I’m sort of taking the trip of a lifetime next month. I am pretty sure I don’t know anyone else who would pick Bosnia as their ‘trip of a lifetime’ destination, but that’s neither here nor there, as the old folks say.
I’ve read a ton of books over the past months about the Western Balkans. I’ve always had an affinity for what Anna Politkovskaya might have called ‘a medium sized corner of hell’ (Chechnya was the small one), but I have been cruising through books for the past few months.
I don’t do this with every place I go, because I don’t exhale more time in the day, but I do it with many. I did this before a few weeks in Newfoundland, I have read hundreds of books at this point in my life on the Arctic. This nerdy habit of mine has deepened my learning and sense of experiential quality when traveling, especially to off-the-beaten-path destinations. Additionally, I hope that someday someone will wander across this and be wondering what books are a must for their forthcoming Balkan adventure. They will more likely than not be blessed with the same comments I have been:
“Watch out for landmines!”
“Is there anything left to see there?”
“I don’t think I ever thought I’d tell someone to ‘have fun in Bosnia!”
As they say in millennial slang, haters gon’ hate.
Not in this list: my winter jackpot find, a €29,95 copy of Sarajevo: A study in the origins of the Great War by RW Seton-Watson:
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia
The Bridge on the Drina
Balkan Ghosts: A Journey through History
Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy
Must Peruse, at the very least:
The Mountain Wreath
S., A Novel about the Balkans (everything by Slavenka Drakulić is wonderful)
They Would Never Hurt A Fly: War Criminals on Trial at the Hague
My War Gone By, I Miss It So
One thought on “Balkans pResearch”
Pretty sure you will be the 1st person I’ve known who has visited Bosnia.
Also, I love the pre-trip research/absorbing-culture-through-literature practice of yours! I try to do this whenever possible (a combination of books and cinema), but it sounds like you definitely take it a step further.