books of the week
Sunday 16 November 1997
This picture-packed, easy-to-read stocking filler, is Ms Lumley's account of her journey to Bhutan in her grandparents' footsteps. Sleeping in a tent and travelling by foot and pack pony, she visits Buddhist monasteries and villages like Wangdi-Phodrang, making friends with everyone she meets. However, having heard how she cheated on her Girl Friday programme, I'm not as ready to believe she really used earth latrines and washed her own clothes in icy streams along the way. It's bound to be a best-seller.
Travellers' Tales from Heaven and Hell (Travellers' Eye, pounds 6.99) by Dan Hiscocks (ed.).
There isn't a rotten apple in this barrel of laughs and sighs. Even the story titles, such as Five Go Mad in Paignton and Niet Way Out, raise a smile. My favourites include the nightmare story of a manic Egyptian doctor in the next seat on a long flight. Some stories seem just too good to be true. But I blame Joanna Lumley for my all my irrational cynicism.
The Travellers' Guide to Mars (Cadogan, pounds 4.99) by Michael Pauls & Dana Facaros.
This guide to the red planet is a marriage of scientific facts on climate and geography with tongue-in-cheek humour, such as how much it costs to get there ($3bn strapped to a Viking 2 space probe). I'm not sure to whom this book would appeal, but if you fancy a look, buy it in a discount book store for 20p in six months.
Russia & Central Asia by Road (Bradt, pounds 12.95) by Hazel Barker.
This guidebook can take you from Vyborg, in Finland, to Vladivostok, on the Manchurian Plain by 4WD, motorbike or bicycle. The planning section has lots of good advice on what to take, although the rest of the book is a different kettle of ribah (fish). For example, "What to see in Moscow" is covered in half a page; and the fact that "Russian bread is generally very good," isn't going to help when you're starving on the steppes! While the lack of information may provide a pioneering flavour, I'm not sure I'd trust the book to give me the most out of such a journey.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
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