Xinran's books and also the Wolf Totem! I will now go check out Newsham; he is totally new to me. Thanks!"

I can't wait to read that Wolf Totem book. This group is re-ordering my to-read list in a hurry.

And Paula, guess what? Tonight I'm meeting a GR friend from Montreal at the World's Biggest Bookstore here in Toronto!


message 12: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Oohh!!! How fun!!

I think this summer I need to plan a road trip to the World's Biggest Bookstore!! I just mapped it out - it would be an easy two-day drive if I went up and over (via northern Wisconsin, upper Michigan, and down into Toronto via King's Hwy. Then, one the way back, stop at Niagra Falls, drive along Lake Erie, along the bottom of lower Michigan, and back home to Chicago-land!

Or! It's actually pretty reasonable to fly... then again... there's a weight limit with luggage so the book purchases would be limited...

Ok - you have to tell me all about the store tomorrow so that I can live vicariously through you!! :)


message 13: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Okay, will do Paula. I'll share my finds with you tomorrow.


message 14: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) there's a weight limit with luggage so the book purchases would be limited...

Paula, Ship the books. ;-)



The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) Lee wrote: "Chrissie wrote: "Hi Boof. I too love Xinran's books and also the Wolf Totem! I will now go check out Newsham; he is totally new to me. Thanks!"

I can't wait to read that [book:Wolf Totem|1217728..."


Lee, have a great time tonight. When I went to NYC before Christmas I met up with my GR friend Lori who is moderator of TNBBC which was so cool as we live thousands of miles apart so what were the chances we would ever meet? I also met another GR friend, Kirsty, back in September (although she lives in the north of England about an hour from me). Isn't it wonderful how a passion for books can bring people together?


message 16: by Paula (new)

Paula | 184 comments Lisa wrote: "Paula, Ship the books. ;-) "

I love simple genius :)




message 17: by Grace (new)

Grace Tjan I love travel books! Some of my favorites :

The Great Railway Bazaar
Riding the Iron Rooster
Ghost Train to the Eastern Star
The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto
Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East
From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Travels with Herodotus

I like Bryson too, especially Notes from A Small Island and Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe.

V.S Naipaul's travel books are good too if you want something more serious.

Does Xinran write travel books? The only book by her that I've read is The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices.


message 18: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Welcome Sandybanks! Thanks for all the great suggestions.


message 19: by Grace (new)

Grace Tjan Thanks, Lee. Laura invited me to this group. What a cool idea --- comfort reads. I hope that I'll get more ideas about great books to chill with, especially funny ones.


message 20: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Me too! I think I need to read more funny books. Oh, I just remembered Jeeves! I'll go post in the right thread.


message 21: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I've always loved Peter Mayle's books on his life in France (more specifically, Provence).


message 22: by Hannah (last edited Jan 06, 2010 11:07AM) (new)

Hannah (HannahR) Lee wrote: "I think I'm the only person I know who hasn't yet read Bill Bryson! He sounds like the perfect comfort read, funny and quirky. Or maybe he's not quirky but many people seem to find him..."

Do try Bryson, Lee. His book about walking the Appalachian Trail, "A Walk in the Woods" (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/97...) is so funny I snorted and laughed out loud too many times to count.




message 23: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Oh snorting is one of my specialties so I'm sure I'd love it.


message 24: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
I just found a lovely book on my shelves that I read last year. It's a memoir by Mark Salzman written over a short period when he was teaching English in a Medical school in China. It was written about 25 years ago so things have changed but his writing is really clear and non-judgmental and the anecdotes are quite funny. I really loved this book and it's an easy read.

Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman


message 25: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks I just put that on my to-read list, Lee. Don't know when I'll get to it, but it does sound fascinating.


message 26: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
What I liked about him was that he didn't come across as superior or arrogant. Even in the face of all the stumbling blocks and difficulties he encountered, he remained humble. I want to read some of his fiction too.


message 27: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) Lee wrote: "I just found a lovely book on my shelves that I read last year. It's a memoir by Mark Salzman written over a short period when he was teaching English in a Medical school in China. ..."

That looks wonderful, Lee. Thanks, I think. I just put it on my to-read list too.




message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) I've had his book Lost In Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia on my to read list ever since it was first published. A lot of his books look interesting.


message 29: by Peregrine (new)

Peregrine | 91 comments Lee wrote: "I just found a lovely book on my shelves that I read last year. It's a memoir by Mark Salzman written over a short period when he was teaching English in a Medical school in China. ..."

This sounds familar; I might have read it. Did his students make him an ice cream sundae with some kind of nut sauce because he was missing hot fudge sundaes so much? And was there a local man who kept his hands in martial arts shape by punching a strip of metal nailed to his wall? If so, I loved the book, and there's a movie too. If not, there's another really good "teaching in China" book out there . . .




message 30: by Lori (new)

Lori Oh darn - I've been eyeballing that at GoodWill, I hope it's still there.

Oh how horrible, that I feel compelled to go to GW tomorrow. :)


message 31: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Peregrine, I don't remember those incidents but it may be the same book. He did get involved in training with some local martial arts experts. What I loved about his writing was that it was so unaffected. I think he must be quite a skilled martial artist but he doesn't have an overblown ego.


message 32: by Louis (new)

Louis (lchange) | 10 comments Has anyone read Paul Theroux yet? I picked up his "Pillars of Hercules" but havent gotten around to it yet.


message 33: by Lee, Mod Mama (new)

Lee (LeeKat) | 3959 comments Mod
Louis, I've read Sunrise with Seamonsters by Paul Theroux but it was a long time ago and I can't remember much. I know he is quite a popular travel writer. Maybe someone else has read more of his work.


message 34: by Gabriele (new)

Gabriele Wills (Muskoka) | 178 comments I'm also a Bill Bryson fan. I laughed so hard when I read Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe that I woke my husband out of a sound sleep.


message 35: by Caity (new)

Caity (adivineeternity) I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bill Bryson. I've read A Walk in the Woods (and will be rereading it soon because it's been almost 5 years!) and I'm a Stranger Here Myself (which is actually a collection of newspaper articles he wrote shortly after moving back to the states) and both had me laughing incredibly hard at times. I love him so much I can't decide what to read next. I have the two mentioned above plus:

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (his memoir)
Neither Here Nor There
The Lost Continent
In a Sunburned Country
Notes from a Small Island

I also have another book, Round Ireland with a Fridge that looks good. I'm planning on reading it some time, as well.


message 36: by Saralyn (new)

Saralyn | 17 comments LOVE Bill Bryson. Caity, I would recommend "In a Sunburned Country" next. That one makes me laugh so hard I cry.


message 37: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) I love Bryson's *Walk in the Woods* but am working through his others slowly. I'm glad to find this thread, and will be taking some data over to my new group:

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/3...

I couldn't find any other group for folks like us in GR - but we do have a thread very similar to this one. I'd really love to have any of you join us there - it's still new and quiet so it won't take much of your time, but it has potential to be quite interesting and valuable. We have threads for books, cartography, GPS, geocaching, etc..... :)


message 38: by Caity (new)

Caity (adivineeternity) Saralyn, I'll probably end up reading that one then! Thanks for the recommendation. I love books that make me laugh until I start crying.

Cheryl, A Walk in the Woods made me want to hike the Appalachian Trail and camp and stuff (then again, I recently found out I went on my first camping trip when I was 18 days old, so this isn't really a surprise to me anymore). I also joined your group, as I do like certain kinds of maps.

I also have recently created a travel-related group called Abroad by Book:

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/3...

I'm hoping to do a monthly group read/discussion, as I think travel literature is a bit underrepresented on GR right now in the monthly reading area (or I'm unobservant). Feel free to join us (all 2 of us as of the writing of this post) and get some discussions going. Once we have enough people, I will get the monthly group read stuff going, as well.


message 39: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie I recently finishedA Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube. It is a great travel book about a nineteen year-old's travels from Rotterdam to Budapest on foot during 1934. If you are curious to know more check out my review here at GR.


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