Whether you want to be inspired for places to discover on your next cruise, or are looking for books to pack for your next adventure, travel writer Ben Gibson picks his Top 5 reads that you should have in your bag…
Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
Written as a ‘goodbye’ to Britain before moving back to his native United States, Bryson’s famous book covers his final road trip around our own isles. Conducted using only public transport and visiting everywhere from John O’Groats to the West Country, he reveals the charms, history and wonders of our own country – things that are all too easy to overlook.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières
Set during the early days of World War II, this prizewinning tale is a love triangle between the beautiful Pelagia and her two suitors: guerrilla Mandras or the charming, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli. Much of the action is set on Kefalonia, a stunning Greek island which is always a popular stop off on Saga’s cruises.
Growth of the Soil, Knut Hamsun
This epic book chronicles the lives of country folk at the turn of the 20th century in rural Norway. It created an international sensation upon publication and led to the author’s 1920 Nobel Prize in Literature. Rich in nostalgia and symbolism, it is worth reading, even today, for it’s evocation of the challenging fjordland landscapes that have seemingly unchanged for a century.
In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin
If you’re booked onto Saga Pearl II’s South American Discovery cruise, you really won’t want to miss this cult book. With 97 chapters – although some no longer than a paragraph – it offers snapshots of this breathtaking destination, building to a substantial whole of eccentric characters, colonial history and the unique ‘pampa’ landscapes.
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy’s masterpiece subtlety evokes the romance and passion brooding behind the iconic architecture of St Petersburg and Moscow in the 19th century. The book has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, with Time magazine recently calling it “the greatest novel ever written”.