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Books for holidays
Thursday, June 14th, 2012

By Sudha Mathew

“To read a writer is for me not merely to get an idea of what he says, but to go off with him and travel in his company.”  – Andre Gide

When I travel, I usually carry a book related to the place I am traveling to. It gives an added dimension, a deeper layer to my experience of that place. The books are not always about travel; sometimes fiction or even romantic novels set in my destination. But there are far more instances when I can’t travel but desperately want a holiday. Then I escape into a world created by these books. Some of them introduced me to cities even before I set foot in them. Here’s a shortened list of my favourite books and the city or country they’re linked to. The list is no particular order. I’d love to hear suggestions for these as well as other regions.


Delhi – City of Djinns by William Dalrymple

Kerala – Where the rain is born by Anita Nair

Mumbai – Maximum City by Suketu Mehta, Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry

Bengal – The Shadow Lines by Amitava Ghosh, Glimpses of Bengal by Tagore – I have read this twice and will read it again I’m sure.

Life and Food in Bengal by Chitrita Banerjee – I experienced severe cravings for strange foods that I had never heard of before.


Bath – (Chick lit alert) Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer and quite a few of her Regency Era novels

London – Far too many to list here but let me mention some classic English authors who were the reason for my sense of déjà vu on my first trip there. Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, PG Wodehouse

Florence – A Room with a View by EM Forster

Venice – Donna Leon mysteries

Provence – A year in Provence by Peter Mayle


Tokyo – After Dark – Haruki Murakami, Rei Shimura series by Sujata Massey

Tokyo & Kyoto – Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland. Gorgeously detailed books set in 17th century feudal Japan where the central character is a samurai detective called Sano Ichiro with a feisty wife.

Botswana – No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Australia – In a sunburned country by Bill Bryson (Almost all his books are well researched and engaging.)

Travelogues that pass through many countries

Asia – In Xanadu & Over the Holy Mountain by William Dalrymple

China & Tibet – From Heaven Lake by Vikram Seth

Bon voyage!


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Posted by Sudha at 4:18 pm
    Comments ( 4 4)
  • Caroline

    June 19, 2012

    Love the suggestions. I’f like to add Paul Theroux’s books. Lovely read about epic journeys like the Great Railway Bazaar.

  • sudha

    June 19, 2012

    Thanks Caroline. I like him too!

  • Jane

    June 25, 2012

    Hi Sudha,
    We met (sort of) on conference call the other day. I really like the look of your site. Just to add another book suggestion: Tales from Nowhere edited by Don George. A book to take you to many places!

  • sudha

    June 25, 2012

    Thanks, Jane. Nice meeting you virtually too :) I like the sound of that book and am going to add it to my list. Thanks for the recommendation!

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About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell


My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.


While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

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