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Eight books that inspire to travel (part 3)

There are books and then there are books that inspire. Endurance and The Fault Line are two books I could not put down yet I did not want to end. Books that made me "hear a familiar creaking sound. A window opening to a new journey." Here are eight books that will have you pack your bags in no time.

Swept off to live in Sydney by his Australian bride, American writer Tony Horwitz longs to explore the exotic reaches of his adopted land. So one day, armed only with a backpack and fantasies of the open road, he hitchhikes off into the awesome emptiness of Australia's outback.

Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are among the least-known places in South America: nine hundred miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads through it; a string of rickety coastal towns situated between the mouths of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers; an interior of watery, green anarchy where border disputes are often based on ancient Elizabethan maps and where flora and fauna are still being discovered. And under the lens of John Gimlette—brilliantly offbeat, irreverent, and canny—these three small countries are among the most wildly intriguing places on earth.

They had met and married on perilously short acquaintance, she an American chef and food writer, he a Venetian banker. Now they were taking another audacious leap, unstitching their ties with exquisite Venice to live in a roughly renovated stable in Tuscany.

Tu' is a young tour guide working in Hanoi. While he leads tourists through the city, including American vets on "war tours," he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam--and what they miss entirely. Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most her life in the U.S., has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father's disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has lived through decades of political upheaval and has still found a way to feed hope to his community of pond side dwellers.

This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.

Award-winning British travel writer Hugh Thomson explores the most exotic and foreign country of them all -- his own. From the very centre of England Hugh travels to its outermost edges. The Green Road into the Trees is a journey made rich by the characters he meets along the way. And the ways he takes are the old ways, the drover-paths and tracks, the paths and ditches half covered by bramble and tunnelled by alder, beech and oak: the trails that can still be traced by those who know where to look. By taking a 400 mile journey along the Icknield Way, through both the sacred and profane landscapes of ancient England, Hugh casts unexpected light -- and humour -- on the way we live now.

In January 1915, after battling its way for six weeks through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted before it was finally crushed. But for Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men, the ordeal had barely begun. It would end only after a miraculous journey through more than 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization.

In Endurance, the definitive account of Shackleton's fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing voyage that has defined heroism for the last century.

In the late nineteenth century no one knew what existed beyond the fortress of ice rimming the northern oceans. National glory would fall to whoever could plant his flag upon its shores.

James Bennett, the eccentric and wealthy owner of The New York Herald, had recently captured the world's attention by dispatching Stanley to Africa to find Dr. Livingstone. Now he was keen to re-create that sensation on an even more epic scale. So he funded an official U.S. naval expedition to reach the Pole.

And so a team of 32 men sails deep into uncharted Arctic waters. Two years into the harrowing voyage the Jeannette sank and the men found themselves marooned a thousand miles north of Siberia with only the barest supplies. Thus began their long march across a frozen hell in the most lonesome corner of the world.

Rarely have I read such an engaging book. I could not put it down, nor did I want it to end.

Paolo Rumiz traces the path that has twice cut Europe in two—first by the Iron Curtain and then by the artificial scaffolding of the EU—moving through vibrant cities and abandoned villages, some places still gloomy under the ghost of these imposing borders, some that have sought to erase all memory of it and jump with both feet into the West (if only the West would have them). In The Fault Line, he is a sublime and lively guide through these unfamiliar landscapes, piecing together an atlas that has been erased by modern states, delighting in the discovery of communities that were once engulfed by geopolitics then all but forgotten, until now. In this book I definitely heard "a familiar creaking sound. A window opening to a new journey." This book brims with the author's love for Eastern Europe, the raw beauty of its landscapes and the hospitality of its people.

More books you'll love:

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