Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Good Read

Let me start by saying this has nothing to do with nature or photography. One type of book I really enjoy reading is autobiographies of people who have travelled the world. Not your everyday tourist type of person but those who have set out on an adventure making a leap into unknown territory for them.

Many years ago I had a proof edition of 'The Autobiography of an Old Drifter' which I read many times. It is the story of Percy Clark of  Victoria Falls who drifted around Africa in the early 1900's. Having seen how much the first editions of the book can fetch at auction I am peeved at having lost my copy though I have found a reasonably priced used reprint on Amazon.

Another book I found enthralling was 'The Long Walk', The story of Slavomir Rawicz who was sentenced to hard labour in a Russian Siberian Gulag, escaped and walked for a year covering 4000 miles to reach freedom. I wish I could remember in which country it was considered bad manners to eat everything from the plate. Eating it all told the provider that they hadn't given you enough. Not the thing to do when a poor villager is sharing their own scarce food stores with a complete stranger. Good manners was to let out a loud belch to show you were full and how much you had enjoyed the meal.

Recently I have found a book to go with those: 'You've Gone Too Far This Time, Sir'. The autobiography of a British junior school teacher (Danny Bent) who decided to cycle to India. I haven't read it all yet but like the previous books mentioned it gives fascinating glimpses of the people he meets on his journey, their lifestyles, customs and the hazards he has to overcome on the way. Though not the best prose and sometimes superficial and disjointed I have found it difficult to put down. I couldn't help laughing at the part where he had lost the visa which would allow him to leave Russia at any border. The border guard told him he would have to go back the way he entered or for a consideration the guard could help though it would take a lot of effort, time and money to bribe all the people needed to smooth his passage. As soon as Danny handed over $50 the guard immediately waved him through! His first lesson in the art of bribery.

The ebook edition is free, at the moment anyway. It is a Kindle edition from Amazon, free on and I assume the same will go for If you have a Kindle ereader - no problem. If not, no worries as there are apps for the iPad and Android devices as well as a reader for the PC (and probably for the Mac) These are free to download. Once installed you use the app / reader to access Amazon's Kindle store, sign in if you have an Amazon account, create one if not, find and download the book. You 'buy' the book though the price is £0.00. There are other zero priced Kindle ebooks on Amazon so you may find something of interest to you.

If you have read and enjoyed a book on a similar theme to those above please let me know so I can build up my store of reading for next Winter.


  1. John, I tend to read, technical books and thrillers for escapism.
    In the travelogue genre. The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E.Bowman is my favourite.
    Should you feel like a good Thriller rread then I've just finished The Millenium Trilogy of books . The first is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
    by Stieg Larson........I read them all in the wrong order but they are good and unique as Larsson died in 2004 from a heart attack.

  2. Have you read some of Michael Palin's travel books? Entertaining reads.

  3. Thanks for the good leads on some good reads, John. I also love to read first person travel adventures, especially those from the 19th and 20th centuries. I found some pretty good free ones on one of the sources you had listed earlier for free ebooks.


  4. Adrian: Thanks for the pointers. I'll look into those.

  5. Matron: No I haven't. I watched the TV series but hadn't considered the books. Thanks for the tip.

  6. Wilma: My pleasure. It's always worth checking the various sources of free ebooks from time to time.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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