The best humorous travel books that also deliver great stories

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I only read humour, and it was my passion to write humour. When I was lucky enough to find myself travelling the world and working on cargo ships, the source material presented itself, and I took my chance. Publishers were wary of the crudity inherent to a sailor’s life, so I present myself as if P.G. Wodehouse himself had gone to sea. I am the butt of all the pranks, and horrified by what I see around me. So I was able to write a book that addresses the truth of a shipboard life… but leaves the suggested extremes to your imagination!

I wrote...

Ocean Boulevard

By David Baboulene,

Book cover of Ocean Boulevard

What is my book about?

Sixteen-year-old David Baboulene runs away to sea in a cloud of romantic dust for the first of his shipboard adventures. A journey that takes him across the world and back on a cargo ship, and up the road with a bunch of unruly sailors looking for fun in some of the world's more iconic locations. By the time David makes his triumphant return to Liverpool, the real journey in this strangely moving tale has taken him all the way… from a boy to a man.

"Interesting, raucous, and very, very funny. When it came to the end it was like saying goodbye to an old friend." Talk Sport. "A seriously funny man with a great gift for story-telling. One of the funniest books I have ever read." City Talk.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog

David Baboulene Why did I love this book?

Growing up, I only read humour.

I just love to laugh and when a book has you making the pictures in mind for yourself and laughing out loud, there really is nothing better. And Three Men in a Boat sends me directly to the floor every time I read it, and I will never stop reading it as long as I live.

It is rightly a classic and still in the shops nearly 140 years later. My book is a homage to Three Men in a Boat. I followed the style and form, and acknowledge Jerome K Jerome in my front-matter.

My book is really 15 Men in a Boat, and if it is even 10% as good as Three, I will rightly be very proud of myself (if not my mathematics).

By Jerome K. Jerome,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Three Men in a Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a two-week boating holiday on the Thames from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford and back to Kingston. The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it…

Book cover of Vintage Wodehouse

David Baboulene Why did I love this book?

Wodehouse inspired me to become a writer.

I devoured all of his 108 books. Then one day. Long after his death, they brought out a new Wodehouse! I couldn’t believe it! I rushed out to buy The Pothunters – a collection of works, written before he got published. And to my utter devastation… it was rubbish. 

And then I realised… Once upon a time he was young. And not very good. It was actually a little dismissive to call him a ‘genius’, as if it was effortless for him. He had to work really hard to get where he did, and guess what… I was rubbish.

In that moment, I realised that maybe if I worked hard, maybe I could get published… And my writer’s life began from there.

By P. G. Wodehouse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vintage Wodehouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A really entertaining selection of some of Wodehouse's best pieces.

Book cover of Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe

David Baboulene Why did I love this book?

I met Bill Bryson once, and we subsequently exchanged a few letters.

‘Knowing him’ gave an extra dimension to his writing and humour, because he’s acerbic with the pen and yet so gentle and shy as a person.

When we met, he was giving a talk on the importance of hedgerows in our ‘Green and Pleasant Land’, and he has always inspired me to appreciate the privilege of being British (He is American).

Sometimes it can be hard to remember..! One thing is for sure: British humour is unique, and I will never fail to appreciate that. Neither Here Nor There was the first Bryson I read, but you could pick any of his travel works.

He’s got such a wonderful style and humour, you can’t really go wrong.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Neither Here Nor There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bill Bryson's first travel book, The Lost Continent, was unanimously acclaimed as one of the funniest books in years. In Neither Here nor There he brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.

Whether braving the homicidal motorists of Paris, being robbed by gypsies in Florence, attempting not to order tripe and…

Book cover of Round Ireland with a Fridge

David Baboulene Why did I love this book?

I chose this book because, well, it’s really funny!

Tony Hawks carries a fridge around Ireland for charity and becomes infamous for it on the way round. His style and humour are hugely engaging, and Ireland is so full of character, that by the end of it, I felt as if I had taken every step with him.

I feel as if I have a memory of walking around Ireland with a fridge as if I did it. That is a sign of very good writing! 

By Tony Hawks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Round Ireland with a Fridge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whilst in Ireland for an International Song Competition, Tony Hawks was amazed to see a hitch-hiker, trying to thumb a lift, but with a fridge. This seemed amazingly optimistic - his Irish friends, however thought nothing of it at all. 'I had clearly arrived in a country', writes Tony, 'where the qualifications for 'eccentric' involved a great deal more than that to which I had become used'. Two years pass but the fridge incident haunts our author. Until one night, heavy with drink, he finds himself arguing about Ireland with a friend. It is, he insists, a 'magical place', so…

Book cover of Unreliable Memoirs

David Baboulene Why did I love this book?

Clive James is one of those writers whose voice you hear as he writes.

His journey from childhood in Sydney to adulthood at Oxford University in England is beautifully written and so very funny. The entire trilogy is good, but this first one – it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.

And if you have heard him speak, his dry, clever wit, and his ability to pick precisely the right word rides through and adds a lovely Australian spark to it all. A brilliant work. 

By Clive James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Unreliable Memoirs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before James Frey famously fabricated his memoir, Clive James wrote a refreshingly candid book that made no claims to be accurate, precise, or entirely truthful, only to entertain. In an exercise of literary exorcism, James set out to put his childhood in Australia behind him by rendering it as part novel, part memoir. Now, nearly thirty years after it first came out in England, Unreliable Memoirs is again available to American readers and sure to attract a whole new generation that has, through his essays and poetry, come to love James's inimitable voice.

You might also like...

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku at summer’s end. But Rafi and Roxana grow too fond of each other to let go easily, and worse still, they soon become enmeshed in a much larger storm of prejudice and violence between fae and humans.

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

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