Reading on the Road

Great Japan RTW Travel ReadingIn an attempt to make the very best of our forthcoming trip, we’re constantly soliciting advice from others who have traveled on this kind of scale. Last week, we met a guy who had attempted a year-long sojourn several years back, but cut his trip short after about six months when all of his gear was stolen in the Czech Republic. Bummer.

Anyway, when we pressed him to give his single, best piece of advice, he offered the same counsel that we’d heard a few times before: Take the time to read books written in the countries that you’re going be visiting. Immerse yourself in the culture by connecting through some of the classic written word. The theory is that by diving into a world created by a legendary author, you may add level of depth to your visit. For example, one might want to read Kafka while sitting in coffee houses in Prague or plod through crazy-looking Tolstoy while riding on a train between Russian cities. Admittedly, it is not the most original or creative advice, but we’re still taking it to heart.

Great New Zealand RTW ReadingToday we picked up two books for the first two legs of our journey: New Zealand and Japan. We prefer fiction and after some research we picked up The Bone People (a Booker Prize-winning Novel by Keri Hulme out of New Zealand) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (a lengthy but seemingly fascinating novel by prolific and renowned author Haruki Murakami out of Japan).

I’ve always been one of those guys who says that he enjoys reading, but never seems to be able to make time for it. So, I’m looking forward to jumping into to these first two books and start dog-earing the pages immediately. I’ll be reading thick, heavy paperbacks that I can attack with a pen and flip through at will. Brooke, on the other hand, will be enjoying both on the convenience of her Kindle. Well, only if she can find The Bone People. Amazon may not have it available…load of bunk.

We are always seeking advice and input, so let us know if YOU have a must-read classic suited to one of the countries we will be visiting that we should pick up and start bookmarking.


Categories: Diversions, Japan, New Zealand, Packing, Reading, Trip Prep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Reading on the Road

  1. Kristin Miller

    The blog is great! I’ve learned so much. I wanted to say that I like that you signed the bottom of the blog. Because I’ve known phil longer, I tend to think he is writing each one. If each is signed it helps me know who’s perspective I’m reading. Just a small tip if you care. Have a great trip!! Can’t wait to read all about it! -kMiller 🙂

    • Thanks KMillz2010! Glad you’re enjoying Luggage Tags thus far. Thanks for the input. So, we’ve gone back and revised each post with a signature line. So, you’ll know who wrote each and we will do so moving forward. Also, at the very top of each post, it indicates who the author is – Brooke or Phil – but that may not be that easy to see.

      Ah, the best stuff is yet to come….

      • Anonymous

        Hey! Everything looks awesome so far and it looks like you are having a FABULOUS time! I’m looking at the blog for the first time on an actual computer, not my iPhone, and it does in fact say the author at the top. That name, however, does not show up in the mobile version of the blog. That’s why I made my original comment. I just didn’t want you to think I was an idiot, which I’m sure you don’t.

        Enjoy every minute! I know you will! Best, kmillz

  2. Liz F

    Brooke knows how much I like book challenges. Do the books have to be by a person from that country, or can they be merely set in the country? For Vietnam, I’d go with The Quiet American. Also, I remember enjoying The Sorrow of War by Bao Ninh, which was about the “American War” from the perspective of a North Vietnamese soldier.
    And it’s not an original pick, but I’ll always shout out Milan Kundera for the Czech Republic. His books always made College Me feel verrrrryyyyyy sophisticated.
    In other news, in scanning our books, I realize that like 90% of our books are by Americans.
    Hope you guys are getting excited and enjoying your last American kicks.

    • Liz,

      Ah, excellent! We would prefer that the books just be SET in the country. So, Hemingway’s “Sun Also Rises” would work for Spain, for example. We’ll likely only be in Vietnam long enough for a good short story, so we might not take up novels for that country, but ya never know. The suggestions are great!

      Excitement builds. Had big ‘burgers tonight. Not on purpose, but the joint was oh-so-American.

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