Books for the road

It's impossible to read Nancy Pearl's "Book Lust To Go," a listing of books about places all around the globe, without a pad of Post-It notes at your side.

That's because you'll constantly be flagging books you want to read, whether they're about Arctic exploration or the search for a lost tribe of Israel in Zimbabwe. Pearl's book is available in the new books section by the Ashland library checkout area. Here's just a sampling of some of Pearl's intriguing selections.

  • Dean King's "Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival" tells how 12 American sailors shipwrecked on the African coast were enslaved by a traveling Bedouin tribe. The year was 1815, the same time that Africans were being captured and shipped to America to work as slaves.
  • Western journalist Ilija Trojanow recounts going on the Hajj in "Mumbai to Mecca: A Pilgrimage to the Holy Sites of Islam."
  • American nanny Marjorie Leet Ford tells of her struggles to understand Britishisms and English etiquette in "Do Try to Speak as We Do."
  • Sharyn McCrumb has written a series of books, including the "The Ballad of Frankie Silver," based on Appalachian ballads.
  • "The Marsh Arabs" is Wilfred Thesinger's account of living with a group of Iraqis in the 1950s. Their way of life was later destroyed by Saddam Hussein, who drained their marshes as retribution for a failed coup.
  • You can visit Australia via Tim Flannery's "Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature."
  • Travel down the Colorado with Edward Dolnick's "Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell's 1869 Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Through the Grand Canyon."
  • Potential tragedy ends up as salvation in Borneo in Judith Heimann's "The Airmen and the Headhunters: A True Story of Lost Soldiers, Heroic Tribesmen, and the Unlikeliest Rescue of World War II."
  • Peter Allison humorously tells how he tries to keep his human charges under control in "Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide."
  • J. Maarten Troost's book title tells it all — "Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, Or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid."
  • John Harlin III follows in his mountain-climbing father's footsteps in "The Eiger Obsession: Facing the Mountain That Killed My Father."
  • Pearl recommends several books on hiking the Canada-to-Mexico Pacific Crest Trail, including Dan White's "The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind — and Almost Found Myself — on the Pacific Crest Trail."
  • William Dalrymple chronicles how he traced Marco Polo's footsteps, interweaving that explorer's observations with his own, in "In Xanadu: A Quest."
  • For an unusual view of Japan, try Jake Adelstein's "Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan."
  • Christina Thompson's memoir, "Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story," explores the culture clash between Westerners and the Maori.
  • Robert Kull did his doctoral dissertation on the effects of deep wilderness solitude on humans and wrote "Solitude: Seeking Wilderness in Extremes: A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness."
  • Also set in Patagonia, Nick Reding's "The Last Cowboys at the End of the World: The Story of the Gauchos of Patagonia" brings what seems like a lost livelihood to life.
  • Learn about Mexican runners in the Sierra Madre in Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen."
  • Judy Corbett and her partner bought and restored the Gwydir Castle in Wales, and recorded that endeavor in "Castles in the Air: The Restoration Adventures of Two Young Optimists and a Crumbling Old Mansion."

Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or

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