In my travel shop, amongst the postcards, luggage, journals, posters and maps, will be a section devoted to travel narratives. I love this section of bookstores, though I am finding them to be shrinking in size, if a store even has one. One of the reasons is probably because many travel narratives crossover into other genres: non-fiction, outdoor, fiction, history, even children’s literature. Navigating the definition of travel narrative can be subjective. It’s easier to just have a section of guidebooks.
Well, in my shop, I’d use my own broad definition of travel narrative and reclaim the stories and have them all in one place. Bill Bryson would be next to M. Šašek, which would be next to Jack Kerouac, which would be next to Robert Louis Stevenson. But in alphabetically order, of course. I want someone coming into my shop to see these book and allow these authors to instigate curiosity, trigger memories, pique interest, further research, challenge assumptions, and induce warm fuzzies.
With this section of my future travel shop in mind, I started a list of those books that have done the above for me. You can check out what I have entered so far on my new Reading List page.
As I am always looking for new books to read, please please please comment with some of your favorite travel narratives.