Our fascination with cultures around the world is captured in the hundreds of thousand of books detailing life outside of “home.” In fact, travel has been a popular genre long before it was even considered one. The Greek writer and historian Herodotus, detailed magical accounts of Egypt in his work The Histories, John Keats and Lord Byron offered accounts of a romanticized Italy in the 19th century, Hemingway glamorized the expatriate lifestyle through his iconic work and historian, Philip Mansel captured a definitive history of Istanbul and details of empires past in his book Constantinople: A City of World’s Desire.
These literary works are an incredibly small, yet important sampling, of world travel in literature. Through books, authors (and poets) are able to capture cultural differences, landscapes and experiences that people wouldn’t even dream existed. Books transport us to another place and time. Books are a way to armchair travel.
So where do you even start when it comes to picking your next travel book? With 196 sovereign countries, the task can be incredibly daunting and time consuming. You may not have a criteria for choosing a title, or perhaps you do. Regardless, when you’re ready to travel by book, this interactive literary map created by CarRentals is an exciting and inspiring place to scope out travel reads from around the world. Simply pick a country on the map and you’ll have a few recommendations pop up for you. You can even save them for later or share with a friend by simply downloading the list of books.
This interactive (of 402 books) is comprised of national favourites, modern travel stories, historical accounts, wildcards and even reads that seem at odds with the society — such as works by exiled writers. Whatever you choose, these narratives will challenge your preconceptions in a number of ways. Enjoy interacting with this literary tool and let the words of travelers and authors past permeate your life and adventures.
Here are some of the nations and books featured within the map: