With summer winding down, there are still a couple of weeks left to allow for leisure reading. From a daring train ride through Africa to a romantic sailing trip across the Pacific, here are some of our top picks for books that will whisk you away to unique destinations.
Paul Theroux returns to Africa for a final adventure through little known corners of South Africa, Namibia and Angola in The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari. Theroux intends to travel overland up “the left hand side” of Africa, starting in Cape Town and heading north, as a sort of bookend to the trip he chronicled in “Dark Star Safari,”. However, after a series of tribulations, he abandons his plans at a train station in Angola, five decades after he first visited the continent as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Love with a Chance of Drowning
Torre DeRoche planned to spend a year in the US working and then return home to Australia. Instead she fell in love with an Argentinean and despite a fear of the sea, agreed to sail with him across the Pacific. Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning describes Torre’s two year sailing voyage across the Pacific Ocean during her journey to conquer the ocean and her fears.
The New Yorker staff writer Katherine Boo journeys into the slums of Mumbai in Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which won the National Book Award. Boo has created a detailed portrait of urban deprivation, and her witty and observant writing captures the raw human emotion of the slum dwellers she spent three years researching and interviewing.
Poetic prose and complex, intriguing characters fill Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things which immerses readers into the landscape of the southern Indian state of Kerala. The novel follows two young children in a small rural Indian town and the complexity and hypocrisy of the adults in their world. It is also a poignant lesson in the destructive power of the caste system and moral and political bigotry in general.
The beat generation was full of great travel narratives, and Jack Kerouac was the master of unfolding stories with unique characters and passionate language. Although his most famous work is “On the Road”, “The Dharma Bums” is filled with powerful prose that locks reader’s interest from the first page.