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Books other than guides...


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Now I'm not looking for a book to carry on the camino other than a guide, but for my long plane ride and something to read afterwards (to be mailed ahead with other things) what does every one suggest? What are you bringing? Brain candy, a beach read or something else?

I am actually bringing a small book of spainish poetry with the spanish and english translation for rainy days, but for the pre/post camino I was looking for something else. Maybe Travels with My Donkey: One Man and His Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tim Moore (read), Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart (read) The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho (read), a biography on Sir Richard Burton (the explorer), Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown by Paul Theroux(read)... Any good travel/explorer/inspire me for my next journey book.

The days are slowly passing and my friends and I should arrive in St. Jean the night of Oct. 3rd. I am very excited, looking forward to running into some people from the forum and I'm slowly getting concerned about bed bugs.

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My personal favourite is "Clear Waters Rising" by Nicholas Crane, the story of one man's walk from Cape Finisterre to Istanbul =10,000km.
Nick decided to follow the mountain chains through Europe ie Santiago, Cantabrians, Pyrenees, Cevennes, Alps,Carpathians and finally the Balkan Mountains, all of this (largely) unaccompanied and just after getting married. He camped or lived with shepherds, cheesemakers etc. while making this non-stop journey.
A wonderful tale well told.
Brits may recognise Nick from his subsequent TV programmes 'Coast' and 'Map Man' and currently 'Great British Journeys' .
My choice would be: "The road to Santiago: pilgrims of St James" by Walter Starkie. - London: John Murray, 1957. [reissued by John Murray, 2003] - 324 pp. A classic early account of the pilgrimage and the author's journey from Arles, with his fiddle.

This is a good read, gives you a great deal of background about the history of the camino and as it is an account from before the modern era you will not have any expectations after having read it.

Buen Camino
If you're looking for something more on the spiritual side, I enjoyed Joyce Rupp's Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino. I read it on the plane on the way over, and it really gave me food for thought.

Steve S
I'll give my vote to go along with Dael. 'Clear Water Rising' was absolutely fascinating and while its a far greater journey than the camino it does have similar elements.

The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I second the Joyce Rupp recommendation - that's a good one. Other Camino-related books I've read and enjoyed (loved the Tim Moore one as well, by the way) are:

Buen Camino, by Jim and Eleanor Clem. Older couple walks the Camino.

Camino Chronicle, by Susan Alcorn. Older couple walks the Camino during the period of 9/11.

Pilgrimage to the End of the World, by Conrad Rudolph. A rationalist walks from Le Puy to Finisterre.

Fumbling, by Kerry Egan. Young Ivy League couple walks the Way so she can resolve father issues.

A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago, by John Brierley (yeah, it's a guidebook - the only one I used, by the way. But it also has a spiritual/memoirish component as well).

Hope these help - Buen Camino :)
On our Hook to Reims recent journey I read Jonathan Sumption's 'Pilgrimage' - history of medieval pilgrimages - really interesting read and lasted almost all the way. Bit battered looking now. Fascinating bits about pilgrimage as a good way of getting local troublemakers out of your hair for a good long time - much more likely to be effective than an ASBO, and how the Venetians did the best Holy land package - whatever you do don't go with the Genoans- they hadn't got the ABTA bond.
Thanks for everyone's input. I'll hit the bookstores tomorrow in Denver and see what I can find. After that, Saint Jean by Oct 3rd/4th. Hopefully, see some of you on the trail.


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