Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Backpacker Classics

Bookride compiles a list of "Backpacker Classics": those books which find their way to the top of the pack, where they can be quickly retrieved for the purposes of edification, staving off boredom and impressing that cute blond wearing glasses and woolen socks (which are almost certainly hiding the fact that she left her razor stateside).

My backpack is over 20 years old, and nearly as good as new because I didn't use it all that often. However, at one time or another it did provide shelter for Gravity's Rainbow, Perfume and Lonesome Dove. That's about it, really.

My wife, on the other hand, continues to load her backpack for exotic locales. The works of Tony Parsons have kept her pleasant company, and for backpackers heading out to Africa she recommends Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo (A).

And your backpack?

Via Boing-Boing.


Su said...

My backpack right now has a lot of bulky crocheting in it, but I wouldn't even go around the corner without a book in there somewhere. Right now it's A Long Time Coming by Evan Thomas, about the 2008 election and the behind-the-scenes happenings; and Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I'm just starting.

Joel said...

I was pleasantly surprised at how many of those books I have actually read (albiet not necessarily on a back-packing trip). I was expecting it would be a bit out of my league, but those are all standard classics aren't they?

DarkoV said...

Any backpack I'd actually used for long-term travelling have long since been given away or fallen apart. But, if memory acurately recalls, some of the books tucked in, and not on Bookride's or your list, included Hunter Thompson's The Great Shark Hunt (in hardcover, no less...what an idiot), Tom Robbins' Another Roadside Attraction, and Wodehouse's The World of Mr. Mulliner (a great pick-me-up when you were stuck in the sticks at a train depot with only one train-a-day pulling in).

Whisky Prajer said...

Su - in the early years of our marriage my wife would kid me over the way I packed the overnight bag: books were my first priority, even when reading time was an unlikelihood. These days I just take whatever I've got on the go beside the bed. It sounds to me like JFS has become something of a current backpacker standard.

Joel - standard classics, indeed. And, I'm guessing, given your locale these are likely to be the titles most available, too.

DV - I see it took about 20 comments before a Tom Robbins book was introduced to the original post. I would have thought TR was an obvious choice, particularly Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.

DarkoV said...

While I enjoyed the large-thumb book (especially since it is so travel oriented), it's "Another Roadside Attraction" that still held an edge for me after the first reading.

Bruce Chatwin's "Songlines" or his "What Am I Doing Here?" always comes up with friends as a great travel companion and I feel guilt's juggernaut rolling ever closer onto I'd better read it. And soon. Perhaps I'll go in the backyard and sit on the quickly disappearing grass and imagine I'm on a trip and read the darn thing.

Whisky Prajer said...

Now that you mention it, I haven't read Chatwin since I last donned a backpack. I never finished either of those books, though I remember enjoying the early part of Songlines. Once he moved strictly to aboriginal culture, though, I slowly lost interest. But let me know if the back yard works for you.