9 Travelling for romance and death
This month’s bookshelf is not the sentimental type…
Death is just the beginning for this month’s books, and indeed for mortician Caitlin Doughty, whose professional curiosity sees her travelling to gain an understanding of how the planet deals with passing on. Taking her from the USA to Indonesia, Japan and Bolivia, From Here to Eternity (W&N, £15) is a study in cultures, places and profound moments – and with a necessary slice of morbid humour, too.
In Voyage of the Southern Sun (Black Inc, £17), Michael Smith gets to feel death’s icy breath as well, though it may just be wind resistance. His quest to be the first person to travel the world by amphibious plane almost comes to an end off the Canadian coast. Thankfully, a hefty thwack of Aussie can-do attitude and good cheer gets him through the journey – and the rest of the book.
There were certainly giggles to be had on the The Hippie Trail (Manchester University Press, £20) in the ’60s, the starting point for many lifelong travellers. Stripping the hazy romance out of it, Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland’s history instead analyses the wider social context of who, how and why the Afghanwearers found themselves Afghanistan-bound.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of travel romance found in Scraps of Wool: A Journey Through the Golden Age of Travel Writing (Unbound, £20). Compiled by Bill Colegrave, this collects together excerpts of literary gems from around the word. It’s a chest of travel writing treasure and will provide inspiration aplenty.