The Best Books About Remote Tropical Islands

The Books I Picked & Why

The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts

By Ben Fogle

The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts

Why this book?

As an Englishman, I’m very taken by books which combine travel with English history. Ben Fogle takes us through the last remnants of the British Empire, tiny islands that have refused independence and resolutely fly the Union Jack. His adventures in Tristan da Cunha, Diego Garcia, and St Helena took me to three places I had never been to. Like me, Fogle is an islandophile and I recommend this for anyone wanting to know about these islands that are in many ways more British than Britain.


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Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons

By Gerald Durrell

Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons

Why this book?

I’ve been a Durrell fan since I was 13, and I’ve collected all his books. This one opened my eyes to a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius and its nearby neighbour Round Island. Durrell’s books are focused on conservation of the animal world, but his books are as much about the human animal, and his adventures and descriptions of the people he meets and the locations he travels to bring his books to life. Highly recommended for anyone interested in travel, conservation and humour.


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Island of Dreams: The True Story of One Family's Quest for Paradise

By Tony Williams

Island of Dreams: The True Story of One Family's Quest for Paradise

Why this book?

An incredible motivating story of a man who refused to allow his poverty-stricken working-class life define him. Tony Williams, a school caretaker, had a dream to move to a desert island. His peers in his dead-end town ridiculed him, but he persisted with his ambition. Saving up money by pretending they smoked, and needed to buy cigarettes every day, Tony and his wife managed to travel to and live on uninhabited islands in the South Pacific twice, once with their kids. Anyone who believes their own personal circumstances prevent them from achieving their dreams needs to read this book, as well as anyone interested in the Cook Islands and the South Pacific lifestyle.


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Last Chance to See

By Mark Carwardine, Douglas Adams

Last Chance to See

Why this book?

What happens when a science-fiction writer accompanies a naturalist to observe animals before they become extinct? Douglas Adams is known as the author of The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, but his observations of severely endangered animals add humour to this very serious subject. As well as other locations, he visits Mauritius, visiting some places Gerald Durrell helped establish, Rodrigues, also in the Indian Ocean, and Komodo Island in Indonesia where he observes Komodo Dragons in a contrived tourist attraction. Notably, since the book was published over twenty years ago, one species has been lost forever, and at least one has recovered in numbers slightly.


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Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific

By Julian Evans

Transit of Venus: Travels in the Pacific

Why this book?

Julian Evans takes us on a personal tour through the islands of the South Pacific, a region for which I have my own fondness. As well as places I know and love such as Tonga and Vanuatu, Evans visits harder to reach places: The Marshall islands and the Gilbert and Ellis group. Encountering natives, visitors, political and geographical challenges, his story is told with good humour and adventure.


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