Born Free by Joy Adamson
Surely Born Free has to make a list for those inspired to travel to Africa! We love the amazing animal encounters and interaction with the locals that are described.
The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham
This book attempts to tell the full story of the race between Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal etc to colonise Africa. It is simply astounding to think that Africa went from being largely untouched by imperial Europe to nearly colonised within 30 years.
Show me the Magic: Travels round Benin by Taxi by Annie Caulfield
A great overview of life in Benin and the voodoo culture. It provides a really interesting insight into life in Benin and parts of West Africa.
South by Sir Ernest Shackleton
Incredible story of Shackleton’s last journey to Antarctica on the Endurance and his epic mission to save his team.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
This appeared on the list more than once. The detailed descriptions of life in Japan during the time of the geisha inspired a number of our agents to visit the country and Kyoto’s Gion district in particular.
Lost Japan by Alex Kerr
This infamous art dealer explains from a Japanese point of view the inner workings of Japanese culture.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Just the places visited (Bali, India, etc) really attracted one of our team to travel to India for the culture shock of travelling to an exotic location!
Koto by Tracy Lister
A beautiful Vietnamese cookbook that is a great introduction to the preparation of Vietnamese street food.
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull and A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
There are so many books about France, but these are favourites of one of our travel consultants as they give really interesting views from people who live there. They describe the frustrations of living in a foreign country, but also the highs of learning and discovering the culture. Both books are beautifully written with a touch of humour about the food, people and places.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This book has been a treasured companion for a member of our team, having travelled in the suitcase on multiple trips to Europe. The love story between Levin and Kitty is one of their favourite literary romances. The vast expanses of Russian countryside that are crossed in the novel, the modernisation of Russia captured by the thundering trains just makes you want to jump on one each time you travel through Europe.
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Who doesn’t love the little Belgian Hercule Poirot? This has to be one of our favourite Poirot stories and has put a Nile cruise firmly on many a bucket list. We are excited to have our travellers to Egypt, on our In-Style tours, stay at the very hotel where Agatha Christie stayed, and wrote this famous mystery novel!
South & Central America
The Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Diaz del Castillo.
Bernal Diaz del Castillo was a soldier with Hernan Cortez when he first arrived in Mexico. This is a fascinating adventure story about the incredible conquest of Mexico that peaked my interest in the history of Mexico and its Conquest.
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This book took our reader a while to get through. It was one of those books that they just had to set aside occasionally and revisit when ready. That said it was still completely beautiful and magical. A combination of fantasy and history set in the jungle of Central America.
Only Two Seats Left by John Anderson
This guy has travelled the world and started a hugely successful business off the back of it. John Anderson founded Contiki in the early 1960s and how he turned a small bus trip amongst mates in to this globally recognised brand is a story of true entrepreneurship.
Lonely Planet Guidebooks
Great for fast facts and highlights to check out.
Lonely Planet: See it for Yourself
This was received by one of our team for a 21st present and inspired them to try to visit all of the incredible places where the images were taken.
Novels by Daniel Silva
Good spy thrillers and they’re always set in amazing locations!
National Geographics in the doctor’s waiting room
Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room may seem an unlikely place to find inspiration but a story that featured Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls & the wildlife made us want to pack our bags right there and then!
Need more inspiration to get you started on your reading adventures again?
We recommend Nick Hornby’s 2004 The Polysyllabic Spree. It collates a year of monthly columns that Hornby wrote on what he bought and read each month. Not only does it give you a great range of literary classics and modern tales to choose from it is also funny and easy to dip in to.
The biggest take-home...
Don’t struggle through a book you aren’t enjoying. You wouldn’t continue to eat a meal you didn’t like so why feel you need to persist with a book that isn’t to your taste?
For more information on each of these books check out our reading list at Good Reads.
Finally, books are not only great for inspiration but they are a great way to exercise your grey matter!
What are some of your favourites? We’d love to know!