The best light reads for long-haul travel

Bruce Spydar Author Of Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Awakening Down Under
By Bruce Spydar

Who am I?

As an independent traveller, and throughout a career supporting international nature conservation, I’ve been fortunate to see many far-flung places of the world. Over the years, technology (eg. smartphones, internet, social media) has radically changed the way we travel, and indeed our expectations. Nowadays we want instant access, instant answers, instant results; we hate waiting for anything. However, long-haul travel still demands us to wait... in airport lounges, at train stations, bus stops, and onboard our transport while we endure long hours before reaching our destination. While some aspects have changed, patience, humour, and a good book still remain the best companions for any long journey. 


I wrote...

Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Awakening Down Under

By Bruce Spydar,

Book cover of Diary of a Shy Backpacker: Awakening Down Under

What is my book about?

Diary of a Shy Backpacker is a romcom travelogue that has been described as “refreshingly different” and as “a saucy, fun, entertaining read which perfectly captures the backpacking experience.” The series is a semi-fictional account, loosely derived from my own 'selectively-enhanced’ adventures, travelling in the days before smartphones and social media. We begin in Australia with Awakening Down Under, before moving to New Zealand in Eye on the Prize, and finally to Canada in No Looking Back. Throughout the journey you’ll be entertained, as one reader put it, by “colourful characters, beautiful landscapes and of course... throbbing loins.” Why not join the ride?

The books I picked & why

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Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country

By Bill Bryson,

Book cover of Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country

Why this book?

Bryson’s various travelogues give you such colourful views of the places he visits and, if you’re journeying to Australia, Down Under is a must-read. Expertly combining sharp observations, unusual factual snippets, and incisive wit, the pictures he paints will inspire you to travel and see it for yourself... or alternatively, persuade you to avoid it at all cost. Whichever the result, you will be amply entertained. 

Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Down Under as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Every time Bill Bryson walks out the door memorable travel literature threatens to break out. His previous excursion up, down, and over the Appalachian Trail (well, most of it) resulted in the sublime national bestseller A Walk in the Woods. Now he has traveled across the world and all the way Down Under to Australia, a shockingly under-discovered country with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet. In a Sunburned Country is his report on what he found there--a deliciously funny, fact-filled, and adventurous performance by a…


Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

By Helen Fielding,

Book cover of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

Why this book?

The Bridget Jones series is amongst my all-time favourite reads. Bridget’s character has so many aspects that I can identify with, and so many of us experience insecurities about our looks, our talents and our love lives. The whole series is extremely entertaining, but there’s a specific part of The Edge of Reason that resonates with me: the fear I’ve always had when travelling, of ending up in police detention abroad through no fault of my own. It’s fabulously entertaining, but also thought-provoking.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

By Helen Fielding,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With an introduction by journalist Hadley Freeman

9st 2, cigarettes smoked in front of Mark 0 (v.g.), cigarettes smoked in secret 7, cigarettes not smoked 47 (v.g.).

Bridget's second diary ushers in a reformed woman. She is no longer a smoker (well, not much), the wilderness years are over, and she is at last united with man-of-her-dreams Mark Darcy. But things aren't perfect: there's an eight-foot hole in the wall of her flat, she's increasingly worried about a certain boyfriend-stealing beauty, and her friends' mad advice is getting her nowhere - something has to change. And so Bridget decides to…


Porterhouse Blue

By Tom Sharpe,

Book cover of Porterhouse Blue

Why this book?

For any long-haul flight, Tom Sharpe is one of my go-to authors; he encapsulates British wit at its finest.  Of the many that I’ve read, I probably feel the greatest connection to Porterhouse Blue. Having experienced Oxbridge undergraduate life for myself, this book revives so many memories. The main characters are so beautifully crafted and relatable. The resemblance of lead character Skullion to a porter at my old college is uncanny. As for Zipser the undergrad... well, having also been ‘romantically frustrated’ in my own college days, I have great empathy for him... including his fixation for the buxom bedder on his staircase.  

Porterhouse Blue

By Tom Sharpe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

______________________________
The 'endlessly funny' novel widely regarded as a classic of comic English literature

Porterhouse College is world renowned for its gastronomic excellence, the arrogance of its Fellows, its academic mediocrity and the social cache it confers on the athletic sons of country families.

Sir Godber Evans, ex-Cabinet Minister and the new Master, is determined to change all this. Spurred on by his politically angular wife, Lady Mary, he challenges the established order and provokes the wrath of the Dean, the Senior Tutor, the Bursar and, most intransigent of all, Skullion the Head Porter - with hilarious and catastrophic results.


Forever Endeavor

By Barbara Kellyn,

Book cover of Forever Endeavor

Why this book?

Who doesn’t enjoy a good romantic comedy? I know I do, and Canadian author Barbara Kellyn writes some of the best. And how about you like those chance travel encounters that set the sparks flying? Of course, everyone’s dreamt of that holiday romance, right? Well, if you like such things, then this could be right up your street. With colourful and contrasting main characters and plenty of sizzle, Forever Endeavor will keep you turning the pages and wanting more.  

Forever Endeavor

By Barbara Kellyn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Inspiration walked out on bestselling romance author Billie Mustard the day her husband blindsided her with divorce papers, leaving her clouded by writer’s block and soured on happily ever after.

Time-pressed to deliver a new manuscript about everlasting love, Billie embarks on an exotic vacation to find her muse, only to be forced to detour to dinky Janus Lake, a speck on the map known for its fishing and a bizarre statue of a Roman god in the middle of town. It’s bad enough that she’s missed her flight and stranded with a useless suitcase of beachwear, but now she…


Door to Door

By T.L. Brown,

Book cover of Door to Door

Why this book?

Do you ever think how great it’d be if you could walk through your closet door and end up in New York?  No waiting around; it’d be so much quicker than a long-haul flight. Well, now you can... at least in your mind, as you travel through doors on a wonderful adventure. If you enjoy beautifully written characters, humorous dialogue, portal travel and unravelling mysteries, then T L Brown’s Door to Door series is a fabulous place to start.

Door to Door

By T.L. Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Praise For Author: With a novel premise, engaging characters, and a wholly original world, T.L. Brown's first-in-series will draw you through her magical doors - and refuse to let you go... - Book review site Jill-Elizabeth.com

Two worlds collide when Emily Swift turns thirty and her late father’s journal lands on her doorstep... Seventeen years after Emily Swift’s father died, a door is opened to a new world, an Empire led by peculiar men and women called Salesmen – transporters of magical items. These Salesmen have the unique ability to travel from place to place, and even world to world,…


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