Normally, I do extensive reading on my travels. These days, in a sort of reversal, I am reading some travel accounts. These are not books which I (or the reading world in general) will classify as travel writing, because in these books, the authors are telling us stories they picked up while traveling rather than describe the travel itself.
I recently finished reading Rings of Saturn by Sebald and was enchanted by his journey – which is a foot journey along the counties of East Anglia. He hardly describes the present day East Anglia, but whatever he does say makes you want to take that tour yourself. I hope to do a foot journey alone sometime in the near future – though hopefully not in the same despondent mood of the writer in question. I have written a more detailed review of this book here.
Another book I am reading is In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. Incidentally, both the books share a tenuous connection as Sebald, in his collection of essays writes about Chatwin’s writing as anthropological and mythological studies, which could equally be said of Sebald’s writing as well. In Patagonia, as the name suggests is an account of Chatwin’s journeys in Patagonia and the stories that he hears there – of exiles, of Russian nurses, of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid. All of them completely engrossing and a little sad.
I think I will take up more of this genre, it simply is a delightful one!