|Subject: Re: Books about faraway and not-so-faraway places|
A topic close to my heart. There are scads of travel related
books to read to bring you to, or back to, places.
Winston Graham's Poldark series recreates the rough and tumble world of late 18th century Cornwall. The characters move by foot or horse (the wealthy folks) and it takes them hours to travel a few miles. What I find intriguing is that we travelled these same roads by car and also moved a short distance because the country roads are narrow and winding. The Bodmin Moor is a scary place in these books because of the highwaymen who might waylay the travellers and, as I recall, the moor was a desolate place, even in a car on the motorway. Some things don't ever change. Even the dialect written in these books isn't far off the one spoken today. Here's a site about the moor. http://www.bodminmoor.co.uk/
When we travel we take books that are set in the region so, in France this past summer, we read Carol Drinkwater's (the actress in "All Creatures Great and Small", a series of books worth reading) two books about her purchase and renovation of a French olive farm. She has a romantic approach to the expatriate life, but her description of the locals is dead-on.
Edmund White's "The Flaneur: A Stroll through the paradoxes of Paris" is a nice short study of the city. It's part of a series. Two other writers that I highly recommend, for their abilities to bring the reader into another time and space, are Colin Thubron and Wilfrid Thesiger. Thubron writes mostly about the Middle East and Russia. Thessiger, born in Addis Ababa and who died at the age of 93 in 2003, wrote about the land he knew, Northern Africa. He was the first Westerner to cross the Empty Quarter (a few years ago some Canadians did the trip and stopped in to see him). Here's a site that describes Thessiger. http://tinyurl.com/4yl57
Here's a site that describes the Canadian revisit of Thesiger's trip. http://tinyurl.com/546my