On the Road
Whenever and however you first meet Jack Kerouac’s classic, it’s bound to be a life-altering experience, especially if you’re already someone itching to take the All-American Road Trip for yourself. A journey in search of satisfaction, a delicate balance between self-discovery and self-indulgence, a look at America from top to bottom and inside out – Kerouac’s novel is all that and more. If you like road trips, the Beat Generation, 1940s to 1950s Americana, and a whole lot of jazz, Kerouac’s novel is a must.
A Moveable Feast
Translated into French as Paris est une Fête, Ernest Hemingway’s classic is part-memoir, part travelogue, and part ode to one of the most dazzling literary and artistic scenes in modern history – Paris during the Lost Generation. Within its pages, you’ll find F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, a trip to Spain (it is Hemingway, after all), Gertrude Stein, artists, models, a whole lot of drinking (again, Hemingway), and a glittering picture of a now-legendary literary era.
Down and Out in Paris and London
For a very different image of Paris, consider George Orwell’s classic treatise on poverty and rough-living in the French and British capitals. In Orwell’s book, you won’t find the big landmarks that permeate many modern showoff-y travelogues, but instead an account of how people on the fringes of society get by in these modern metropolises and how they’re treated. If you’re a conscientious consumer who cares deeply about socioeconomic issues, want a more authentic and less polished travelogue, or are simply short on cash yourself, Orwell as your travel companion is sure to be “more equal than others.”
The Jane Austen Society
For those of an Austenian Persuasion looking for a markedly different image of England, try Natalie Jenner’s lush look at the English countryside that inspired one of Britain’s best authors. From her home in Chawton (now a museum) to the rolling fields of English greenery, it’s an image of England overflowing with Sense and Sensibility.
In a Sunburned Country
Bill Bryson is one of the most celebrated travel writers today, and this book is no different. With his trademark humor, Bryson tackles Australia’s many sun-drenched hotspots.
A Year in Provence
If you feel the French countryside calling your name, you might want to consider Peter Mayle’s account of his year-long stay in Provence. Full of earnestness and French cuisine, it’s sure to leave you hungry to explore the area itself, wine, cheese, and all.
A Room with a View
E.M. Forster’s Edwardian literary classic is a short but essential read for any lover of Italy. An examination of art, gender, and Italian versus English culture, Forster’s life-affirming love story doubles as a great travel guide to Florence. The Duomo, the Loggia dei Lanzi, the Arno, the Tuscan countryside, the art – it’s all here. (Although the novel itself knocks traveling via Baedeker travel guides, if you want an older, more Romantic Italian travelogue, try Goethe’s Italienische Reise.)