New books

I recommend the following two new travel books.

• For those of you who have been to Africa or plan to travel there, I would like to recommend Paul Theroux’s new book, “Dark Star Safari — Overland from Cairo to Capetown” (2003, Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0618134247 ­— 496 pp., $28). In his description of the gritty and chaotic conditions encountered on his overland journey, he reveals a side of Africa that is unlikely to be seen along the tourist trails.

He has this to say about well-meaning humanitarian, political, economic and developmental assistance provided by foreign organizations: “Aid is one of the main reasons for underdevelopment in Africa.” You may well come to agree with him after sharing his experiences and insights.

• My wife, Saima, and I have enjoyed skimming through “1,000 Places to See Before You Die — A Traveler’s Life List” by Patricia Schultz (2003, Workman Publishing Co. ISBN 0761104844 — 972 pp., $18.95 paperback). There is a general index and also special indexes which list destinations by subject, such as “Gorgeous Beaches and Getaway Islands,” “Ancient Worlds,” “Active Travel and Adventure” and “Culinary Experiences.”

There’s typically slightly less than a full page for each destination. There’s a brief description of why it’s included in the list plus photos and basic information on costs, best time to visit, reservation numbers and websites, etc.

It’s been fun to see how many of these places we’ve visited (a small fraction of the 1,000) and to consider which ones we would like to include in future itineraries. Happy trails!

Contributing Editor, ITN