With so many books about travel and travel guides on the market, or even books in general, it can be hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Many of us base our selections on the recommendations of others -- friends, book reviewers, Oprah. And so, I offer for the benefit of other travelers, armchair or active, my list of book about travel.
My criteria? Excellent writing and/or information, uniqueness of destination (for some destinations, books in English are hard to come by). But the number one requirement to get me to buy a book is the answer to this question :: Would I Read It Again? The answer must be a resounding YES! before I hand over my money.
I confess I have not read a few of those listed, mainly because I could not find them before I traveled (as happens when the local bookstore is out of stock and I am leaving before Amazon can ship them). These are the books on Haiti Creole, the Sinhala phrasebook and Sri Lanka travel guide.
The Hong Kong travel guide, listed on the Lantau Island page (rather than under China on the Shop for Books page), is another one I couldn't get before my trip. And I have still to list my books for Canada and Chile.
And as I mentioned in an earlier blog post on august 1/06, remember that guidebooks will never be totally accurate.
Good books about travel tell me the experiences of other travelers to a destination. A good guidebook can explain where I am going. Sometimes, even more importantly, it helps me to understand a place where I have already been.