Unforgettable Book(s) You Bought on Your Travels


I was living in China as an ESL teacher for a college. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t read Chinese, I fell in love with this book and have moved with it to several different countries and states. The title is A Chance of Sunshine but it’s also known as Turn Left, Turn Right and the author-illustrator is Jimmy Liao.

I’m looking for several snow globes based on this story but, alas, it seems that they don’t sell them anymore.


I always try to visit used bookstores when I travel, ever on the hunt for insane pulp paperbacks, which I will also not likely read. This is one of my favorites, a weird dispatch from the Satanic Panic.


I took along The Pilgrimage by Paolo Coelho with me on the Camino de Santiago. I thought he captured the eerie feel of the journey rather well. It was also weird to have it as some kind of fictional guide for me as I reached each of the tops.


That is so wonderful - I want to do the Camino someday! How was it for you?

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I’ve bought only one book on a trip, and it was this one in New York City: Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream. I was so impressed with the MoMA’s timely program — I only wish more could’ve been done to make their work reality.


If that’s something you like, have I got a puzzle for you. That you will also likely not do. :wink:


I was just saying to a friend the other day that one of the biggest downfalls about having a tiny NY apartment is that there’s no room to do puzzles!


Haven’t you ever heard of puzzle keepers?


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haha I think you’re still underestimating the smallness of my apt…


Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People in Oslo, Norway
Colected works of H. C. Andersen in Odense, Denmark
Redcoats along the Hudson in Quebec, Canada


I made sure to grab a copy of this when I was in Germany so I could have it in the original language. The locals I was hanging out with shunned me for reawakening the crap that scared the hell out of them when they were kids.


This is a bit cliché, and also requires a bit of context, but for me it’s this Jack Kerouac biography that I bought in a used bookstore in Amsterdam when I was 17:

The context: As a reminder, before the internet it was hard to look up things and information was not on demand. There was a time in the early 90s, for example, when if you liked a song and couldn’t drive to the mall to buy it on CD, you just had to wait for it to come on the radio. And I really do struggle to remember how as a culture-hungry teenager I discovered anything at all. I think friends’ older brothers must have played a role for better or worse, and more to the point of my story, I do recall a line in my sophomore high school history textbook that said something like “It was the time of counter-culture and Kerouac.” This got my attention.

But who was this Kerouac? I asked my history teacher, and he didn’t know. So I figured he must be a rock musician, so I went to my local used CD store and the clerk said yeah, he’d heard his music, but he didn’t have any of his CDs in stock.

Fast forward a year, and I find myself traveling alone in Amsterdam. And I find the above English-language biography in a used bookstore. And, aha! He was a writer.

It, of course, made an impression, for who is Jack Kerouac really for if not 17-year-old boys? And so, what begin as a trip to Amsterdam quickly hardened into a romanticism of travel. (And drinking wine from jugs.)

BTW, The Dharma Bums really is much better than On the Road.


We were staying at a hostel in Australia and I picked up a copy of The Fatal Shore, about Australia’s colonisation by the British and the convict system. If you are interested in history, it is an incredibly gripping and memorable read, and puts you right there with the characters and the setting. An absolute page turner.

To then be in Sydney walking around Hyde Park Barracks or, in particular, at the haunting ruins of Port Arthur, having just read about what had happened there, it’s something you never forget. That was over 8 years ago and I still remember it well.