top of page

AAR Must Read

There are books out there that can make your travels richer and more rewarding: 


The Innocents Abroad or The New Pilgrims' Progress (by Mark Twain)

• The OG of travelogues by the greatest humorist ever. Does it get more AAR than that? In 1867 Mark Twain took a cruise to visit the Holy Land via the Azores, Gibraltar, France, Italy, Constantinople, the Black Sea, and various other stopovers. He chronicled his adventures with impeccable prose that is equal parts cynicism, common sense, and boredom. The best part is he got someone else to pay for it all! Not suitable for devout Catholics.    

Kitchen Confidential (by Anthony Bourdain)

• It's not a travelogue but will help you better understand the greatest traveler of our times.

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door: The Travel Skills Handbook (by Rick Steves)

• I read this book in the head on a submarine while on my first trip to Europe in 1989. Rick Steves is the anti-Twain, as his prose is filled with tips, details, and useful phrases that are completely devoid of sarcasm. 

Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive (by Les Stroud)

• Who knows, maybe during your travels you'll get lost and need to make snowshoes out of car seat insulation, eat salmon carrion, or start a fire with a fire piston. This book is the real deal, none of that Bear Grylls bullshit.  

Around the World in 80 Days (by Jules Verne)

• The first travel book I ever read (and possibly the best). Mostly read with a flashlight, under the covers after I was supposed to have gone to bed.

Any book that takes place in the area you plan to visit. I don't mean Fodors, Frommers, or Off the Beaten Path travel guides, but books like . . . 

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (by John Berendt)

• You will need to visit Savannah (trust me on this). And when you do you will need to read this book. The greatest must read before visiting a city book.  

    - send me an email and I'll forward you a pdf of the book. 

Under an English Heaven (by Donald E. Westlake)

• There is a great trivia question "Name the only two countries that declared independence from Great Britain/United Kingdom?". With the answer generally given as the United States and Rhodesia. This is disputable, as Anguilla declared its independence on 12 July 1967. If you will be visiting Anguilla this book which tells the story of Anguillan "independence" could be quite interesting. The prolific author was known for writing works of crime fiction, including more than a few that have been turned into classic movies: Point Blank, The Hot Rock, The Outfit, and The Grifters

Gone Bamboo (by Anthony Bourdain)

• Before he wrote Kitchen Confidential (see above), the chef, author, and world traveler tried his hand at crime fiction. This, his second effort is about an ex-Israeli special operations assassin who enters Witness Protection and is sent to live in Saint Martin where he runs into a former target.  

bottom of page