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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

To a Mountain in Tibet

Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road has remained one of my favorite armchair travel books since reading it a couple of years ago. I have been looking for something new from him over that time. I could have gone back and picked up something else, which I’ll still do, but I wanted to see a new book. I finally found it while wandering the bookstore shelves one day; To a Mountain in Tibet was one of The New York Times Book Review’s100 Most Notable Books of 2011.

Thubron’s To a Mountain in Tibet is his amazing story about his journey to Kailas, one of the holiest mountains in the world. He makes this pilgrimage in the wake of his mother’s death, remembering her, his father, and his sister, who died at a young age while climbing. The underlying story of his family is ever-present during Thubron’s walk to the mountain from neighboring Nepal – an arduous journey he makes with barely a complaint.

I cannot remember a single book I’ve read with such clean and beautiful writing like Colin Thubron’s To a Mountain in Tibet. As far as I am concerned, he has no equal in that regard; only a few other writers I know can stand in his shadow when it comes to creating wonderful prose and describing a deeply personal journey like this. It easily eclipses what I read in Shadow of the Silk Road, a story that was in my top five travel books until I read this one.

Despite the occasional mistake by the publisher in the form of a misspelling, my one complaint about Colin Thubron’s To a Mountain in Tibet would be in regards to the back story. I appreciated the historical perspective he offered about the Tibetan and religious cultures who hold Kailas sacred, but at times I felt it weighed down the story. Instead I wanted to know more about his family and his reason for the journey to the mountain to honor them.

To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron is easily one of the best armchair travel books on the market, if not the best. The writing is as close to perfection as can be attained, the story is fantastic, and the personal touch he offers is near heartbreaking. I recommend reading it only after you’ve pulled every other book off the shelf, lest it ruin all other words for you in the future.

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  1. Travel Books to Read if You’re Not Traveling | Jason's Travels - June 3, 2014

    […] on Asia is easily Shadow of the Silk Road. Well, actually, I suppose it could just as easily be To A Mountain in Tibet. Seriously. It’s hard to choose which Colin Thubron book I like best, so I flipped a coin. […]

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