I think we may have had a similar discussion on O.F. (Old Frommer's) but I'd like to begin again for the sake of N.F. so we'll have it here for reference.
During the years I was gearing up for my big travels and still working in the library I ran across several itmes that in some cases gave me ideas for places of which I wasn't aware and in others confirmed for me that the places I'd thought about were, indeed ones I should visit. Here are a few that fall into these categories.
- 'The River's Tale: A Year on the Mekong', by Edward A. Gargon. I enjoyed the entire book but when a saw a small photo of a neighborhood in Lijiang I was hooked. I was planning a RTW trip and Yunnan Province in China was added to list of places to stop and spend a month. It was of a woman walking alongside a small canal with a stone footbridge. I go back to the book and look at it from time to time to remind myself.
- 'Stranger in the Forest', by Eric Hansen. I was planning a trip to Borneo in a larger Asia trip and saw this one on a shelf in the library. My first thought was, oh, one of those "guy" books but decided to read it anyway, maybe glean something from it. It could have not been more wrong. It's an adventure tale of the "truth is stranger than fiction" variety written by a young man from my neck of the woods and I couldn't put it down.
- 'A Walk Across France', by Miles Morland and 'Long Walks in France', by Adam Nicolson. I'd already begun my rambles in the UK when I picked these up. The result was a walk through the Loire Valley, different than walking in England as you'd expect with it being French, but a fantastic experience.
- Last but not least for this post, one of my all time favorite books and the one that inspired my travels in Morocco, 'The Sheltering Sky', by Paul Bowles. I knew as soon as I'd begun that I wouldn't be able to resist Morocco and I don't really know which came first, the book or my desire for the country. It was one of those visceral cravings, like a feeling of going home and unlike any other I've ever felt. Someone told me that Paul Bowles loved to receive visitors in his Tangier home but I could never bring myself to intrude. It's too late now, of course, but reading his work and this one in particular led to my first trip there in 1998.