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I love receiving books as presents. They’re personal, interesting and always welcome as a traveler who doesn’t want (or need) many things – I can always use another book to devour. Many of my favorite travel books aren’t specifically about travel and actually have to do more with history and food. I haven’t really enjoyed reading much from established travel writers, but get excited about different destinations through books that weave in details about places, people, food, and culture that are different than what I’m used to without the entire focus being on travel itself.
You won’t see any books from Bill Bryson or Paul Theroux below, but you will get an eclectic mix – from travelogues to recipe books – that would be a smart gift for the wanderluster in your life. If you’re interested in learning more about or purchasing a specific book, just click on the book cover for more information.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die – Yes, everyone’s heard of it before, but this is a fun one for just about anyone to flip through and at the very least do some armchair traveling.
Humans of New York – The first book from this blog, Humans of New York is the perfect book for people who like New York, but also those who just like…people. While the pictures are interesting, the quotes are more telling and moving usually showing you something very personal about the photographed subject in just a few simple words, like this.
Very Thai – From the color coding of days to guys wearing headbands, Very Thai sheds light on some of those things I still don’t understand about Thailand…and highlights other strange quirks about Thai culture I hadn’t even been aware of.
On the Road – A traveler classic, On the Road would be an especially appropriate gift for someone just starting out on their travels…or still longing to.
The Sweet Life in Paris – Not only is David Lebovitz a great pastry chef and writer, but he’s funny too. The Sweet Life in Paris chronicles his move from San Francisco to Paris with the perfect combination of Parisian details, personal anecdotes and focus on food – plus several recipes thrown in!
Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day – While everyone else uses their smartphones and blog recommendations to get around a new city, Doug Mack decided to travel through Europe with 1963 edition of Europe on Five Dollars a Day as his guide. The result is a look at how the places, and travel itself, have and haven’t changed in the past 50 years.
Pok Pok – Another food + place book, Pok Pok shares 70 recipes from the famous Portland restaurant of the same name with an emphasis on Thai street food staples like grilled chicken and som tam (spicy papaya salad).
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie – I read the entire Little House on the Prairie series several times when I was younger, but haven’t thought about it in years until I came along this book. Travel + history + literature. Good stuff.
Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World – A travelogue covering Seth Stevenson’s attempt to go around the world without flying, Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World
A Traveller’s History of Southeast Asia – To better understand a place you’re visiting you must have at least some idea of it’s history and background. A Traveller’s History of Southeast Asia covers the region’s history, from ‘Java Man’ one million years ago, to today.
What’s on your reading wish list?