WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 2.5/5
I am a travel enthusiast who loves to explore different people and geographies both in the real and bookish world. Therefore, I am also a lover of books that talk about travel adventures, stories, and other insignificant nitty gritty that one can only experience personally or through the medium of books.
One of my favourite travel books of all times is by a rather unknown Indian author called Sabir Hussain. His book Battlefields and Paradise which takes us on a bike journey from Delhi to Ladakh, a perfect getaway for any travel lover.
I recently had a chance to read yet another book on travel; a book that promises travel stories from around the world.
Read on to know more about my thoughts on Anuj Tikku’s Travelthon Tales.
What is the book all about?
The book is a collection of tales, both fiction and nonfiction, which talk to us about the author’s many travel adventures all over the world.
Travelthon Tales takes you from the Taliban stronghold of Afghanistan to the spiritual valleys of Uttarakhand, from the desolate cemeteries of Ukraine to the dense jungles of Bandhavgarh. While doing so it tells you the tales of a number of people who inhabit these wonderful places.
What to expect?
As stated above, expect a book that is a combination of travel anecdotes, travel tales and some fictional tales that together gives you the feel of being an actual traveller than a mere tourist.
Expect a book that is a short and simple read that can be easily read in a matter of a few hours.
Also, expect a book that is written in a rather naïve and amateurish way and which could have done much better with a bit of editing.
How good are the short stories?
There are a couple of short stories in the book but I think overall it was the personal experiences that I enjoyed the most.
Writing fiction is no easy task; it is not easy to come up with a coherent plot, dynamic and relatable characters, decent climax and an overall great tale without some effort.
Short stories are a different game altogether because the author is pressed for space and words. Let’s just say that Anuj’s stories lack that appeal; that charm that is otherwise important for any story to impress a reader.
The stories, unlike his other writings, lack character. They are sometimes too random, at other times too abrupt. Even the characters of his stories appear irrational and unrealistic at times.
What I liked?
I liked the way the author describes certain places and people. I particularly enjoyed reading about the author’s personal experiences at the OSHO ashram, his tryst with the supernatural in Ukraine’s oldest cemetery, the Lychakiv Cemetery. Also insightful are his chance encounters with Aghori babas in the temple town of Kedarnath.
What I did not like?
When I pick nonfiction, I always look for an introduction from the author describing to me what the book is all about, what purpose it was written for and how exactly the author intends me to read it.
There is nothing in Travelthon Tales that resembles a sort of introduction. So, until the reader herself takes the plunge, there is no prior understanding of what the book is really going to be like.
I also did not like the inclusion of short stories in a book that promises travel tales and travel writing. I would have loved it if the book had only travel stories from his own life.
Further, because I read the Kindle version of the book, I also found the page formatting and alignments to be a bit off.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
The book comes with a lot of promise but somewhere down the line the reader doesn’t really get what she is hoping for – real-life travel tales. This, combined with some average short stories, further added to my disappointment.
The saving grace is the real-life travel tales which the author narrates with passion and a natural flair for sharing experiences.
Pick the book if
- If you are a lover of travel writing.
- If you enjoy short stories about travel, people and places.
- If you are looking for a short and easy read.
Skip the book if
- If you don’t like stories about travel.
- If you don’t like books that are a mix of fiction and nonfiction.
- If you can’t stand books are that poorly edited.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Travelthon Tales using the link below.