Books I'm Reading

The Books I’ve Been Reading Lately

Derek Everything Else 34 Comments

Books I'm Reading
This is a random post as I don’t normally write on Wednesdays, but I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and I thought that I might as well let you know which books I’ve come across. It certainly doesn’t hurt and perhaps one of them will catch your attention if you just so happen to be looking for a new book to delve into!

Here are three books, two of which are written by fellow bloggers, that I’ve read in the past month or so.

The Food Traveler’s Handbook

I’ve mentioned her before on my site, not only because she is a friend, but because she knows her stuff when it comes to travel and also when it comes to food. And it was only a matter of time before Jodi, who is also the writer behind the site, wrote a book that combined the two.

Here’s the official description: “The Food Traveler’s Handbook provides a compelling argument for why it is important to use food as a lens through which you see the world. Using this handbook as a guide, you will learn how to eat safely in developing countries, source cheap but delicious streetside meals and discover how to make food a tool for understanding a new place and connecting to its local culture.

Those few lines sure had me intrigued when I first read them and it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Jodi’s book didn’t disappoint at all.

Great reading material for anyone interested in travel and/or food, which is probably just about everyone!

The Food Traveler’s Handbook

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

The second book I want to mention is written by Matt Kepnes from It’s called How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and it focuses on providing tips and advice aimed at helping you save money, and make your money last longer, while out there traveling the world.

It’s a book designed for first-time travelers as it covers all the major aspects – food, accommodation, transportation, activities – and it discusses them in relation to the most popular travel destinations around the globe. So, for example, if you want to know the cheapest ways to travel around Europe, what you can expect to pay for accommodation in Central America, how to choose the right backpack, the ins and outs of travel insurance and how to save money on entrance fees and activities during your adventures, this book is a good reference that will answer those questions and more.

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World

Finally, I have to mention this one, which I read towards the end of my recent trip to India. It’s an interesting account, written by Jay Bahadur, of the pirate issue that has been present in Somalia for quite a few years now. Jay traveled to the Puntland region, which is considered to be the ‘hub’ of Somali piracy, in order to learn exactly who these pirates really are, what their lives are like and how this surge in piracy started in the first place. It was another great read, one that left me far more knowledgeable about the current pirate situation, and its origins, than I had ever imagined possible.

The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World

Anyone have any other good book recommendations? I’m looking for another book myself!


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Comments 34

  1. Pingback: The Food Traveler's Handbook: where to buy and recent press

  2. If you like books based in India, then I recommend “The God of Small Things” Arundhati Roy. It’s semi autobiographical I just love the way she kicks grammar up the arse. It won the booker prize too so it must be good.

      1. I read it in India in the weeks leading up to my visit to Mumbai. It ranks as not only one of my favorite, but one of the most eye-opening. It is almost impossible to understand the places we visit, but this helped me appreciate many things there.

    1. Thanks for that Jill…that sounds interesting and something I would never have thought of reading before. I will check it out right now.

  3. hey earl! was going to recommend “three cups of tea.” i would have guessed however that you had already read it. certainly it was quite interesting book to read. you might have already read this next one. have you read “kite runner””? also very interesting book to get into. personally i find it interesting to read books about history. “10,ooo day war” is about the vietnam war. currently i am reading a book about communist china and how chairman mao came to power.

  4. Hey Earl! 🙂 Pirates of Somalia sounds quite interesting; I am definitely reading it! Your description of it reminds me of a book I had read two years ago called “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time” by Greg Mortenson. It is a story of a man who stepped into a lion’s den to educate children.He entered places which are unthought of in Pakistan due to unrest and violence. He learnt how he can become friends with the people and educate the children.

    I love the concept behind the title. Three cups of tea according to the author means:
    “The title of the book is based on the proverb that says it takes three cups of tea over many months to cement a lasting relationship. During the first cup, you are strangers; with the second cup, you become friends; and by the third cup, you are regarded as family.”

    1. Hey NJ – I’ve actually read Three Cups of Tea and it was a great book. It’s a shame what happened a couple of years ago though when it came out that much of the story was made up unfortunately. But it’s still inspiring!

      1. Absolutely Earl. I followed up on the new happenings in the past too. None-the-less, it is a good story 🙂 Keep Traveling Earl! and keep inspiring us!!!

  5. Hi, Earl! If you are planning a trip to the Middle East, you might want to take “ARABIC, and your first step into the UAE” with you. It will give you the basic Arabic that will make your trip more pleasant, along with some of the basic cultural considerations that you might encounter. You provide so much entertainment with your blog, I would even order one of these from Amazon and have it delivered to your address if you would like. Thanks for your blogs, and “hi” to your lovely mom.

  6. Very interesting! I’ve read the one by Matt, but the food travelers handbook looks greats! I’ll check it out 🙂 Thanks!

  7. This is funny! I just published a blog post about my favorite travel books and movies too.
    One of the best travel books I’ve read is ‘North to the Night: A Spiritual Odyssey in the Arctic’ by Alvah Simon. I found it in some second hand book store. It’s totally inspiring. You should definitely give it a read.

  8. I have Jodi’s book, which is everything you say.

    Matt’s book sounds interesting. Although you say it’s for beginners, we are all beginners when it comes to a new country, no? I remember reading his ebook a few years back. Does this differ from that, or is it a print version of the ebook?

    I’ve just hopped over to Amazon and put the Somalia one in my basket! It sounds fascinating. I imagine that there is a heck of a lot more to their story than appears in the headlines? Think I’ve read an article by Jay Bahadur.

    I’m reading “The Sugar Barons” by Matthew Parker. The title is kind of self-explanatory I guess, but at only a quarter of the way through I’m amazed at how this (unnecessary) commodity has influenced the world (slave trade for one thing).The older I get the more impossible I find it to separate travel and history. The stories which have created the world we have today are often so much more complex than we thought.

    1. Hey Linda – Matt’s book is basically a compilation of his most useful advice/tips that are geared towards saving money and traveling smart. He has a few eBooks out there as well that focus on different topics but this is a good overall reference on stretching your money as far as possible. And yes, there is much more to the story in Somalia than most of us know…very interesting read.

      And I’ll look into The Sugar Barons…I do agree completely with you that everything is always much more complicated than it seems and it’s always fascinating to read about such instances.

  9. I recently read “An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington”.
    It’s not the most informative book but it’s funny to see how a reluctant traveller experiences the world around him compared to someone that embraces a life of travel.

  10. If P. J. O’Rourke were a mercenary, he’d have written this book. It’s a compellingly serious yet wild ‘How to’ guide to the world’s hell-holes.
    Robert Young Pelton – The World’s Most Dangerous Places

    ‘Robert Young Pelton, a professional adventurer, and his team of international war correspondents have updated this indispensable handbook for the intrepid adventurer– a “how-to” in getting in and out of the world′s hot spots.

    We are living in a dangerous world, and now more than ever people want to know what is going on where (and why). Featuring 25 countries, The World′s Most Dangerous Places, 5th Edition offers a brief up-to-the-minute history of each nation, provides tips on how to get in, out and around safely, and uncovers their dangers, from diseases, land mines, and kidnapping to mercenaries and militias. Completely revised, this edition has a number of countries who have been added to the hot list.

    With firsthand accounts of breathtaking adventure in each country, the book also provides the latest indispensable information on contacts for nongovernmental and rescue organizations, environmental groups, political activists, training schools in outdoor survival, commando techniques, and other potentially life-saving advice.’

  11. I second the opinion of Meg – Behind the Beautiful Forevers is incredibly good. I read it before I went on my first trip to India and it was really eye-opening to the culture of the slum-dwellers. Earl, seemingly you’ve spent heaps of time in India though so it may not be as enlightening for you as it was for me!

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (a fellow Australian!) and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro are two of my favourites 🙂

    1. Hey Natalie – Sounds good…I will check those out as well! And I still always love reading about India, maybe because it helps me feel as if I’m there when I’m somewhere else.

  12. A few months ago, I read “The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World” and found it fascinating and sad. Despite our country’s many challenges, it gave me a new sense of gratitude for the wonderful USA.

    Because I have become fascinated with the Eisenhower family, I am almost finished reading the book “Breaking Free: A Memoir of Love and Revolution” by Susan Eisenhower.

    Another book I read a few years ago which I highly recommend is by one of President Eisenhower’s grandsons, “Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969” I felt like I had actually met General Eisenhower and got to know him a little bit. Both are excellent reads!

    BTW: thanks for letting me travel vicariously through you. I really enjoy your blog. Maybe someday I’ll get to do more traveling. In the meantime, I read and imagine….

  13. I wish I was more diligent about reading on a regular basis. But on our travels, Charlotte did a lot of reading and did a great job of reading books about countries we were going to or had just visited. Of the ones I remember, The White Masai was one based in Kenya and a true story. She also read books about Turkey, India, Southeast Asia and a few others as well. It allowed her to connect with the places we had visited. It didn’t really matter what the book was but since we had just been to that country, it made it more impactful.

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