1) Alice In Wonderland By Lewis Carroll: I have picked this book because no book has spoken to me so profoundly in my imaginary travels. Alice ate a mushroom and grew three times her size, there is a queen in the book decapitating people who do not obey, Alice falls into a rabbit hole and attends a tea party conducted by a mad hatter and a rabbit. No book has taken me on an amazing touristic journey like Alice in wonderland. I travelled through colourful places and encountered ultra colourful characters. This is a very special book after my heart. Every tourist and aspiring tourist should read this book which is a collector’s item, for dreams, travel and exciting adventure.
2) Vroom With a View: This is a book by Peter Moore. It is a trip on a ’61 vespa nicknamed Sophia from Milan to Rome. Described on the blurb by Mario Batali as a “ brilliant love letter to Italy”, I resonate with this book because I travelled to Italy ahead of my wedding. The Italians are very much like Nigerians with great interest for foreigners, food, loud laughter and enjoyment. Here is a book that takes you through that country with great aplomb.
3) Any Language Dictionary: For wherever you are going. Language dictionaries are so hilarious. You end up being the butt of jokes of the natives. This is because you really have to string words together that in the real language as it is spoken do not work together. There are determiners and pronouns and adjectives and the grammar of the language. In French, nouns have gender, they are either masculine or feminine. So when you see the French dictionary and fail to observe all the grammatical end points, it sounds utterly ridiculous to the French like broken French. The meaning will be there but it would be inelegant but therein lies the tourist flavour. I have been known to arrive in a country with knowledge of three sentences to include “I want to go to the airport now.” “I am hungry.” or “I am sick.” And yet I am upbeat, you would think I have lived in that country forever. The first to interest myself in a reception chat, the first to know where the Nigerian embassy is, the first to check out the nearest restaurants, all of these, important firsts. So the dictionary is good for broken languages, making new friends and finding your way. Its also good for laughter for backslapping and a good measure of mirth.
4) Any Book on Cruises: I love to take a cruise when I can afford it. The cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki on a twelve floor ship is one of my favourites on the Baltic Sea. There are designer shops, there are restaurants to die for and a deck of young old, tall short and a view only God can give. The calmness of the sea gives one an incredible relaxation. Stretches of stretches of endless azure water leaves one in complete awe. Then there are the discos on the 12th floor different live bands on different floors and a children’s room for the kids in your life. This is a shout out to my friend Dr. Onyata Adama Ajonye who has held me by the hand and escorted me through the many cruises I have enjoyed on the Baltic Sea. Get a book about cruises. Don’t be afraid. The ships are like a huge hotel with well apportioned rooms and complete relaxation. The last cruise I took, they were playing the music score for the movie Titanic-(the cruise ship that sank many years ago) Cheeky! There were 70 year old couples dancing on the 12th floor at the disco. I love being a tourist. NB: Please do your due diligence regarding the cruise ship you use. It is always safer to take a well-respected, well recommended one, it maybe a little more expensive but worth the safety. Oh I forgot to mention, I lounged in Helsinki at our stop before the turn around. It’s a five hour stop in the charming old fashioned capital of Finland.
5) The Sex Lives of Cannibals, J. Maarten Troost: We are decent but we are not prudish so I dive into the fifth and funniest of the travel books I present for touristic pleasure. This book is endorsed by an important book purchaser.
”Looking for a writer who can capture the hilarity of travel like the beloved Bill Bryson? J. Maarten Troost’s ‘The Sex Lives of Cannibals’ is a comic classic of a travelogue that will completely change the way you look at the idyllic South Pacific.”
— Shawn Donley, new book purchasing supervisor at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, America’s largest independent bookstore
And here is another quote that tells you about it from the book itself.
“It’s entirely possible that somewhere on planet Earth there exists a cuisine more unpalatable than that found in Kiribati. I accept this possibility like I accept the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. I have never encountered it. I cannot imagine it. I simply accept that there is a statistical possibility of its existence.”
I have always come to the conclusion that travel writers are mad in their dissection of wherever they have been. But I believe in their lunacy lies the greatest gift of all, the love of travel, adventure, detail and history. I am working on a travel book. Soon enough.