Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Backpacker Classics

BoingBoing linked to a list of backpacker classics compiled by Bookride.
I am not sure which books backpackers carry with them these days so this list may be a little out of date. The concept of backpacker books goes back to the days of the hippy trail when travellers would carry such classics as the I Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead or anything by Herman Hesse. A backpacker classic should have an element of profundity, preferably mystical -if not it should have cult status or be a statement about who you really are. There is an element of self discovery in setting off - the path to enlightenment, the journey inwards...A backpacker book is not a 'beach read'--the book must be worth the weight and space it takes up and should be reverentially handed on to other travellers or left in a hotel or bus station for another seeker to chance upon.
Some of the books that appear on this list include :
Joseph Heller. Catch 22

Herman Hesse. Siddhartha (also Glass Bead Game, Magister Ludi, and Steppenwolf)

Yann Martel. Life of Pi

Pirsig- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

J. D. Salinger. Catcher in the Rye

Vikram Seth- A Suitable Boy (for a very long journey)

Milton. Paradise Lost

The Holy Bible (King James version)

Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist

Alex Garland. The Beach (backpacker's novel about backpacking-- a great read)

Gabrial Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude

Irvine Welsh. Trainspotting.

Umberto Eco. Name of the Rose( also Foucault's Pendulum)
Take a look at the entire list of books. What books were you reading while you were backpacking?

Image Source : bennylin0724

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