Literary inspirations to travel

Travel Writers & Books — By on May 17, 2006 at 12:27 pm

I was intrigued by a recent story in the NY Times about literature that inspires people to travel.  The newspaper polled authors for titles that have aroused their wanderlust. It got me to thinking about books I’ve read that fit into that category.  Not travel narratives, for they are meant to invoke dreams of the road, but other literature that makes one want to visit a particular place.  Below are three of my nominations.  What would your choices be?

On the Road.  Jack Kerouac’s ode to the American road trip…

Then came spring, the time of great traveling, and everybody in the scattered gang was getting ready to take one trip or another. … Now I could see Denver looming ahead of me like the Promised Land, way out there beneath the stars, across the prairie of Iowa and the plains of Nebraska, and I could see the greater vision of San Francisco beyond, like jewels in the night.

The Lover.  Marguerite Duras’ book about a young girl and her lover in colonial Indochina.  She writes about Saigon…

It’s a city of pleasure that reaches its peak at night.  And night is beginning now, with the setting sun. … Whiffs of burnt sugar drift into the room, the smell of roasted peanuts, Chinese soups, roast meat, herbs, jasmine, incense, charcoal fires. 

A Moveable Feast.  Ernest Hemingway and Paris…

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.

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