Friday, December 22, 2006

Shopping for Procrastinators

It’s getting down to the wire.

If you’re just recently sensed that a holiday is approaching, you may be in sore need of some last minute gift ideas; items that are easy to find and affordable.

Not that I’ve been there, of course, but for some reason I can vaguely recall wandering through a drugstore on Christmas Eve wondering how many friends and relatives have longed for a bottle of Aqua Velva.

Fortunately, the calendar is still on your side but just barely. Here is a suggestion:

Think travel books.

Men like them. Women like them. They strike some primal chord and you stand a reasonable chance of finding some decent titles in the bookstore.

Any of the books by travel writer/novelist Paul Theroux can be a hit but the best are The Great Railway Bazaar, Riding the Iron Rooster, and Dark Star Safari.

Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country provides a highly entertaining look at Australia.

Tony Horwitz’s Blue Latitudes follows the journeys of Captain Cook. His earlier book, Confederates in the Attic, tags along with a strange bunch of Civil War re-enactment buffs.

Jeffrey Tayler’s Facing the Congo wanders into much tougher territory but he somehow muddles through.

Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight is less of a travel book than an account of growing up in Rhodesia but it is riveting.

If these don’t seem promising, just remember this:

Drugstore. Christmas eve. After-shave.

Ah, yes. Those books are looking pretty good now, aren’t they?

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