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Showing posts from July, 2007

Pirate Books: Lonely Planet Cambodia (2007 Enhanced Edition)

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Last time we wrote about travel books. There is one must-read we want to add to the list of our favourites together with Hokkaido Highway Blues and Molvanîa Travel Guide. It is the Lonely Planet of Cambodia, this year’s updated edition. It includes some indispensable, previously unheard of practical tips, and new, exciting places. You simply cannot experience Cambodia fully without this excellent, fixed guide book. Pirate books, such as this one, are readily available in Cambodia. In fact, most of the books are copies sold at reasonable prices. You can buy books from any tourist restaurant where young booksellers cruise with their baskets. Bookshops offer a wider selection, but it is useful to keep in mind that not all of the books with English titles are in English. For Cambodians, it seems to be trendy to have a foreign title together with Khmer content. Western, imported books cost dearly, often over ten times more than pirate books.

Part 1: Armchair Travelling

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Travel literature review We hadn’t read many travel books when we started our own nomad life. Earlier we had been wondering what relevance somebody else’s experiences of some random places on earth had. For us, it was more important to go and see the places by myself. We also considered the detailed descriptions of places and of the beauty of the landscape inherent in travel literature as tedious. During the last three years, we have plunged into this genre and seen that it does have some merit. Many travel writers live, at least during their travels, outside the boring Western, middle-class lifestyle. As it is very rare to stumble upon these lifestyle travelers on the road, books offer a way to reflect one’s own experiences. Still, most of travel literature is far from interesting. The books are dead serious and the genre seems to offer the writers a stage for ego-tripping and pathos with strictly predefined patterns and plots. Ego-tripping A typical and an indeed tedious travel bo…

The Best Travel Books

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Our two favorites in travel literature are Jet Lag’s Molvanîa and Will Ferguson’s Hokkaido Highway Blues. Molvanîa travel guide is an excellent parody of travel guidebooks. Molvanîa is a fictional country, “untouched by modern dentistry” as the books describes. It is, of course, situated in godforsaken East Europe, which is a most convenient base for mythical stories. The book is a rare treasure among travel literature’s usually dead-serious genre.