What’s on the bookshelf


No, these are not all going in my backpack — probably just the LP Pakistan and RG India (we’ll get a guidebook resupply in December when we meet family in Thailand). And no, I did not pay for all these books — let’s just say I know a guy.

I’ve already mentioned the Practical Nomad for crucial trip-planning logistics. For a more poetic — but still grounded and practical — tribute to tranquilo travel, I recommend Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding, especially his section honoring the pre-trip “hum of excitement.” Subtitled “An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel,” this skinny (re: packable) book notes the importance of striking “a balance between knowing what’s out there and being optimistically ignorant.” He also shares a wonderful collection of quotes, resources, and wise words about how to travel with patience, openness, and awareness.

Also in the stack: recently re-read Siddhartha (Hesse); also thoroughly enjoyed The Jew in the Lotus, by Rodger Kamenetz, about a group of rabbis who visit the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala in order to find out what Jews and the Tibetan Buddist diaspora can learn from each other.

The book I’m reading right now, V.S. Naipaul’s An Area of Darkness, about the author’s return to India, does not appear in the photo.

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