• Posted:Thursday, August 6, 2009
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The best books to take on a Europe-bound backpacking holiday

Posted in: Travel
The best books to take on a Europe-bound backpacking holiday
Part of planning a backpacking trip is to remember that downtime is a strict necessity. You can't always be out and about and you probably won't always want to. When money's tight, the best entertainment for the knackered backpacker has to be a good book. Praise be, then, for the Times and its list of Europe-related literary fare, provided by Andrew Steed - manager at Stanfords, a bookshop that caters for all kinds of travelling needs.

For trips to Spain, Mr Steed recommends several novels from the Navarro family's tale of action and adventure in Dave Boling's Guernica to the prize-winning classic Nada by Carmen Laforet, a prime example of 20th century Spanish writing - and penned by a 23-year-old no less.

If Italy's a-calling and you're into architecture there can be no better book - as Mr Steed says, "ideal for the liquid city" - than Sally Vickers' Miss Garnet's Angel, set in modern-day Venice. He also suggests Steal You Away by Niccolo Ammaniti, which sees a somewhat older Casanova doing his worst in a sleepy little town.

Or perhaps you're off to Portugal, in which case Mr Steed has offered up Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago - one of the most important texts in Portuguese literature - and The Tragedy of the Street of Flowers by Eca de Queiros who, apparently, has been compared to Balzac, Dickens and Tolstoy.

Phew! Quite a lot of reading to be getting on with there. It should do you for the next few holidays at any rate. Enjoy.

On a completely unrelated, yet nonetheless important, topic - I had a quick perusal of the Stanfords website and found something all backpackers should like. The unisex pocket toilet - bought for relatively little money - will be your friend for life.ADNFCR-2435-ID-19300522-ADNFCR
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