Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

If all the idiots love it, does that mean that this is an idiotic book, or worse, a book for idiots?

Charles Bukowski is not exactly a travel writer. He is a writer, and some people have called him an existentialist writer. But he is not a travel writer. I am going to include him here anyway, simply because he moves around a lot in this novel. And because I think he is awesome. So, here’s the story: It’s the early 1940s, the world is at war in Europe and the Pacific, and Charles Bukowski is staying at home, because he is apparently considered unfit for duty. He roams about the United States (mostly Los Angeles), looking for work, getting fired, then looking for..

Karl Bushby

Karl Bushby

Who in their right mind would have thought it was possible to cross the Bering Strait on foot?

Karl Bushby is a young British paratrooper who sets out to do something special with his life – he wants to walk all the way from Southern Chile to his home in Hull, England. So he flies down to Patagonia, walks to Central America, swims through..

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

Was this guy an evil proto-colonialist, or was he rather a sort of likeable dreamer?

This might very well be one of the most interesting books I have ever read. In August 1492, Christopher Columbus sets sail in Spain, aiming at..

Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

Is this just one of those literary classics or can it really be included in a collection of travel books?

This is not a travelogue, it’s a novel. Daniel Defoe is a British writer in the early 1700s who comes across a fragmentary account of a sailor who got left on an island in the Atlantic. Daniel Defoe, looking for inspiration, takes these..

Heinz Helfgen

Heinz Helfgen

What were German readers looking for in a travel book after World War II?

Heinz Helfgen is a former journalist turned POW who returns to Germany in 1946, only to find that things aren’t exactly easy work-wise. Thus, after struggling for a few years, he decides to support his family by..

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson

Should this book be read like a grand homecoming story or like a trip abroad?

Bill Bryson, who lives in the UK, goes back to his hometown of Des Moines in the state of Iowa. He rents a car and drives around the States in two trips (one east, one west), looking for..

John Muir

John Muir

Could nature have a greater friend than this guy from the 19th century?

It is the year 1867, and the American Civil War has only been over for about two years, when young botanist John Muir decides to take a walk from his home in Indiana to Florida. He apparently wants to find out more about..

Matt Harding

Matt Harding

Could we have expected this dancing/travel book to be a bit more rich in content?

Matt Harding is a young game designer based in Australia who suddenly starts “looking for something” and picks up the delightful hobby of traveling. He lives on a tight budget and tapes himself dancing in various places around the world, and the resulting..

Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer

Has Krakauer successfully captured the spirit of youth, or is he all about romanticizing a selfish child?

Jon Krakauer writes about Christopher McCandless, a young man who ventured out into the wilderness of Alaska in the spring of 1992, stayed there by himself for four months, and eventually died due to..

Gunther Plüschow

Gunther Plüschow

Can we read about warfare as if it was just an adventure?

At the outbreak of WW1, Gunther Plüschow, a young pilot in the German air force, gets dispatched to the German colony of Qingdao (they called it „Tsingtau“ back then). He is supposed to be one of only two pilots on guard against the..

Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins

Is this book going to be any good for you even if you’re not a fan of hardcore punk?

We’re in Washington, D.C. around the year 1980, and young punk enthusiast Henry Lawrence Garfield gives himself a new last name, thus becoming Henry Rollins. His favorite band Black Flag asks him to become their new lead singer, which he accepts. They record the album „Damaged“, and it goes on to become a milestone in the world of hardcore punk. Over the next half decade, the band makes a few more records, they go through several line-up changes, grow their hair long, change their musical style and tour extensively. Their shows take them through..

John Ross Browne

John Ross Browne

Is this book only interesting to whose who care about mines?

In the mid 1800s, Irish-born American writer John Ross Browne sets out on several trips from California (a state since 1850) to the areas that would later become Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and..

Wang Yuxi

Wang Yuxi

Could this talented artists have done more with the material he had at hand?

Wang Yuxi is a young visual artist from Beijing who dreams of crossing the United States by car. Classic road trip material. He overcomes a few initial visa difficulties and gets two buddies to come along. They make..

Thomas Kohnstamm

Thomas Kohnstamm

Could we have expected more from a book that advertises itself as being gonzo?

Thomas Kohnstamm, a wall street guy in his twenties, accepts a new job offer: to write a travel guide about Brazil, for a popular guide book called The Lonely Planet. He roams around Brazil, always on a tight budget and a tight schedule, and tries to..

Fabian Sixtus Körner

Fabian Sixtus Körner

Do photos, a lot of countries and a slick design make for a good book?

It is the turn of the first decade of the 21st century, and Fabian Sixtus Körner is a young designer from Germany who wants to see the world. He hears of the German tradition of the „journeyman years“, where young men, after completing their apprenticeship in the crafts, set out to roam about the country and learn from other masters. A sort of medieval „work & travel“ if you will, a tradition that is still..

Serge Roetheli

Serge Roetheli

How can a book about a man running around the whole world be so… bad?

We’re in 1997, and Serge Roetheli has just returned from running all the way from South America to Alaska. He was accompanied by his wife on a motorcycle, and since this „American Challenge“ is now behind them, they decide to..

Nicole Roetheli

Nicole Roetheli

Is this in any way comparable to the works of Ella Maillart?

Remember Serge Roetheli, the guy who fabulously ran around the world and wrote a book about it that just wasn’t that good? Well, NR is his wife, the person who kept..

Xiao Peng

Xiao Peng

If this guy writes so well and goes to so many cool places, then just why is this book he wrote so bad?

Xiao Peng is a young Chinese white-collar worker who decides that he wants to see the world. He first travels around China, then ends up as an exchange student in the Netherlands. From there, he sets out to..

Andrew McCarthy

Andrew McCarthy

Is it possible to write a whole a book like a Roxette song, and if it is, should you read it?

Andrew McCarthy is an American actor, a recovering alcoholic, a divorced father and a dude who is about to get married again. But he’s also a restless travel writer. So when his new marriage looms at..

Gregor Sieböck

Gregor Sieböck

What’s wrong with Bono, and why do I think you should use this book to smash bugs?

Gregor Sieböck is a young idealist from Austria who walks around the world to promote environmentalism. He sets out in Austria in 2003 and makes his way to the southern tip of Portugal. (Throw in a Camino there.) Then he does..

Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac

Did this book redefine travel writing, or is it essentially just a boring stream of consciousness?

French-Canadian writer Jack Kerouac, who is based in New York City, undertakes a few road trips around the USA. Sometimes he is accompanied by friends, sometimes he stays in one place for a while, and sometimes he just..

Michael Wigge

Michael Wigge

Is this book trivial and fun, or is it just plain boring?

Michael Wigge, a young German TV-host, plans a trip covering some of Europe, the Americas and Antarctica – leaving his money at home. Thus, he has to come up with various ways to get free meals and places to stay, getting his hands on..