10 Travel-Themed Books

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What do books and travel have in common? Both experiences offer an escape from everyday life. So this summer, if you’re unable to take a holiday (or one that is long enough), why not journey through the pages of a book? Below is a list of travel-themed books guaranteed to transport you to another time and place. Know of other good reads? We need recommendations!

  1. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: after his mother dies and his father re-marries, a twelve year-old boy journeys through another world, where he encounters the heroes and monsters of well-known fairy tales — but these characters are twisted and flawed, exposing the boy to a new and grittier reality. This is a book about the loss of innocence that comes with the passage into adulthood.
  2. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: in this brief memoir, Hemingway captures the magic of 1920s Paris, when the city teemed with literary luminaries such as Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. The dynamics between Hemingway and his artist peers are colorful and electric, and Hemingway’s characterization of Paris is as relevant today as it was then.
  3. The Journeyer by Gary Jennings: reading this book about the adventures of Marco Polo is like taking a long, languorous magical carpet ride. In the span of two decades, Marco ventures from medieval Venice to the Mongol Empire, encountering the customs and curiosities of various cultures. If you like historical fiction, this is a great read.
  4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac: take a road trip across mid-century America with Jack Kerouac and his beatnik friends in this semi-autobiographical novel that made a profound impact on a whole generation of poets, writers and musicians. This novel is a literal and metaphorical journey in self-discovery and friendship.
  5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: you know what they say when the going gets tough: the tough get traveling. Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir chronicles her year-long sojourn in three different countries — Italy, India, and Bali — following the dissolution of her marriage. In Italy, the author indulges in eating and relaxation. In India, she discovers spirituality through prayer. And in Bali, she finds love.
  6. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: have you ever fantasized about a total escape from society? This is the true story of Chris McCandless, a recent college grad who in 1992 renounces the comforts of family and society for a dynamic vagabond existence that ends tragically in the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer’s book is a balanced portrait of youth’s unbridled spirit and foolish ideals.
  7. Alexander the Great trilogy by Valerio Massimo Manfredi: Alexander the Great didn’t conquer the western world by lounging in his palace. In this engrossing trilogy, historian Manfredi recounts Alexander’s conquests through Persia and the East, deftly weaving in Greek mythology.
  8. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts: although on the sensational side, this mostly autobiographical novel is nothing short of riveting. Following his escape from an Australian prison, Roberts flees to India, where he re-invents himself several times over. The author re-defines the notion of cultural immersion as he not only learns several Indian dialects but also develops deep ties with a tour guide, a Mafia boss and a green-eyed expat beauty.
  9. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone: this fictional account about Michelangelo isn’t particularly well-written, but if you can overlook that, you’ll enjoy the stories about how each of Michelangelo’s masterpieces came to be. The novel also provides an interesting perspective on how politicians influenced art during Renaissance Italy.
  10. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: there are many aspects to this classic and profoundly influential novel, including the long and perilous journey undertaken by a fellowship of allies tasked with saving Middle Earth, i.e., the world. Tolkien’s work may be of the fantasy genre, but age-old realities pervade this deliciously long, immemorial masterpiece. You’ll mourn the end of the book.

About Melody Demel

Melody is Senior Manager, PR for Boingo Wireless, where she is responsible for media relations, brand building and thought leadership initiatives. Melody is a die-hard Nebraska Cornhuskers fan and retired NCAA DI college field hockey player.
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