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The power of literature goes unmatched. The ability to transport you to an entirely different world as an entirely different person is simply magical. So much so, I spend my day job teaching little minds to love books and find the same adoration for texts in all forms as I do. There’s no better way to take an adventure than with a book. I’ve been meaning to share this list for a long time and am excited to finally pull it together. Although this is only a sampling of what I’ve been reading lately (I hope to do a round-up post every three months or so), these are the books that have shaped my travels and fueled my wanderlust. Check them out and I would love to hear your suggestions below! (FYI, I left my obsession with suspense novels off this list. But know that I’m typically always reading a lil’ Paula Hawkins at the same time).
Even if your greatest adventure this week was simply deciding what to have for dinner, these books will fuel your wanderlust for the world around you.
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
When I was training for my half marathons, I became obsessed with reading books about running. My brother got me this book after seeing it’s incredible reviews and I immediately understood why. Even if you don’t like running, this story reveals the secrets of the reclusive Tarahumara Indians in Mexico who’ve been hidden away for hundreds of years. With various detour including scientific explanations and short tales, this book is perfect for any adventurer, whether or not they run to get there. Spoiler alert: eat chia seeds for special powers.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
If you haven’t read this book yet, get to it, STAT. A woman sets out on the Pacific Crest Trail, a hike from Mexico to Canada, alone. Her stories along the way will fill you with undeniably motivation and hope to overcome the obstacles you have in your own life. All praise Cheryl. When you’re finished, the movie is an excellent follow-up.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
A book that should be in everyone’s library, this coming-of-age story follows a young boy’s road trip across the United States. It’ll make you want to pack up a camper van immediately…and be grateful you’re not a teen anymore.
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini
I adored Hosseini’s first novel, The Kite Runner and was eager for this one to live up to expectations. From Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos, this author shares the intimate details of families lives and how they shape the future.
Rough Translation by NPR
Okay so, not a book. But this podcast has opened up my eyes to true stories and experiences from all over the world, form a Somali prison to an Indian yoga studio. It’s like a book that never ends! Check out Om Alone in India, one of my favorite eye-opening episodes thus far.
The best way to experience the world is with a clear mind and, most importantly, an open heart. These books will hit you right in the feels while taking you through the uncovered alleyways of the world’s most romantic places.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This is the only book on the list I have yet to dig into! It’s next up on my Nook due to the overwhelming positive review of over 87,000 readers on GoodReads. So much of traveling is based on expanding one’s creativity, and this book leads the way.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
This book was given to me by my future mother-in-law and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across it before since it catered so much to my literature-loving heart. An older gentleman runs a bookshop-pharmacy that prescribes books to fix a broken heart. You are sure to get lost in this one and not want it to end.
A Working Theory of Love by Scott Hutchins
I bought this book on a trip to my favorite city, San Francisco to keep as a momento. Although this book hasn’t gotten as much hype as the others, it will take you on an unbelievably moving and thoughtful journey set in city by the bay. Bonus, the book is only $3 now on Amazon!
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Would it even be a book list if this wasn’t on it? Forgo the movie, it’s only mediocre, and truly step into Elizabeth’s shoes to experience the unity of love and travel in all forms.
This is all I have been reading lately, I even left a couple off (namely The Book Thief, etc.) that have been talked about over and over again. If you’re interested in the history of Europe, specifically, WWII, these stories go in depth to the small cities and the stories they have to share. These reads best prepared me for our road trip across France.
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
A story told from the perspective of different siblings who end up all over the world is sure to pull you in. From Brazil to Northern Africa, this tale will not only break your heart, but it will slowly put it back together again. You’re in for a ride with this one.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
This is a riveting tale of three woman on opposite ends and viewpoints of World War II. While difficult and painful to read at times, it opened up my eyes to the range of experiences during this time in history.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
I’m 100 hundred pages in on this story and I can’t put it down. Two sisters with two very different views of the world share what it was truly like to have your country go to war.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl’s story collides with a German soldier and their worlds unfold. Not quite a love story, not quite an adventure story, but rather a mix of both leaving you feeling everything from unbelievable joy to deep sorrow. But that’s what books are for, right?
What are your recent book recommendations?