Welcome to Paperback Traveler — A website about travel literature. Paperback Traveler covers classics of the genre in addition to less well-known titles. You can browse through reviews we’ve already published or submit your own. Be sure to check back regularly, as we are constantly uploading new reviews and other information about travel literature.
If you’d like to review a book, please read our submission guidelines. If you are an author or publisher and wish to have a book reviewed, please email us (please note that we cannot guarantee a positive review, just an honest one!).
What is Travel Literature?
If you’ve stumbled across this site and have no idea what travel literature is, then let me tell you about this fantastic genre of books!
Travel literature is travel writing that has value as literature. It typically records the people, events, sights and feelings of an author who has traveled to a foreign place for pleasure, introspection or as a journalist. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary.
People are often first introduced to the genre when they come across a literary travel piece written by an author famous for another genre of books. For example, John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley or Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Silverado Squatters (where he has insights into California’s wine country that are century ahead of their time!). Stevenson actual wrote quite a few works of travel literature, although he is best known for his novels and short stories.
There is a point at which travel literature intersects with essay writing–such as V. S. Naipaul’s India: A Wounded Civilization–where a trip to another country is used to make extended observations on a country or people. Another famous work at the intersection of travel literature and essay writing is Rebecca West’s book on what was then Yugoslavia, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.
Another genre that also often crosses paths with travel literature is nature writing, such as Gerald Durrell’s books. Durrell is quite funny, if you like to laugh, I highly recommend My Family and Other Animals about Durrell’s experience moving from England to the Greek island of Corfu.
If you’re still not convinced to give travel literature a try, I suggest checking out one of the reviews posts on this site. Feel free to email us if you’d like help finding the perfect book for you to start off onto your adventure into travel literature.