People taking long trips have serious decisions to make on their book choice. Most of the world lacks options like Barnes & Noble and Borders, and you will find people trading books in hostels and cafes as though the books are worth their weight in gold (I remember negotiations in Shigatse, Tibet, in which a Grisham novel was considered worth two of any other novel . . . it is a strange market). More importantly, weight itself can be a bit issue when traveling, so a bad book is a tremendous burden. Even a great book is a burden if it is too thick (which is why one might find a copy of Joyce's Ulysses in a youth hostel in Rome . . . just couldn't carry it anymore).
You can get a feel for these decisions through Andy Hobotraveler.com, a remarkable website. He recently commented on "Crichton travel" a term coined by Clayton and I after reading about Michael Crichton's physical (and metaphysical) travels. I, personally, found the metaphysical discussions annoying, but the physical travels documented in the book were riveting. Anyway, Andy plans to put the term "Crichton travel" to the test. With plans to soon travel through the Congo, he'll do exactly that--hopefully proving to the rest of us that intense travel through relatively untrod territory is still possible.