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I have a secret. Well, more of a secret addiction. Perhaps you won’t even be surprised. I will read nearly any travel book, eschewing opportunities to go out, ride a bike, sleep, occasionally even eat. It’s a genre I love, and I don’t know if it’s because I love the books, want to imagine myself on the trips, or am cocky enough to believe that one day I might write one. I have read some true doozies, including one about a woman who randomly fell in love with a Masai on a trip with her boyfriend, and moved back to eat putrid goat meat and fight against strong cultural taboos, like her husband’s desire for multiple wives. This last one I would not say was a great book, so much as it was a train wreck that I could not look away from, and so I did not. (The book is called the White Masai, if you were wondering).

I asked on a couple of times on twitter and the like who people like to read, and got almost no response, so I just wrote this article on the basis (mostly) of books I’d read myself, including one which I distinctly remembered having read on Dec. 23rd, 1992, which if you don’t already wonder about my ability to remember very specific life events will surely make you raise an eyebrow. And yet I routinely miss people’s birthdays. Maybe it’s part of my misanthropic charm. It’s charming, right?

And now I present to you, in lieu of a truly strange story about falling in love with a Masai warrior and moving to a pre-electric village (that’s what they call them these days) to fall terribly ill and nearly die on several occasions, a story I recently had “printed” about 9 travel books that make you say “better them than me”

Today’s story? Volcanoes. And for some of those, I’m thinking “better them than me” as well. Some things are called once-in-a-lifetime for a reason. I’m just saying.