I love lists. Top 10 lists of the world’s best beaches; the best 100 movies of all time; New York City’s top 25 restaurants. I like running my way through these lists and seeing how many I can check off. So I was excited to see Conde Nast Traveler’s list of The 69 Greatest Fiction Travel Books of All Time. An avid reader, I stretched my fingers, preparing to count off at least half the books and eager to see which ones I might want to read in future. Turns out, I’ve only read six out of the 69. Yikes! I was pleased to see that one of my all-time favourites, Crime and Punishment, had made the cut but the vast majority I’d either never heard of or had just never gotten around to reading. Looks like I have some catching up to do! But what exactly is a fiction travel book? Author Boris Kachka says this: “It’s a book in which a place is as important a character as the protagonist; it’s a book so informed by the writer’s culture that it’s impossible to read it without uncovering the life of the author behind it; it’s a book that has shaped the way we see a certain place; it’s a book whose events and characters could be set nowhere else.”
OK, ready to see the list? Here it is. I’ve gotta go. I’ve got some reading to do.