Books that Travel Well


It took me several years to work up the courage to visit India. After having reluctantly accepted independent solo travel as my best option, I soon realised that books would be my most important companions from now on. It is true what they say, that you can never prepare yourself for India. Nevertheless, I have found reading India related books to be hugely inspiring, helpful and rewarding. It surely has deepened my insight and interest in its people, culture and spirit – both before and during my stays there.

As for guidebooks, I’ve mostly been travelling with Lonely Planet. I like Rough Guides a lot too, and have used them on several trips in South-East Asia and Europe.

Here are my favourite India reads, a mix of fiction and fact:

  • Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts
  • A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
  • The Snake Charmer, Sanjay Nigam
  • Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Yoga School Dropout, Lucy Edge
  • Mantras and Misdemeanors, Vanessa Walker
  • Mahatma! eller konsten att vända världen upp och ner, Zac O’Yeah
  • Guru! En resa i underlandet, Zac O’Yeah
  • Q & A, Vikas Swarup
  • The Little Book of Hindu Deities, Sanjay Patel
  • Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta
  • The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga
  • The Death of Vishnu, Manil Suri
  • Holy Cow!, Sarah MacDonald
  • King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema, Anupama Chopra
  • Vår man i Bollywood, Zac O’Yeah

When it comes to other countries and destinations, I haven’t really immersed myself much in their local literature. In Thailand I’ve mostly been studying Buddhist philosophy, reading just a few other books like Alex Garland’s The Beach and Phra Farang by Phra Peter Pannapadipo. The only book by a Thai writer that I can remember reading is Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap.
Buddha Da by Anne Donovan has a great Scottish feel to it, while Maggie O’Farrell, Marian Keyes, Mike Gayle, W B Yeats and Bobby Sands are my British and Irish favorites.