Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Stockings-filler: a selection of books from Karavansara

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1e4e33bc44b9444c889c0f204e1e7895There is this habit, in the blogsphere, of posting a list of suggestions for those looking for Christmas gifts. And it could be fun, right?
I’d like to suggest books, because reading is important, and fun, and is becoming a lost art  in my country.
But I decided to do it a little differently, this time, and for the readers of Karavansara I’ve compiled a list of books you might like to give away as gifts, based on some of my personal book fetishes.
And no, don’t make that face, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Fact is, while I’d go for an ebook any day of the week, thank you, I still have a sort of veneration for a number of publishers, and certain lines of theirs.
And what I’m putting together here is a selection of some of the best books by these publishers.
Shall we start?

Five books from Everyman Classics.

I love the Everyman line, these are really the books I’d like to have with me on a desert island. Nicely hardbound, pleasant to the hand, and built to last a lifetime.
s-l1600My suggestions are…

  • Dante, The Divine Comedy
  • The Arabian Nights
  • Herodotus, Histories (in 2 Volumes)
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

And here I cheat, because now I’ll suggest you five more volumes with the same title, by five different authors…

  • The Complete Short Stories, either by Ray Bradbury, by Roald Dahl, by Rudyard Kipling, by Edgar Allan Poe or by Mark Twain.

Five books from Dover Thrift Editions.

510BJkU5EDL._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_I discovered the Dover Thrift Editions when I was a student. Thin, cheap books, printed on good paper and bound like in the days of old, and filled with wonders. It was a discovery that weekly consumed at least part of my lunch money.
My suggestions in this case are…

  • John Donne, Selected Poems
  • Elizabethan Poetry, an Anthology
  • Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would be King and Other Stories
  • Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw

Five books from Wordsworth Classics.

51RMgEM797L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Another love born when I was a student, the Wordsworth Books were cheap and thick and they feared nothing: rain, salty sea breeze, the rough treatment of traveling in a satchel. Really a poor student’s companions, and great to bring in the field. And such a beautiful selection of adventure classics!
My choice books would be…

  • H. Rider Haggard, She
  • Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
  • Anthony Hope, The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau
  • John Buchan, The Complete Richard Hannay Stories

And as a bonus…

Five “Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural”

black-veil-other-tales-wordsworth-mystery-supernatural-tales-of-original-imaeage8cc9sjuvgBecause this line from Wordsworth collects some absolutely great titles, and they are not to be missed.
I’d go for…

  • M.R. James, Collected Ghost Stories
  • Henry S. Whitehead, Voodoo Tales: The Ghost Stories of Henry S Whitehead
  • Mark Valentine, The Black Veil and Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths
  • Edith Nesbit, The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror
  • Robert E. Howard, The Right Hand of Doom and other stories of Solomon Kane

Five books from Hodder and Stoughton’s Teach Yourself.

5027520There is something so wonderfully Victorian about the idea of a book from which you can learn anything. My first “Teach Yourself” book was a Japanese language course. I collected many others through the years, and my five-book selection is as follows…

  • Nigel Tangye, Teach Yourself to Fly
  • Charles Garfield Lott Du Cann, Teach Yourself to Live
  • W.S. Norman, Teach Yourself Etiquette and Good Manners
  • Gavin Betts, Teach Yourself Complete Latin
  • Humphrey Christmas, Teach Yourself Zen

Seven Books from the Long Riders’ Guild

My most recent discovery (and we’re talking ten years ago or more), the books by the Long Riders’ Guild are really on topic here on Karavansara, as these are books that deal with travel in far and strange lands, and the times and lives of some great adventurers. Their catalog is so beautiful, I’m listing seven of their books instead of five. maillart
My personal favorites…

  • Rosita Forbes, Forbidden Road: Kabul to Samarkand
  • Leonard Clark, A Wanderer Till I Die
  • Christina Dodwell, An Explorer’s Handbook
  • Richard Halliburton, The Royal Road to Romance
  • Ella Maillart, Turkestan Solo
  • Frederic Burnaby, a Ride to Khiva
  • Wilfred Skrede, Across the Roof of the World

And here you have it.
A massive list of suggestions, to fill the stockings of your loved ones.
And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

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Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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