Travel Read: They Came to Baghdad

The best travel read is a story that carries away, has a good twist or two and takes us to exotic and foreign lands. After reading such a book, one is filled with yearning to visit those alluring places.

My latest travel read: They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie.

Today I will share a short review of my latest travel read. On the plane down to Slovakia, I read They Came to Baghdad in Swedish and as an ebook. I greatly enjoy reading Christie’s books, they are innocent, yet sharp portrayals about human nature and motives. This particular book suited the occasion as it was about traveling – the heroine ends up in Baghdad after a seemingly innocent encounter with a man with the looks of an angel. Unlike most of Christie’s works, They Came to Baghdad is a spy novel.

I will not write much about the plot, other than that I enjoyed it. However, what really caught my attention were the portrayals of traveling and Baghdad. Traveling in the 1950s sounded like such an adventure (a very romantic adventure, I’d like to add) compared to contemporary tourism. People socialized with their co-travelers, they smoked on the plane and experienced exciting places on their way to the final destination. Christie’s description of Baghdad, Basra, and other places in Iraq was interesting. I have never been in that part of the world but the description did feel realistic. The novel did not induce much wanderlust (other than curiosity in the 1950s) or any wish to go to Iraq but it was, nonetheless, fascinating.

It is my firm opinion that one should always read a book in its original language whenever possible and unfortunately, this novel was proof of that opinion. It felt like it had been translated in haste, as there were a lot of really odd spelling mistakes in it. Not good! I mean, translation is a skill that should be taken very seriously. On the other hand, reading an ebook was a positive experience. It was not my first ebook and it probably won’t be my last one. I have a reader which conveniently fits into my handbag so I might leave the print copies at home from now on.

Travel tip for avid readers: get a tablet or an e-reader, it will save a lot of space while you can still enjoy plenty of great books on your travels.

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