The Editor of SanātanaYoga, Sophia Ann French, recommends her favourite travel writing.
Bombay, Meri Jaan Edited by Naresh Fernandes and Jerry Pinto
This book of writings on my favourite city in India and my home, Bombay, is first on the list. It features prose and poetry on Bombay by literary greats like Salman Rushdie, Nissim Ezekiel, Kiran Nagarkar, Aldous Huxley and Rudyard Kipling. I especially recommend the essays Morning You Play Different, Evening You Play Different (by Naresh Fernandes) and The Day It Rained Gold Bricks and a Horse Ran Headless (by Jerry Pinto).
A Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
Independent India’s first Prime Minister wrote the book while he was imprisoned for fighting for India’s independence from the British. It’s more of a thesis on Indian culture and history than a travelogue, but it’s on this list for anyone looking to discover India’s past, her rich cultural heritage and Nehru’s hope for India’s future.
Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places of the World by Pico Iyer
Iyer’s mature, sophisticated prose lends a deep romance (at times, tragic) to all his travel writing. In Falling Off the Map he travels to Iceland, North Korea, Argentina, Bhutan…and on every turn, the reader is acquainted with Iyer’s sharp wit and insightful observations on the world and the human condition.
Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
Because who isn’t an Orwell fan? Years before he started using the pseudonym, Eric Blair spent five years in Burma as a policeman to the colonial service. His early experiences working for the Empire (and his hatred for the system) would become the inspiration for Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. Larkin traces Orwell’s journey through Burma revisiting all the places he lived and worked at. She re-imagines his experiences to understand how they shaped his writing and political views.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
It’s the novel that changed the form and structure of travel writing in America and defined the Beat generation. The book chronicles the odyssey of Kerouac and his friends across post-war America as they indulge in jazz, poetry and substance abuse.