What is your favorite book you have read in conjunction with going to a place? That is, you read it in prep or you read it while there?
For instance, I read Youth Without Youth by Mircea Eliade before going to Romania, and I will say that due to one particularly amazing monologue, I enjoyed every single combination of sparkling mineral water and espresso that I had during the trip 100x times more than I would have otherwise.
Historical surveys are easy to recommend, of course. I read A Short History of Cambodia before and during my time in that country in 2012. The history of that country is so physically apparent–it’s easy to imagine the Angkar ruins as a bustling city of 1 million people when London was a town of 1,000; you can hardly go a block in Phnom Penh without encountering some trace of either the Khmer Rouge or, more strangely to my American eye, a public worship of the Sihanouk royal family, who played such an unwitting part in bringing Pol Pot to power.
Anyway, I’d love to collect recommendations of literature that prepares you for specific trips.