Unleash your inner explorer without leaving your home. From the South American Andes to the picturesque streets of Vienna, here are thirteen books guaranteed to inspire your next great adventure.
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
“A dizzily shopaholic comedy. . . . Wickedly delectable. . . . Offers refreshing nouveau voyeurism to readers who long ago burned out on American and English aspirational fantasies. . . . Hilarious.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Before Nick Carraway was drawn into Daisy and Gatsby’s sparkling, champagne-fueled world in The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald vacationed in the French Riviera, where a small green lighthouse winked at ships on the horizon. Before the nameless lovers began their illicit affair in The Lover, Marguerite Duras embarked upon her own scandalous relationship amidst the urban streets of Saigon. And before readers were terrified by a tentacled dragon-man called Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft was enthralled by the Industrial Trust tower—the 26-story skyscraper that makes up the skyline of Providence, Rhode Island. Based on the popular New York Times travel column, Footsteps is an anthology of literary pilgrimages, exploring the geographic muses behind some of history's greatest writers. From the "dangerous, dirty and seductive" streets of Naples, the setting for Elena Ferrante's famous Neapolitan novels, to the "stone arches, creaky oaken doors, and riverside paths" of Oxford, the backdrop for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Footsteps takes a fresh approach to literary tourism, appealing to readers and travel enthusiasts alike.
“The literary reflections span the globe, with the reporters examining the cities, mountain tops and hidden hollows that sparked the creative juices for writers of all genres. Ultimately, ‘each story should leave the reader with a new perspective on the artist and the place that has somehow been a muse.’” —Karina Wetherbee, Summit Daily
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb. . . . As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
“Shaffer's writing, with its self-deprecating humour and jaunty stylishness, is a heart-warmingly nostalgic journey into another age.” —Emma Hagestadt, Independent
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
“A Gentleman in Moscow is an amazing story because it manages to be a little bit of everything. There’s fantastical romance, politics, espionage, parenthood, and poetry. The book is technically historical fiction, but you’d be just as accurate calling it a thriller or a love story. Even if Russia isn’t on your must-visit list, I think everyone can enjoy Towles’s trip to Moscow this summer.” —Bill Gates
Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743. Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.
“Outlander is a historical novel rife with details of 18th-century life in the Scottish Highlands both inside and outside a castle or large estate. It also recounts some of the events leading up to the Jacobite Pretender's Uprising of 1745. Diana Gabaldon is an amazing writer who delves deep into her character's lives and the history surrounding them, painting an extraordinary picture that truly transports the reader to another time and place.” —The Hope Chest Reviews
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she's inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she's never heard of. Until now. Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the Colonies—and the servitude he's known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can't escape and the family that won't let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not. Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods' grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home? Forever.
"This time-traveling adventure is rich in detail, the slow-burning relationship between Etta and Nicholas will leave many readers breathless, and the startling cliffhanger will reel them back for the next installment." —Booklist
Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying. Translated by Lewis Galantière.
“Saint-Exupéry is asking us to look at the world at large... it's more than a book ‘for anyone who wants to understand what it is like to be at the forefront of discovery... It's a text that would serve well anyone studying philosophy, a book written emphatically well, containing many universal truths.’” —Sam Jordison, The Guardian
Hemingway's memories of his life as an unknown writer living in Paris in the twenties are deeply personal, warmly affectionate, and full of wit. Looking back not only at his own much younger self, but also at the other writers who shared Paris with him—James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald—he recalls the time when, poor, happy, and writing in cafes, he discovered his vocation. Written during the last years of Hemingway's life, his memoir is a lively and powerful reflection of his genius that scintillates with the romance of the city.
“...reading A Moveable Feast is a little like sitting down to a banquet with a host of bohemian luminaries. Not only does Hemingway depict himself surrounded by literary mentors and competitors, he is careful to record his gastronomic experiences. Food, visual art, alcohol and racing provide the backbone of this unassuming memoir.” —The Guardian
First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era―including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall―through the lens of her own spiritual confusion, Joan Didion helped to define mass culture as we now understand it. Written with a commanding sureness of tone and linguistic precision, The White Album is a central text of American reportage and a classic of American autobiography.
“Composed as a series of high-resolution prose snapshots of late 1960's California, this elegant literary mosaic bears witness, in both its form and content, to the breakdown of the prevailing postwar American narrative as Didion’s own faith in the conventions of a stable, communicable reality begin to unravel amid all the radical upheaval.” —Martin Amis, London Review of Books
On a post-college visit to Florence, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri fell in love with the Italian language. Twenty years later, seeking total immersion, she and her family relocated to Rome, where she began to read and write solely in her adopted tongue. A startling act of self-reflection, In Other Words is Lahiri’s meditation on the process of learning to express herself in another language—and the stunning journey of a writer seeking a new voice.
“Nothing reminds you how far you are from home more than trying to speak in someone else’s tongue. As Jhumpa Lahiri writes in her gorgeous new memoir, ‘In Other Words,’ a language is as vast as an ocean; the most a foreigner can ever hope to make of it is the size of a lake.” —Joseph Luzzi, The New York Times
In the early 1900's, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant—and that her lover is married—she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations. Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters—strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis—survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
“In this sprawling book, history itself is a character. ‘Pachinko’ is about outsiders, minorities and the politically disenfranchised. But it is so much more besides. Each time the novel seems to find its locus — Japan’s colonization of Korea, World War II as experienced in East Asia, Christianity, family, love, the changing role of women — it becomes something else. It becomes even more than it was.” —Krys Lee, The New York Times
More than just a companion to the hugely popular Travel Channel show, No Reservations is Bourdain's fully illustrated journal of his far-flung travels. The book traces his trips from New Zealand to New Jersey and everywhere in between, mixing beautiful, never-before-seen photos and mementos with Bourdain's outrageous commentary on what really happens when you give a bad-boy chef an open ticket to the world. Want to know where to get good fatty crab in Rangoon? How to order your reindeer medium rare? How to tell a Frenchman that his baguette is invading your personal space? This is your book. For any Bourdain fan, this is an indispensable opportunity to hit the road with the man himself.
“The bulk of the book consists of beautifully composed photos of Bourdain's travels, ‘an honest and direct recording of the way life is lived in the rest of the world.’” —Publishers Weekly
In one volume, the screenplays to two contemporary classics, directed by Richard Linklater, and starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, about the immediate and life-altering attraction between two strangers. On a train from Budapest to Vienna, Jesse, a young American student, at the end of a romance and his European trip, meets Celine, a young French woman. They are immediately attracted. Despite knowing this may be the only time they will see each other, in the next few hours in the city of Vienna, they share everything and promise to meet again. Nearly a decade later, Jesse, now a novelist on a publicity tour, sees Celine in a bookstore in Paris. Again their time is short, and they spend it reestablishing the connection they experienced on their first meeting. Romantic, poignant, understated, and often profound, these two screenplays are sure to become classics in their own right.
“Taken together—which they should be—Before Sunrise and Before Sunset make up one of the supreme movie romances of the post-eighties era, an affair of the film and flesh to make the heart leap and the mind dance.” —Chicago Tribune