There is an upside to every story. Whether you are quarantined, self-isolate at home or have limited places to go with lots of places shutting down, this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on your reading. We have selected 10 books that fuel your wanderlust when you can’t travel.
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1. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
An all time favorite! Once you start reading you won’t be able to put down this iconic book.
In this memoir Elizabeth Gilbert describes how she had everything a woman is supposed to want out of life – a beautiful home, a loving husband, and a thriving career. But the one thing missing was happiness. Taking her life into her own hands she gets a divorce and spends one year traveling the world, discovering different aspects of her personality in the process.
2. Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
Talk about drama! In his best-selling book, Krakauer, a journalist, is on a mission to write an article for Outside Magazine on climbing Mount Everest. He details the dramatic events that took place on the mountain in 1996. After making it to the summit, the climbers get caught in a terrible storm on the descent. Lives are lost and heroes are born in this epic Everest story.
3. Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What is it like to immigrate to America? It is not all rainbows and unicorns for Ifemelu, a young woman from Nigeria. Fleeing from military dictatorship she leaves behind her love Obinze, her friends and family. See America through the eyes of a foreigner, an immigrant, a black woman. Live through Ifemelu’s challenges and her first experiences with racism. How will she cope? And will she ever reunite with the love of her life, Obinze?
4. Two Steps Forward – Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
Have you heard of the GWT Book Club, Sisterhood of the Traveling Books? If you haven’t, you should join now to get introduced to amazing books like Two Steps Forward. The Camino de Santiago is a medieval pilgrimage way leading to Santiago de Compostela. Zoe is faced with the sudden and unexpected death of her husband and decides to hike the Camino de Santiago to find a new sense and direction for her life. Martin, a British engineer, is there for a vastly different reason. He has designed a cart to serve as an alternative to backpacks for hikers and pilgrims. Several encounters along the way turn into a something more on ancient roads.
5. Rowing the Atlantic – Roz Savage
Roz is another woman who has it all. On the surface her life looks perfect, but then she begins an extra-marital affair. When her husband finds out she has to make a choice – do what’s expected, or do what makes her happy. In search of a new meaning of the word happiness she turns to the one thing she was good at – rowing. From her divorce settlement money she bought an ocean row boat and signed up for a race to row across the Atlantic – solo! Her 3000 mile journey from La Gomera to Antigua is full of fear and suffering. Her spirit is admirable. In her own words: In case you have formed the impression that I am some kind of athlete, adventurer, or adrenaline junkie, I should make clear at the outset my near total lack of qualifications for this undertaking. How will this incredible adventure end?
6. The Alchemist – Paul Coelho
In this modern classic Santiago, a shepherd boy from Andalusia, has recurring dreams of going on a journey to find a treasure. A fortune teller reveals the meaning – he should travel to Egypt and find a treasure by the great pyramids. On the way he meets an Alchemist who changes the course of his life. Instead of discovering the treasure he seeks – a worldly one – he discovers himself.
7. The White Queen – Philippa Gregory
Travel back in time! If you like historical novels, any Philippa Gregory book is a brilliant choice. In The White Queen a beautiful young widow, Lady Elizabeth Grey, seeks help from the King of England, Edward IV. All she wants is to reclaim her late husbands estate as inheritance for her sons, but it is love at first sight for Lady Elizabeth and the King. They get married in secret, which causes chaos in the carefully orchestrated society of 15th century England. Suddenly it is brother against brother and the War of the Roses begins.
8. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to The World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
Who doesn’t love chef turned author turned travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain? Medium Raw is his second book and memoir. Following a secret meeting of powerful chefs the story covers a variety of subjects. Bourdain talks about the transformation of his own life as well as the changes he sees in restaurant culture all over the world.
9. Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux
In Dark Star Safari Paul Theroux describes his journey from Cairo to Cape Town. He travels on buses, trains, canoes, cattle trucks, and sometimes even needs an armed convoy. As a member of the Peace Corps Theroux had lived in Africa previously. Now he returns to assess the impact Western aid has on this continent. His account is not just a deep insight into history and politics, but also a vivid portrayal of the beauty of Africa.
10. The Beach – Alex Garland
At a chance meeting in Bangkok young British backpacker Richard receives a map to a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand known as ‘the Beach’. Supposedly unknown to tourists it sounds like the perfect paradise. The Beach is a legend among young backpackers. Along with a French couple Richard goes on a quest to get off the beaten path. They succeed – but will they find happiness, or discover that ‘perfect’ is just an illusion?
Do you have a favorite travel book? Let us know in the comments!
Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.