Thanks to the wonderful Belinda Jackson for singling out Destination Saigon as one of 2010's best travelogues in last weekend's SMH Traveller. She has certainly put me in some elevated company! Here's what she has to say:
Love with a Vietnamese man eventually led to a love of Vietnam - but this is no rosy affair. Inspired by several prolonged stays, including stints in rural monasteries and language studies in Ho Chi Minh City, Cabramatta local Mason is a large Caucasian man and therefore a source of wonder and affectionate groping among the dense crowds of smaller-statured Vietnamese. Perched on the back of a motorbike behind a tiny monk friend, he's also a rich source for Vietnamese humour ("Check out skinny Minnie on the back of that bike!") or the ministrations of cafe owners, who bring out extra-strong chairs when he darkens their doorsteps."
FYI, the other titles she likes are:
Is That Thing Diesel?, Paul Carter (Allen & Unwin, $24.99)
A Food Lover's Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Dee Nolan (Penguin Lantern, $100)
A Carpet Ride to Khiva: Seven Years on the Silk Road, Christopher Aslan Alexander (Icon Books, Allen & Unwin, $22.99)
Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World, Seth Stevenson (HarperCollins, $35)
Three in a Bed in the Med, Ann Rickard (Radge Publishing, $24.95)
A Moveable Feast, editor Don George (Lonely Planet, $29.99)Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, William Dalrymple (Allen & Unwin, $35)
Letters from the Caribbean, Andrea & Ian Treleaven (New Holland, $29.95)
From Here to There: A Father and Son Roadtrip Adventure from Melbourne to London, Jon Faine & Jack Faine (ABC Books, $39.99)
That should provide you with something of a reading list for the holidays, and good to see that the most-represented publisher is my very own, Allen & Unwin.