Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good books

Again with the travel talk. I know it's getting to be pretty frequent on this blog that I talk about past, upcoming and dream trips. It shouldn't be surprising then that my current reading materials consist of travel narratives. I like reading about travel, whether it be an actual guide book, articles in magazines or snarky tales of travel gone bad.

Two authors that stand out as my favorites for not-your-average-travel-narratives are Chuck Thompson and J. Maarten Troost. Both tell hilarious but true (or at least mostly true) tales of adventure and mishaps while traveling and living abroad.

I read Smile While You're Lying on the plane to and from Colorado last weekend and it was really good. As a traditional travel writer for an array of publications, Thompson was tired of glossing everything over and not telling the more interesting and colorful tales, so he wrote this book. I have a few of these tales myself - losing my friend down a dark alley in Bangkok, getting bit by a gibbon in Phuket and many more. These are the stories that, at the time scare the hell out of you but you know, should you make it out unscathed, are going to be a great story later. After all, my motto is "bad decisions make good stories!"

I am now reading Thompson's newest effort, To Hellholes and Back. The author decides to take on his four most dreaded locations that he's managed to avoid through decades of traveling and writing. I've only made it though the Congo section (where the story of a near witnessing of a hippo fight had me in tears from laughing so hard) but I am really look forward to the rest of the book. I can't wait to hear what happened in India, Mexico City and, of all places, Disney World. I highly recommend this book.

The only other travel narratives that I have read and loved as much as Thompson's hilarious tales are by J. Maarten Troost. The author penned Getting Stoned with Savages (best one), Sex Lives of Cannibals (still great) and Lost on Planet China (least favorite, but still a good book).


  1. You should write a book Tonya, your Bangkok story would sell like hotcakes :) it cracks me up, that's for sure! My lame small town library doesn't have these books, I'll be making a formal request that they do soon :)

  2. If you're interested, I'd be happy to mail the J. Maarten Troost books to you now and the Chuck Thompson ones once Lindsay reads them.



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