7 Books that'll take you around the world

Stuck at home this summer? It might be a bummer having to stay indoors working or hanging out at home, but that doesn't mean you mind can't wander outside your door. Try traveling through a book for those days you need an escape.
These top picks will let you experience a new place this summer without even having to leave your couch.

NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND – BILL BRYSON (1995)

Anglo-American author Bill Bryson lived the life of a true ex-pat spending nearly twenty years living in and around England. In this novel, Bryson takes a final tour of Britain before bidding farewell to move back to the States. Expressing the underbelly of British charm, this book covers every unique corner of Britain that shapes the subtle differences in people across regions. Bryson writes with a wit and humor unique to travel writers who take great vigilance in the little details of a place.

DEEP SOUTH – PAUL THEROUX (2015)

The American South is a cultural hub unlike any other part of the nation. But in this novel, Theroux goes beyond the pleasure of sightseeing. He sets off to explore the poorest areas of the rural South across Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina. The stories of the people become just as important as the history in the landscape throughout Theroux’s tender writing.

BUILDING HONG KONG  – JAN MORRIS (1988)

Welsh writer Jan Morris highlights the changing architecture of Hong Kong from its Manchu days all the way through to the 1990s. Focusing on images to capture the reader’s attention, this book is packed with rare photographs of historical and modern Hong Kong accompanied by Morris’s thoughtful essays on the city.

THE SHADOW OF THE SUN – RYSZARD KAPUSCINSKI (1998)

Africa is an ambitious place to tackle through words alone, but Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski captures the spirit of the changing continent from the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland’s state newspaper. Kapuscinski discovers Ghana through the early days of independence, the progression of Rwandan genocide, Nigerian poverty and the natural wonders of the Sahara desert. A diverse coverage of Africa will help you uncover the lengths of the land, cultural contrasts between countries and issues that have forever been imbedded into the history of its people and places.

FOUR SEASONS IN ROME – ANTHONY DOERR (2007)

Take a look at Rome through Anthony Doerr’s relatable and descriptive writing on one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Doerr’s visits to piazzas, temples and ancient cisterns are enchanting and his visit to the vigil of the last days of Pope John Paul II is deeply moving. This book gives a great tour of the city meeting locals from butchers, bakers and grocers from different Roman neighborhoods along the way.

THE OTHER PARIS – LUC SANTE

Paris often gets a recognizable reputation as a romantic and fashionable city, but author Luc Sante decided to take a different look at the City of Light. Sante traces the seedy side of the city guiding the reader through pre-Haussmann streets, warehouses, homeless shelters and the hangouts of original Parisian bohemians. A critical and interesting look at labor conditions, prostitution, crime along with its underground artists and poets illustrates Paris far from a tourist’s perspective.

THE ART OF TRAVEL – ALAIN DE BOTTON (2002)

Maybe you are planning to go somewhere new this summer. If that’s the case, take Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel along with you. Instead of telling us where to go, de Botton figures how and why we should travel. Valuing the anticipation, adventure and details of a place, this book is the ultimate travel Bible to turn any tourist into a blossomed nomad.
Originally published by Vox Magazine on June 14, 2017

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