So much of our travels can be enjoyed through the prism of literature. Some writers are intrinsically connected to a destination--e.g., Gabriel García Márquez with northern Colombia; Thomas Hardy with Dorset, R.K. Narayan with Madras.

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Literary cruises in 'Whatever Your Pastime or Interest, There May Be A Cruise For You!'

Valtours/ Whatever hobby, pursuit or pastime you enjoy, it’s possible there’s a voyage that will let you combine it with the pleasures of cruising. From food to fashion, music to mystery, the offerings are as varied as the destinations which are included on ship itineraries. An Internet search for cruises that interest you may turn up one or more alternatives. While cruise lines are gradually beginning to return to normal services, it’s necessary to check what sailings are being…

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Joan Margarit, latest laureate of Spain's top literary prize

  Each year since 1976, Spain's Ministry of Culture has awarded the country's equivalent of the Booker or the Nobel Prize for Literature to one of the world's most distinguished living Spanish-language writers. Past laureates have included not just Spain's poet Rafael Alberti as well as novelists Camilo José Cela, Miguel Delibes, Juan Goytisolo, and Ana María Matute, but also legendary Latin American luminaries such as Argentine Jorge Luis Borges; Cuban Alejo Carpentier; Mexicans Carlos…

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Reading (and eating) your way through Puerto Rico

  Many are the guidebooks that have been written about this tropical Latin Caribbean island, but few by Puerto Ricans themselves, and even fewer which focus on its delicious and sometimes exotic cuisine, fed by fresh local ingredients. Three years ago, now 40-year-old writer (and U.S. Marine reservist!) Jessica van Dop DeJesús (the "van Dop" courtesy of her Dutch husband) set out to remedy that by spending a month touring her native island with skilled photographer friend Ítalo Morales to…

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In the footsteps of Chile's great poet Pablo Neruda

If Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto (above with 1960s president Salvador Allende) were alive today - well, he'd be 113, but anyway he'd also be plenty bemused by the fact that so many visitors journey to Chile to experience the places he once inhabited and wrote of. This long, skinny country in South America's Southern Cone is packed with amazing attractions - vibrant cities; varied landscapes from Alpine to desert; winelands and mountains; and lovely beaches along an enormous coastline…

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  • When it comes to literature, one of Spain's top destinations is the ancient (dating back to Roman Hispania) city of Alcalá de Henares, a half-hour drive and 45-minute train ride from Madrid. In addition to its old quarter being a UNESCO World Heritage Site - mostly because of its august university, founded in the late 15th century - it's also the hometown of Spain's Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes, and you can visit his family home on the main street. Another literary distinction is the Corral de Comedias, one of Europe's oldest preserved theater (built in 1602 as an open-air corral, roofed in 1769, and still staging classic works of Spain's literary golden age of the 16th century after a resoration. Read more about the UNESCO landmarking at
    University and Historic Precinct of Alcalá de Henares
    Founded by Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros in the early 16th century, Alcalá de Henares was the world's first planned university city. It was the origin…
  • 9008852889?profile=originalIf you are near Chicago, take a visit to Oak Park, the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway. The home and the Hemingway museum are just a block apart!

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  • Reading the poet Simon Armitage's "Walking Home: Travels with a Troubadour on the Pennine Way," his walk along the 296-mile Pennine Way from the Scottish border to Edale, Derbyshire. He put together 20 poetry readings along the route to fund the trip, to which the attendance to some was heartening, to others paltry amid the usual British weather. A very nice read that mixes real literature -- poetry no less -- with a good ol' walk through some of the most beautiful, often forlorn and empty, countryside of Europe.

    The entire British footpath system -- one of our pride and joys -- was started in 1936 in Edale when a group of ramblers purposely trespassed on land in order to force the reopening of what was always a public right of way, and their actions resulted in the opening of 10,000s of such miles and footpaths. 

  • I have not read the Sherry books. Thank you for the recommendation of England Made Me. You are the first person I've "known" who has actually read it, and now I hope to read it. 

  • Just finished a novel by the superlative Graham Greene that I did not know existed, a very early novel called England Made Me set in Stockholm, Sweden. We know of Greene living and writing (and he always got to these places before the proverbial s**t hit the fan) in Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, Liberia, Mexico, etc., but not pedestrian Sweden. It's a wonderful read, published three years before his breakthrough Brighton Rock, and full of Greene's brilliant summations of character. How about this for one: "...their faces old and unlined and pencilled in brilliant colours, like the illumination of an ancient missal carefully preserved under glass with the same page always turned to visitors." The novel also sometimes goes by the name The Shipwrecked. The novel is dedicated "To Vivien with Ten Years' Love 1925-1935"...and if anyone has read Norman Sherry's first two volumes of his Life of Graham Greene they will know of the pain behind those few words. I cannot bring myself to finish the third volume as it was universally panned for being more about Sherry than it was about Greene. Anyone read that particular volume?


  • Aha. That's key.

  • ...and do not forget travelling, too, Ed. The secret is, perhaps, that I often forget to take my keys with me, but never a book.

  • Good question, Terry, and London Orbital sounds like another Baker recommendation that I'm putting on my to-read list. How you manage to find time to read so much (and run, and have a pint, etc.) continues to astonish and humiliate me. 


  • Picked up again Iain Sinclair's London Orbital, and it is a wonderful read into the corners of London and the tight corners of almost forgotten history -- and how that glorious history is so often squashed beneath developers' brochure copywriting crimes. It reminds me a great deal of another fantastic read -- W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, about a walk in Suffolk, England. Sebald was touted for the Nobel Prize for Literature before a car crash ended his life. Why is it that so many writers get hit by vehicles -- Albert Camus, Nathaneal West, Italo Svevo (the ones coming immediately to mind). Walking around with their heads in the air?

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