Travel & Holiday Books

Travel Writing
When it comes to travel writing, the literature can narrate the writer’s experiences that occur during those travels, the people the writer meets and the ambience and aesthetic appeals the writer may be experiencing – these all go into a travelogue. It is fair to say that a travelogue tends to be more directly allied with literature about al fresco events than about proceedings taking place within the boundaries of buildings of one sort or another.

A prime example of this kind of travel writing is ‘Just a Little Run Around the World’ by Rosie Swale Pope. Adventure World Magazine records that, during her travels, Rosie’s trip took her five years during which she encountered three packs of wolves, and wore out 53 pairs of shoes – to paraphrase the sub-title of her book: “….5 Years, 3 Packs of Wolves and 53 Pairs of Shoes”. During this sojourn she also accumulated 29 proposals of marriage, had a brush with frost bite and got hit by a bus! She also got chased by a man in his birthday suit, brandishing a gun! Why did she undertake this mammoth odyssey? You’ll have to read the book to find out – turn to our Travel and Holiday section where you will find the story of this woman’s amazing travels listed, along with a diversity of other titles.

Would you Put this into the Travel Category?
As with any other genre, the travel and holiday category does not stand alone, but rubs shoulders with essay writing such as a writer’s observations on the peoples of a specific nation. An excellent example of this sub-genre would be Kate Fox’ “Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour”. It is an intensely amusing observation of the detailed behaviour that is inherently English.

Personally, I dislike this particular treatise because I find it over-generalised with references to the English when it might be better to refer to those people as British. Kate Fox focuses on her observances of English behaviour and practices which, admittedly are often totally alien to people from other nationalities: however, her treatise would have been more balanced had she entitled her book “Watching the British: The Hidden Rules of Regional British”. Why have I made this comment? If you are Welsh, Scottish or Irish, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

Countries and Regions
Foreigners tend to make this over-generalisation that, if they say ‘English’ it’s a catch-all word covering with whole of the British Isles. Truth be told, nothing could be further from the truth: Kate Fox fails to make any distinction between the individual identities of the countries and regions that make up the British Isles – all of which have distinct and regional differentiations that have absolutely no reference to the comments Kate Fox is making in her book. Added to that, lumping English people together when the people of Cornwall, as a prime example, consider themselves completely unique to the rest of England – as do the people in the North of England – is a vast over-generalisation and could well continue to perpetuate the myth amongst foreigners that England constitutes the whole of the United Kingdom when, in fact, the English are just one nationality amongst their regional cousins, all of whom are governed separately and independently for the most part and whose peoples are totally and completely different to the ideal and popular perception of the English.

Guidebook Series
Volume sales of travel and holiday guidebooks in general have seen a slump of 4.8% in 2008 according to Stanfords, a bookshop in London. Those guidebooks that specialise in advising visitors where to eat and drink and where to stay has really taken a knock: this sub-genre has lost 20.9% in sales value over the past year. It would be interesting to hear what readers of this site think – what do you attribute to this loss in sales of the ubiquitous guidebook series? Write in and tell us what you think.

One of my all-time favourites when it comes to travel and holiday writing, is Karl Pilkington. At present he is a little-known author, having only written two books – both of which you will find amongst our travel and holiday pages, under the section marked ‘General AAS’. While both his books make excellent reading, the book I am specifically referring to here is “Happyslapped by a Jellyfish”. The title says it all! Pilkington describes this book as a travel guide although, equably it could fit just as easily into the autobiography genre – as well as various other sub-genres as well. The book is humorous and witty – and I am not going to say any more about it. If you want to read it [and you should] you need to pop it into your basket and head for our checkout. This book is remarkably cheaper here than in many other places so, apart from being a good read that will make you laugh, it is good value as well.

Atlases & Maps
Satnav sales may be increasing but, is there a corresponding plummet in the sales of atlases and maps? Overall, figures taken from Nielsen BookScan reveal that the travel genre overall saw a fall of 8.7% on the total sales from the previous year. The year 2008 saw sales of atlases and maps down by 19.6% in value – a factor that retailers are attributing to internet route-finders and satellite navigation increasing in popularity.

Tourism & Leisure Studies
One thing you probably wouldn’t think of in relation to tourism and leisure is the impact of politics associated with leisure pursuits. This is a factor focused on by the Nijmegen University in The Netherlands, with their research centred on the close proximity between tourism and leisure, geographic perspectives and the impacts on these pursuits by social and planning activities. Their studies centre on the link between man and his environment and between concepts of space-time together with supply and demand, all of which culminates in burgeoning political interest in tourism and leisure as an industry.

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