Beloved Books, Curated by Diane Squires, Two’s a Crowd Travel & JTC Guest Editor

by Thursday, May 10, 2018

I love that reading can take you anywhere in the world in a few pages. When I’m travelling, I always try to read a book on the place I’m travelling through, so I can pick out the names of towns and better visualise where the writer is. But I love too, that feeling of sitting on my couch at home and being taken away to another time and place.


“What is the What”, by Dave Eggers.

This is not an easy book to read. It tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng in the Second Sudanese Civil War. It’s a story of Deng’s plight to escape Sudan, and avoid becoming a child soldier, and his journey to America under the Lost Boys of Sudan program. I’ve been to Africa three times now – to South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda. It’s an amazing continent, stunning wildlife and scenery and a tough edge that we can only imagine in Australia. And the people I’ve met in each of the countries I’ve travelled to are so beautiful, so welcoming and warm, I can’t imagine them living through the brutality outlined in “What is the What”.

“Three Cups of Tea”, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

Set in Pakistan and Afghanistan before September 11, this book, another true story, tells of one man’s attempt to bring education to the furthest parts of the world. I was working for World Vision when I read this book, learning every day about the challenges people face around the world. And this book made their plight real. It highlights how tough life can be in other parts of the world, but it also shows what lengths some people will go to to help others.


“Under the Tuscan Sun”, by Frances Mayes.

I didn’t see the movie of this book; I thought it was just another love story until I read it earlier this year and it whisked me away to Tuscany. I could see the rolling hills, taste the wine, smell the bread baking… The writing is beautiful and the imagery it conjurs up is almost, almost, as good as being there.


Diane Squires is a tour host with the Melbourne-based solo tour company Two’s a Crowd. When she’s not hosting tours, she’s writing about travel and running the travel blog, 

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