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Literary Travel Writing

March 13, 2008 | 12:00 a.m. CST

The Innocents Aboard

- Mark Twain

In his most humorous travel narrative, Twain describes religious sites such as the Sea of Galilee with his trademark irreverence: “And when we come to speak of beauty, this sea is no more to be compared to Tahoe than a meridian of longitude is to a rainbow.” Twain’s trip makes for a very different experience of Southern Europe and the Holy Land.

Lost in My Own Backyard

- Tim Cahill

Cahill is finding his way around the country’s first national park from his own back door: He lives just 50 miles outside the boundaries of Yellowstone. This hilarious book informs new and experienced travelers about a number of hikes that are well off the beaten path and promises a distinct experience from the hundreds of thousands of other hikers who visit the park each year.

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In A Sunburned Country

- Bill Bryson

Bryson’s travels take him around Australia to well-known cities as well as little-known hideouts. Introducing readers to the lively Aussies, their colorful history and the challenging geography that keeps the continent so removed, Bryson writes, “Every cultural instinct and previous experience tells you that when you travel this far you should find, at the very least, people on camels.”

TOP TRAVEL GUIDEBOOKS

Guide for the Armchair Traveler

Travel + Leisure City Guides

For those who aren’t worried about spending retirement funds but still want a great value, these guides lay out must-see sites and recommend splurges and bargains. They suggest where to find the best blueberry buckwheat pancakes in D.C. and the swankiest hair salon in Vegas. Each book also includes features such as easy day trips from Santa Fe or spotlights on artsy neighborhood gems that the crowds of tourists don’t know about.

Guide for the HIPSTER Traveler

Lonely Planet Encounter Guides

For the connected, inspired and adventurous, these guides are organized by neighborhoods so travelers can get to know their destination personally. The itineraries explain how to properly down a beer in the Jerusalem Tavern in London and suggest the best spot to swoon beneath the sunset of the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Lonely Planet evolved from backpacker voyages, so they have a youthful appeal but enough background information to be trusted.

Guide for the BACKPACKER on a budget

MTV Guides

Ever-dependable Frommer’s partnered with MTV to create a guide that highlights the inside scoop on the top destinations for young travelers. Want to scuba dive off the Croatian coast or pursue the barbecue during a road trip from Austin to Charlotte? These guides offer alternative accommodations and give travelers the
know-how to find cheap eats, great clubs and bars, world-class museums and offbeat attractions.

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