What is a travel book?

Sometime back I wrote about a few travel books that I own. Discussions which started on that article, Facebook and otherwise have led to this post.

What, in your opinion, is a travel book?

Is it something like Lonely Planet which guides you where to stay, what to see, what to eat etc. so that your stay at a place becomes comfortable?

Is it a book that inspires you to travel and see the world?

Or a travel book consists of a travelogue where author relives his or her experiences of a place or journey and what s/he went through?

travel books  @lemonicks.com

One of the books in my collection.

Can we consider Shantaram’ and ‘Maximum city’ as travel books which are basically novels but feed us in plenty about the local place, culture and people? These books make a place so interesting that we would want to visit it.

Then again, there are other books like ‘Da Vinci Code’. It describes a very detailed account of places such as Musee de Louvre just as any other explicit travel article would have done. I had visited this museum and other places mentioned much before the novel was even published ! And reading its powerful description I felt as if I was there again! So, should it be considered as a travel book ?

What do you think a travel book is or when a book is called a travel book?
Let’s debate, agree, disagree and if possible, conclude. 😀
Note- What is a travel book? is a post of www.lemonicks.com.
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7 thoughts on “What is a travel book?

  1. In the past I thought I travel book was a manual on what to do in a place you traveled to– where to go– maps, etc. However, over the years my idea of a travel book has changed to memoirs about a place…or novels which talk about a place…I would categorize a travel book as anything which either makes me want to travel somewhere- or makes travel somewhere easier.

  2. A travel book is a mixture of all the three points that you mentioned. It should motivate, help and make the reader travel the very next moment.

  3. for me richard bach book biplane has been a constant companion through numerous solo bike trip . i can relate my self & also i keep usual map & a piece of paper where i note down my feelings through the journey .
    Just Ride!!!

  4. I don’t read travel novels much, I’d rather experience the world first-hand. Sometimes I do after I come back from a destination because I’m curious to see if other had the same perspective/discovered the same quirks etc.

  5. Guidebooks tend to become outdated after a while and need constant updating…stories, novels, travelogues are eternal on the other hand…you can even read about Columbus’ voyage after centuries and it doesn’t get boring or useless…to me such books are true travel books, experiences, deep insights into a place are truly inspiring and motivate one to see the place rather than just look at it

  6. For me the definition is till evolving… Initially I considered books like Chai chai and The great railway bazaar as travel books. Now city specific books which integrates its present and past also comes into this definition..something like City of Djhinns which can come under History and travel genres.
    Tough to cast them in black and white

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