A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham
Arimo from Arimo Travels
Sometimes you pick a book only because it has a resonating title.
During my first trip to Nepal, I spent five weeks in a guesthouse called Hotel at the End of the Universe. The guesthouse, located in the touristy village of Nagarkot, is a hotel only by name. The place has a very relaxed and informal atmosphere, and I felt like it became my “home away from home”.
For my last days in Nepal, I left Hotel at the End of the Universe for Thamel, the tourist ghetto of Kathmandu. There I visited Pilgrim Book Store, the most famous bookshop in Nepal. I love checking the shelves there, and this time I found something that really caught my attention: A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham.
Needless to say, I bought the book straight away. It soon became one of my favourite novels of all time.
On the surface, A Home at the End of the World doesn’t have much to do with travelling. The novel is set in the New York gay scene of 1980s and deals a lot with the subcultures of the time. But at heart, the book is about finding your place in the world, even if it means breaking the norms of society.
I believe that’s a theme many travellers can relate to.
Roughing It by Mark Twain
Shannon from Sole Seeking
During my trip to Budapest, Hungary, in March 2016, I hoped to find quiet independent cafes and explore vintage shops. My Airbnb host recommended I visit Massolit Books & Café on Nagy Diófa utca. This is a quiet little street (I walked past it about three times) which makes the cosy café even more appealing. University students and academics appear to be the main customers, with a range of book genres being offered from romantic fiction to political economy. It was here that I bought ‘Roughing It’ by Mark Twain for 1000 Forints (around £2). In some cafes you feel very aware of being alone, but here you can sit with a hot drink, a dessert and a good book and feel completely at home.
‘Roughing It’ chronicles Twain’s precarious journey by stagecoach through the American West, and his time spent exploring Hawaii. The writing style and colloquialisms can take a while to get used to, but you are quickly transported back to the late 1800s, the voice in your hard narrating the words with a thick western accent. The story reminded me of road-tripping through the States a previous summer, and the weird and wonderful encounters had while on the road.
The Dark Safari by Paul Theroux
Nichole from Travelgal Nicole
In Dark Star Safari, Theroux writes about his first-hand account of Africa specifically travelling from Cairo to Cape Town via any mode of transport available. This journey takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train.
The book inspired me though to look at longer overland trips and that this way of travel was possible. I then booked a trip in 2015 to overland from Cairo to Cape Town and I devoured the book.
The book is a little out of date with one of the biggest differences being that the Chinese have started to invest in Africa and they are building better roads. However in saying that I experienced travelling in an armed convoy in Egypt, via ferry to Sudan, dugout canoe in Ethiopia and trains in South Africa.
The continent is so diverse and has so much to offer to those who visit. I am returning to Africa in November 2018 to travel down the West Coast from Morocco to Cape Town.
Theft By Finding: Diaries Volume One by David Sedaris
David from World Wide Shopping Guide
A couple of months ago, at a guesthouse in South Africa, I stumbled across a copy of David Sedaris’ latest book “Theft By Finding: Diaries Volume One.” I’ve read a few of Sedaris’ books before and dove into it expecting to find the same witty essays and short stories. I didn’t.
Theft By Finding is a unique book. It’s a collection of sparse diary entries that tell a little about what his life was like between 1977 and 2002. Sparse is the definitive word here. The diary entries are written in an almost bullet-point form, giving just the bare bones of each story.
It takes a while to get into Theft By Finding, and at first, I considered giving up on it. There was no detail, no insight, no witty asides. Gradually, though, I grew to like it. Eventually, I couldn’t put it down.
Even using what seems like as few words as possible, Sedaris doesn’t fail to entertain as his diary entries take you from life as a crystal meth addict in the US to his eventual move to England. His story is a unique and incredibly interesting one, and one that I highly recommend reading.
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