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Old 03-25-2017, 02:39 PM   #1
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Travel Reading

Oh drat. Posted in the wrong forum. Sorry.

I'm planning an overland train journey, a couple of boats will also be involved on a river or two. I need four weeks worth of reading to cover the following countries, some will or can be non fiction but I would like them to be somewhat relevant to the countries and towns i see.
Starting in France, then.

Germany
Poland
Georgia
Russia
China
North and South Korea
Thailand
Myanmar
Possibly Laos or Cambodia
Then a week in Thailand with the family before flying home from Bangkok

So far I have

Round the world in eighty days
Anna Karenina
Please don't suggest War and Peace. No way could I plod through that again.
Burmese days and Shooting an Elephant
Probably something by Kipling

So, what else should i have on the Kindle?

Last edited by piperclassique; 03-25-2017 at 02:42 PM. Reason: I'm daft
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:42 PM   #2
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Posts asking for reading recommendations belong (gasp!) in the "Reading Recommendations" forum, which is where I'm now moving this. (The clue is in the forum name...)
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:45 PM   #3
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Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick, a somewhat fictionalized retelling of her interviews with North Korean refugees.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:50 PM   #4
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Travels in Siberia, by Ian Frazier.
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:19 PM   #5
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Sorry Harry.
Serves me right for posting on my phone without putting on my glasses.
Thanks for the move.
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Old 03-25-2017, 03:56 PM   #6
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No problem at all - it's what we're here for .
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:01 PM   #7
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The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:43 PM   #8
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I would not claim to be able to recommend any specific books as I don't know much about you. However, I have travelled a lot and my wife and I are currently away on a 4 week or so cruise on our yacht (which we do frequently), so I can give a little glimpse of the characteristics of the books I read.

Generally, I find that shortish and lighter books that can be picked up and put down quickly without loss of train of thought are easier to manage because of the unpredictable needs of mingling with other people, outings, longer meals, etc. I've even taken the opportunity to read through light short "easy" books in a series that I would not normally pay much attention to.

In the case of on boats I have to manage ours which is a considerable interruption to longer reading sessions and concentration, but one assumes that if you are going on river cruises you will have the interruptions of changing scenery, stops ashore and of other passengers (especially if the number of passengers carried is not large and so likely to form a more garrulous group). When we have friends who read sailing with us they generally seem to find that the only solid reading time is for a short period in their bunks at night before sleep overtakes them.

Of course, if one is travelling alone and going to keep to oneself, all the above is irrelevant .

Last edited by AnotherCat; 03-25-2017 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:05 PM   #9
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Some interesting thoughts there, AnotherCat. I will be traveling alone, but interactions with other passengers are probably going to be limited by lack of a common language once I leave Germany. As for the boats, they are local ferries, not cruise boats. This is a solo trip, using scheduled services, so I will certainly be meeting other travelers, but not ( probably) for more than a couple of days at a time. I'll have light reading but also want something to engage my brain.
I don't think longer meals are likely to get in the way of anything. Is more likely that I'll be leaping off a train long enough to grab a bowl of noodles once I get past Beijing. Up to there there will be restaurant cars.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:09 PM   #10
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Wow, sounds like quite a trip! How will you manage, language-wise, in places where the odds are nobody will share a common language with you and you won't even be able to read signs?
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:47 PM   #11
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Oh, I manage! Most railway stations in Asia seem to have sign boards in English as well as the local language, so it isn't really any harder than airports. I will have previously booked tickets as far as Beijing, and showing a ticket seems to result in me being led by the hand to the appropriate bit of scruffy concrete.

I can manage signs in Russian script, and if all else fails the picture dictionary or Google translate usually resolve things. It's surprisingly how many people speak a bit of English or French.

As for food, point and smile works. I can eat most things without disaster. I can ask for beer in at least twelve languages, and say thank you!

I print out a list of stations, train numbers and times for where i need to buy tickets at the station. Similar thing for buses. When it gets down to local minibuses or the back of a truck i may resort to looking stupid, which is not hard for me to do. This usually results in arrival at the correct place. I stay mostly in guest houses and hostels when traveling, and there is normally a decent ethnic mix. Communication happens.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:05 PM   #12
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Best of luck to you. Sounds like a great trip!
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:27 AM   #13
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Travels in Siberia looks good, as does the Korean book. Typo in my post, though, should have been Vietnam. I do hate autocompletion at times. Though i might get the book anyway... The Great Railway Bazaar I have as Dead tree book, though it would certainly bear another read.
More thoughts, anyone?
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:14 AM   #14
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For Russia, you could try something by Svetlana Alexievich. I've read her book about women during WWII. It consists of lots of small personal stories, I'd read a few at a time and then take a break and read something else. They range from funny to heartbreaking, and very down-to-earth -- what do you do when you're a woman soldier, and the men in charge of logistics for the army haven't thought about menstruation?

Or if you like urban fantasy: Night Watch by Sergey Lukyanenko. It's first in a series, but if I remember correctly each book is a finished story, so you don't end at a cliffhanger. A pretty dark story, much about power struggles in the paranormal parts of Moscow.

My favourite German book is Remarque's Nothing new on the Western front.

Heh, all my suggestions are really, really dark. Sorry about that!

You could also check out https://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/thelist/
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:01 AM   #15
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Sounds like a bit of your journey will be on the Siberian express. Cool! Enjoy. As far as Russia goes, I'd try The Master and the Margarita By Bulakov. If you haven't read it Dr. Zhivago by Pasternik is also a good read.
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