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Top 10 Books for Travelers

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Whether you're looking for a birthday gift for your favorite traveler or a great read for your next trans-Atlantic flight, we've got you covered! The staff of IndependentTraveler.com has gathered 10 of our favorite travel titles -- including both timeless classics and fresh new releases -- that are sure to please any traveler who loves to escape into the pages of a great book. Once you've checked out our list, be sure to add your favorites on our message boards and check out more recommendations from our members. Happy reading!

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GENEVIEVE'S PICKS

Miss New York Has Everything
By Lori Jakiela

A small-town girl wants to get out and leave the suburbs of Pittsburgh, and her family, behind. What's a girl to do? Lori Jakiela became a flight attendant and got ready to see the world. The trouble is, short layovers, even if they are in Paris, do not a world traveler make. Instead of the glamorous life she imagined in New York, she finds herself broke and living in a decidedly unglamorous neighborhood in Queens filled with roommates and roaches. As we follow Ms. Jakiela through her stumbles and struggles, we begin to understand just how strong the ties that bind her to her small-town life are -- particularly to her father, with whom she has a complicated but deeply loving relationship.

This memoir is a sometimes humorous and sometimes painful look back at one young woman's struggle to create a new life and to escape the people and the places that define her -- until she realizes that back in suburban Pittsburgh is exactly where she belongs.

Excerpt:
Not only was I not glamorous. I was also not a German speaker.

This is what I told Sheldon in Scheduling, when he called, for the third time in one month, to give me another twenty-four-hour layover in the industrial wasteland of Frankfurt, Germany.


Lost and Found
By Carolyn Parkhurst
"You've lost the game, but what have you found?" That's the question posed by the host of a ficticious "Amazing Race"-type reality show that serves as the backdrop for this new novel, in which teams are eliminated from a worldwide scavenger hunt. Chapters are devoted to individual players and even the show's host as we learn their secrets -- what's behind the mother/daughter team with the strained relationship? What's with the newly married couple who, until just recently, were both leading lives as homosexuals? Why are the two former child actors really on the show?

Fans of "The Amazing Race" will love the moments when we get a glimpse of the show's production team trying to "out" a participant or the contestants' struggle to complete the tasks needed to get ahead. However, the book is much less about the contest than it is about the people who are playing the game -- and in the end, they are all able to answer the question, "What have you found?"

Excerpt:
"I'm just going to the bathroom," I say to him. "You can stay with Abby."

"Sorry," [the cameraman] says. "I've gotten instructions to follow you."

I was going to go around the far side of the column, out of Abby's sight, but I change course and head towards the public restrooms near the steps of the terrace. I hope Ken will follow; I don't know how I am going to manage a private conversation with him, but he clearly has something to say to me, and I can't have him following me and Abby.

Robert and I reach the door of the men's room, and I step inside alone. ... After a moment, Ken walks in. It embarrasses me to look at him directly. I turn on the water and hold my hands under the cold spray. Ken walks over and stands at the sink next to mine.

"Hi there," he says. "Romantic little spot you've chosen."


Traveling While Married
By Mary-Lou Weisman

Though not necessarily a how-to guide on traveling better with your spouse, "Traveling While Married" does provide insights, many of them hilarious, into what it is like to travel with your husband or wife. It's largely an account of the travels of Mary-Lou Weisman and her husband Larry, but any married couple will see themselves in the pages of this book. Weisman touches on topics like traveling with other couples, doing things you hate because the one you love wants to, and "fantasy real estate" -- the compulsion to own property in every wonderful place you visit.

For couples who love each other and love to travel, this is a touching and insightful read. We can all relate to the opening page of the book when the author professes, "I, Mary-Lou, take you Larry, to be my constant traveling companion, to Hong and to Kong, in Cyclades and in Delft, for deck class or deluxe, so long as we both can move."

Excerpt:
Travel can put an extra strain on a marriage. Being the same old couple in a new and different place is a disorienting experience. All too often, when people don't know where they are, have jet lag, don't speak the language and can't figure out the money or maintain intestinal regularity, they get hostile. And since they don't know anyone else in Kyoto to take it out on, they take it out on each other.

Some marriages are saved by going on vacation. While the marriage is at home, the partners may be contemplating divorce, but send the marriage on vacation and they're on a second honeymoon. On the other hand, a marriage that gets along swimmingly at home can be a fish out of water on vacation.
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