Going Traveling - Need Reading Recommendations!

Discussion in 'Community' started by ~Shard~, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #1
    I'm leaving in a few days to backpack through Eastern Europe, Germany and England for 6 weeks and since I'll have a lot of time for reading on planes, trains and buses, I was hoping fro some recommendations on excellent books that MacRumors members have read lately. I honestly like all genres for the most part, so let the recommendations fly and I'll pick a couple of them up!

    It'll be neat to see how well-read some MacRumors members are, if we have similar tastes, and what type of recommendations are made. Sorry for the vague question, but the thread may turn our more interesting that way!

    (Oh, and my brother already recommended Herodotus, not sure if any of you have read it... ;))
     
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #2
    "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. Just got done with it.

    If you have an iPod, I highly recommend joining audible.com or just buying a few audiobooks. Even at best quality, you can fit an 18-hour book in about 300MB. Even a mini will store many, many books. And the pods keep track of where you are in each book. Nice feature.
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    Worst Case Scenario Handbook, by Joshua Piven. ;)

    Its funny, it'll kill time, and there are some good, unusual tips for any situation.

    I generally enjoy reading books that are funny, but still fiction books. I read a book called "The Best A Man Can Get", and it was hilarious. Forgot the author's name, though. It was about a man who lived in a flat in South London with a bunch of guys, while he also had a family in North London who didn't know about his other, less stressful, life. :)

    People don't get into serious fiction books too much when you travel, I find. Things like classics aren't a good read. I've tried a few Dickens books, and they were unreadable. Tried reading LOTR 5 years ago on vacation.....unreadable.

    Of course, "No Logo" by Naomi Klein is still the best conversation starter. There's always a few young travellers on a bus who have either read or heard of the book, and it always leads to interesting convo's regarding the economy, big corporations, America (no, seriously), Nike, then maybe sports as well.
     
  4. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

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    #4
    whoa! i could recommend a lot of books, not because i'm especially well-read but because i only read stuff i like, otherwise i dont finish them lol. uhh...the andromeda strain, anything by douglas adams or george orwell or ray bradbury except the martian chronicles. the partner by john grisham (his only book i like) life on the mississippi, downsiders, umm...anything by dave barry cause theyre quick reads and a good laugh i guess these are just my favorite books. when i travel i always bring a good supply of double a batteries and gum (oh yeah, and my ipod) and i'm set. i dont usually read on trips
     
  5. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #5
    Pillars of the EArth by Ken Follet. YOu should be able to get a cheap paper back copy!
     
  6. musicpyrite macrumors 68000

    musicpyrite

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    #6
    Salt: A World History ;)

    My favorites are:
    A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking
    The Elegant Universe - Brian Greene
    The sequel to The Elegant Universe:
    The Fabric of the Cosmos
    Blind Man's Bluff - Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, Annette Drew

    Also some of the XXXX for Dummies books. The two that I liked that really stood out were Unix for Dummies (I refer to this almost on a daily basis) and Java for Dummies.

    I like the Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene books because they explain everything very well. Easy for someone who wants to start learning about physics, superstrings, dimensions, etc.

    The Blind Man's Bluff is a collection of short stories, or diaries written mostly by crew members of nuclear attack submarines (and some post WW II diesel subs) -- the timeline ranges from ~1946-1988. Although the down side to the book is that some of the things they talk about are sill classified. (My favorite was the story about how a submarine found, and tapped a phone line crossing the Sea of Okhotsk, another really good one was how they described a plan to use a tanker size ship (the Glomar Explorer), cut a hole in the bottom so a claw could go down to the bottom of the sea floor (about 4 miles or 6.5KM) and to actually grab a Golf class submarine, then raise it off the sea floor to the ship and examin it's nuclear war heads. You'll have to read the story to get the gist of it, but it was amazing some of the things they did, and what they did to cover up things. They say that the Glomar Explorer was built by Howard Hues to mine sea diamonds :rolleyes: )
     
  7. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #7
    Sounds intriguing, I'll look into it more...
     
  8. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #8
    Cool, sounds great! And yes, I agree, reading serious books is probably not the best while traveling. I read The Two Towers when I was backpacking through Australia 2 years ago and although it was good, and I am a big LOTR fan, it just didn't work out too well. ;) I could definitely see some other sci-fi books working though, I might have to check some of those out.

    "No Logo" sounds cool, I haven't heard of it. I might have to check it out, thanks! :)
     
  9. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #9
    Lots of excellent suggestions here, and a lot of variety, thanks guys! Geez, now instead of not knowing what to read my problem might be having too much to read! :eek:

    And although I'm not much for reading "the classics" while I'm traveling (although I love them in general), I almost feel compelled to this time around, since I will be surrounded with so much history on my journey. Ah, choices, choices...
     
  10. aus_dave macrumors regular

    Joined:
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    #10
    Put that on the top of your list - an excellent suggestion :D.

    Some of my favourites:

    - Bill Bryson, "Neither Here Nor There" (travels in Europe), "The Lost Continent" (USA). Hilarious :D.

    - George Orwell, "Down and Out in London and Paris". Documents loosely his time as a dishwasher in Paris and as a tramp in London.

    - Henri Charriere, "Papillon". Much more in depth than the movie with Steve McQueen. Not sure how accurate it is though :rolleyes:.

    - John Irving, "A Prayer for Owen Meany". He writes pretty strange stuff but it might be of interest to you.

    - Bryce Courtenay, "The Power Of One"
     
  11. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #11
    Another vote for Pillars of the Earth, and another Bryson recommendation - excellent. I have read the Orwell actually, and found it interesting. I have seen Papillon but never read it, that might be a good one as well.

    Once again, thanks! :cool:
     
  12. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #12
    I just picked up a Follet book I hadn't read yet for my own travels this week :D
     
  13. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    #13
    The BBC Tolkien Radio play is perhaps a better way to go as its shorter and highlights the main bits...very entertaining.

    Record any talking books at no higher than 128 as theres no real advantage to anything higher.
     
  14. aus_dave macrumors regular

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    #14
    Papillon is pretty thick so it might take up a bit of room. One backpacker trick is to buy a cheap second-hand copy, tear out each chapter as you read it and throw it away.

    This works so long as you don't need to go back and re-read anything :cool:.
     
  15. Davito macrumors member

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    #15
    Maybe you would like to read books from authors that come from the countries you will visit. For Germany I suggest some Herman Hesse, ('Steppenwolf' is my favourite, nut I don't know the english title of the book). For Austria and the Czeck Republic Franz Kafka would be interesting ('The process', 'The metamorphosis'), if you pass throufh Switzerland, try Max Fritsch, ('Homo Faber'). Have fun!

    Edit: And how could I forget Milan Kundera from the Czeck Repulbic. 'The unbearable lightness of being' is his most known, but I like everything else he wrote as well.
     
  16. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I have to recommend any of the Dan Brown series. 'Deception Point and 'The DaVinci Code' 'Angels And Demons' and 'Digital Fortress' Great for lovers of suspense. The Douglas Adams Series is another favorite of mine. 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy' is an amazing series, very funny. I believe that if on a holiday, any good suspense story tides me over. I always take one away with me (even if I am going away for business) and read it.


    Enjoy your holiday, and keep us posted (if you can be bothered) and tell us of your trip.
     
  17. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #17
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's August 1914 or November 1916.

    Just take one; it'll be the only book you'll need. Or be able to finish.
     
  18. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    #18
    Good to hear that you come over to visit the old world
    :D I believe you will really enjoy it ! Traveling is so much fun. Do you have already good traveling books ? I can recommand the lonely planet ones. They have a good travel forum there as well (the thorntree) where you can get answers to travel questions as well. Or you post them here. Anyway - have fun during your trip ! ;)
     
  19. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #20
    Whoah! Herodotus. There's some "light" reading. Actually not a bad book -- he's a great storyteller, and a great traveler. One theory about the book is that he's simply recounting the tall tales tour guides told him on his trip to Egypt.

    If you're in a "classic" mood, why not Shakespeare? I read several Shakespeare plays on my first trip through Europe, and I thought it "set the stage" quite well for my visit.

    The Da Vinci Code is a great book to read for a visit to France. You get to see the sites described in the book (though I think the Mona Lisa location has changed since the printing).
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    Funny. I used to walk to work for 40 minutes every day in London (faster than both the underground AND the bus :rolleyes: ), and I passed his house every day without knowing it. One day I pass a house with a plaque beside the front door that read, "Former Home of George Orwell", and it had a date and everything. Strange how you pass by so much history in London without even knowing it. :)

    No Logo is very recommended. It'll make you hate companies like Nike, Starbucks, Walmart, and the rest. I read it, loved, it and I have no interest in business. Its quite light, and you can relate to it easily if you're a consumer (which you are) because sneaky corporate mindsets are generally interesting when it relates to you.

    And that Worst Case Scenario Handbook I recommended is just filled with a bunch of funny/good tips on how to survive different situations. It isn't serious, and its not really something that will fill more than 2 hours of reading. But if you're ever in a falling elevator, or need to jump out of a moving car, then......um....... yeah, its the right book for you. :D

    And any book by Douglas Coupland, like Microserfs (a fiction book about working at Microsoft :cool: ), is absolutely fantastic.
     
  21. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #22
    I really enjoyed John Simpson's autobiographies and his most recent book on the Iraq war. He was (still is?) a BBC correspondent and his books are written very much from a personal but pretty unbiased viewpoint. They cover some serious subjects but are very well written with lots of human interest aspects - it's fascinating reading about everything from the Iran/Iraq war, through Tiamenim Square, through the break up of Yugoslavia to current day Iraq, particularly when you get to the personal recollections of tea with Colonel Gadaffi and meeting Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

    Will also give a big vote for Bill Bryson's books - although you may find yourself laughing while reading which can lead to odd looks!
     
  22. ecche macrumors regular

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    #23
    Always a very good choice when travelling is Eric Ambler. I cannot even recommend one single book - they are all very good. Entertaining, but not stupidly superficial. Witty and eloquent, but still easy to read.

    Enjoy your travels. As I am typing this I am sitting on Brighton beach, where a few friendly souls have created a free LAN called 'piertopier-network'. Yes, I am reading Ambler myself...
     
  23. Aaon macrumors 6502

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    #25
    I have to add a second vote for Coupland's Microserfs, an all -around fantastic book. Humorous and thought provoking. Good stuff. The Hitchhiker's Guide seris is fantastic as well, especially the first two books.

    I would also toss in a reccomendation for books by Stephen Fry. Always an interesting, light, funny read.

    A great choice would also be any of Richard Feynman's biographical books. Amazing stories about an amazing scientist, and very fun to read.

    Aaron
     

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