Travel equals reading for many people, including myself. Reading a book is also a great way to get an understanding of your next destination, no matter if it is a travel guide, packed with information, about the area or if it is a novel with telling descriptions of environments and/or people. I want to share some of my favourite authors who has influenced my travels with you.
Carl Hiaasen writes about Florida and the Bahamas
Carl Hiaasen is born and living in Florida even though his last name implies Norwegian ancestors. He has been writing stories since the beginning of the 80´s where the plot is taking place somewhere in Florida.
Hiaasen puts a strong eye on pollution, exploitation of natural resources and a tropical mind-set mixed with absurd characters. As a matter of fact, some of the characters are so absurd that I laughed out loud from back to back. Needless to say, his children’s books are naturally less absurd than the publications aimed for grownups.
Stormy Weather is picturing the hurricane that trashed south Florida and the con-artists, the “entrepreneurs” who are trying to make money of everything and people under pressure. The character Skink is well pictured in this book. This book will definitely make you laugh and your jaw drop.
Strip Tease was filmed with Burt Reynolds and Demi Moore in the cast well but my recommendation is to stay away from the movie because it is one of the worst I have ever seen. On the other hand is the book brilliant! I tried to find the words, but did not and borrowing the description from Amazon.com: “Only in America could an innocent, if drunken, guest of honor at a strip joint bachelor party become a mortal threat against Big Money and Big Government. Only in south Florida, land of roadside honky-tonks and sinister pleasure boats—not to mention blackmail and murder—would a virtuous topless dancer join forces with a cool but clueless cop. And only in the fiction of Carl Hiaasen do readers experience riveting suspense and razor-sharp characters along with the most wicked humour imaginable. This is Strip Tease, Hiaasen’s most inventive tale yet of savage appetites and sweet justice.”
Hiaasen´s books will take you mainly to Florida. Bad Monkey will take you to the Bahamas too.
For more information about the author, please visit http://www.carlhiaasen.com/.
John Burdett writes about Thailand
John Burdett started his career in Britain as a lawyer in the 70´s but chose that profession out of despair during the British economic and political crises of that era. He spent 12 years as a lawyer in Hong Kong and later realized that his hear was in writing. This is a good thing because I have enjoyed his books a lot.
The Bangkok-series of books: Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo, Bangkok Haunts, The Godfather of Kathmandu and Vulture Peak is about a corrupt but still goodhearted detective named Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Sonchai has strong connections with the mafia and his mother is a former prostitute who owns and runs a brothel. He is forced to help out managing the brothel where he is drawn to one of the sex workers. Well, you understand that Songchai is torn between good and evil and tries to find balance in life. These books gives a good insight to the Thai way of thinking and a great read.
These books will take you Bangkok, Cambodia and Nepal with excellent descriptions of environments, the human mind and larger than life characters.
For more information about the author, please visit http://www.john-burdett.com/.
Simon Royle writes about Thailand
Living in a suburb to Bangkok, Simon Royle, is writing about Chance whose mother is a mafia boss in Bangkok. Chance is second in charge after mother which means he is a cold blooded killer who is trying to become a family man at the same time. The plot is fast paced, takes place during the curfew of Bangkok when the red shirts protested. If I did not know better, I would have guessed that this was one of the books in the Bangkok-series by John Burdett. This is a compliment, not an accusation of plagiarism!
The book Bangkok Burn will take you to Bangkok and Phuket. Unfortunately, I have not read Bangkok Wet yet but I will.
For more information about the author, please visit http://www.simon-royle.com.
James Clavell wrote about Hong Kong and Iran
James Clavell was born in 1921 and left us in 1994 but left an amazing legacy in his Asian Saga which includes King-Rat, Tai-Pan, Shōgun, Noble House, Whirlwind and Gai Jin.
I found the story about the trading company Noble House as a paper back at Hong Kong Airport and read it on my way home from this great city. It was like re-living the trip again but a few decades earlier because the book is set in Hong Kong 1963. I read most of the time of the 11 hour flight and continued to read until book was finished. This book gives a great insight in Chinese customs, mind-set and I had several aha-experiences when reading it.
I have never been to Iran but Whirlwind is a great story and judging by my Persian friends this book is also written with good knowledge and understanding about Persian culture. The book is set in Iran in early 1979, at the fall of Iranian monarchy and Ayatollah Khomeini is getting a grip of the country. In the middle of this turmoil there are Struans helicopter pilots.
Both books are great reads and highly recommended.
For more information about the author, please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Clavell.