October 5, 2008

What I'm Reading

For a while now I've wanted to share the list of books that have been keeping me entertained on the road. Since most of you read (I think), you can hopefully appreciate how a good book makes all the difference when you're traveling.

After one year on the road (It'll be a year on Oct. 11th), here is a list of the books that were good enough to mention:

  1. Kite Runner - By Khaled Hosseini. I'm sure you all know this book and what it's about, so I'll spare you the storyline. It is however a must read if you haven't already.

  2. A Short History of Nearly Everything - By Bill Bryson. An amazing book that breaks down the history of science, geology, astronomy, and human evolution for the general public. It's written in narrative form with funny anecdotes. A good read if you want to stimulate the brain.

  3. Finding George Orwell in Burma - By Emma Larkin. This book shook me up. Emma Larkin goes to Myanmar/Burma to retrace the steps of George Orwell who was stationed there as a British foreign police officer in his youth. She unravels the current history of Myanmar and compares the ongoing situation to the Totalitarian regimes in Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984. I was so unaware of what has been going on in Myanmar until now. There is no way that I will support the country's regime with my tourist dollars now. My friend Erin gave me this book, so thanks Erin.

  4. Eat, Pray, Love - By Elizabeth Gilbert. A true story about the author's tough break up with her husband, and the road to recovery. It's kind of a chick book, but I enjoyed it. I spoke to some other people and the consensus seems to be that you either love it or hate it. The book is split into three parts: Italy (Eat), India (Pray), and Bali (Love). It's kind of ironic that I'm in Bali at the moment, and can seriously relate to the issues in the book. Note: Does anyone else think Julie looks a little like the author? Strange. There is also a movie version in progress starring Julia Roberts. Can't wait.

  5. The 4 Hour Work Week - By Timothy Ferris. Wow, by far the most inspirational book I've read this year. My description won't do it justice, but Tim tackles the issues of the overworked, and inefficient employee/employer scenario. If you're a small business owner, or an employee/employer for a company, this will help to free more of your time, so you can enjoy it with kids, family, friends, or touring around the world. Go Tim, and thanks to Noah Kagan and Kareem Mayan for suggesting it.

  6. Down Under or In a Sunburned Country - By Bill Bryson. I read this book about Australia, while I was in Australia, and you know, it helped to put the Aussie mentality in perspective. A recommended read for anyone about to visit Australia, or if you're an armchair traveler who might never get there.

  7. Long Way Round - By Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. A fantastic read for any traveler or bike enthusiast. The book is about their 20,000 kilometer motorcycle trip around the world, starting in London and finishing in New York. They brought a film crew along for the ride, so you might have heard about this or seen the mini series on TV.

  8. The Places In Between - By Rory Stewart. Rory walked across Afghanistan shortly after the US invasion in 2002. He followed the route of the ancient emperor Babur, through difficult terrain in the winter, and survived by the kindness of villagers. It took me a little while to get into this book, but then I was hooked.

Two other books that I'd like to recommend were read before my trip, but they are so good, I wanted to list them.

The first is my favorite of all time, A Fine Balance - By Rohinton Mistry. This book takes place in India in the 1970's, and follows the lives of three different people. There are essentially three stories within the book, but I don't want to give too much away. I read it before it became listed on Opera's Book Club, but that endorsement should be enough.

The second book was inspirational for this trip around the world. It is Adventure Capitalist - by Jim Rogers. Don't let the title throw you off. It's a story about Jim and his wife Paige, who traveled around the world for 3 years in a specially built car, that took them to some far off destinations. It's not only travel writing, as Jim talks about politics and the global economy. It really is an interesting and inspirational read.

If you have any book suggestions, please let me know. I'm dying for another good book.

2 comments:

kareem said...

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is amazing, and his latest (something about Marco Polo) is supposed to be fantastic too.

Alex Portilla said...

Hey Jared, If you liked the Kite Runner you should read A Thousand Splendid Suns also by Khaled Hosseini.