I’ve been a reader as long as I can remember. My love for it goes from a similar place as my love for travel. I get to escape to a new place, or even time, and experience something different from what my daily life offers. I love fiction, non-fiction, young adult, science fiction, memoirs, and so much more. I’ve begun setting reading goals each year, some years with specific items to check off, other years just a total number. This year it’s 30 books, and while I’m a little behind schedule I’m working to get there.
Reading also fits into my travel. When I am traveling is often the time I have to get the most reading in. Sometimes it’s on plane flights, transportation around my destination, or if I’m lucky, on a beach. On just about every trip I take I try and find downtime to read and relax. It’s not uncommon for me to drag along a handful of books for a week long trip (thank you, Kindle!).
I’m sure many of my readers are also, well, readers. So I thought I’d put together a list of some of my favorite books I’ve read over the past few years for the next time you’re looking for some more books to read.
Note: You’ll find affiliate links in this post about books to read which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you.
Fiction That Takes You To Another Place
Sometimes your need books to read that will take you to another place.
I read while in Cuba and loved how it told to story of different generations and perspectives on the country. I also loved how they described places in Havana I had just visit. A beautiful story of a young woman coming to find herself and better understand her family.
One of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. It takes place both on the East Coast and South Africa. An interesting immigrant story that showed me a perspective on the world.
A lighter book that can show the extravagance that exists in the world and an ordinary person stepping into it. Most of the story takes place in Singapore. I didn’t think I’d like this one much when it was picked for book club but the author does an amazing job creating characters you become invested in. The next book is on my to-read list.
This one might just take place in New York City but it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the neighborhood it take places in. This is Reichl’s (a famous food critic) first novel. You’ll fall in love with the story and want to head into the kitchen to cook yourself.
My favorite thing about Dan Brown books is not their story but how he describes the city they take place in. You learn it’s history, quirky facts, and can feel like you’re walking through it. When I re-read Angels & Demons while living in Rome I feel even more in love with the book and the city.
Fiction That Takes You To Back In Time
While a new place can be an adventure, I also love going back in time. Here are a few books to read that will help you feel like you’re also living in another time.
When my book club picked this book I was so tired of WWII and couldn’t imagine another novel needed to be written about it. I was entirely wrong! This story of two children before and during the war will pull at your heart strings. How Doerr describes the world and his characters will make you never want the story to end.
A story of three sisters in the Dominican Republic who become involved in the rebellion against the Trujillo dictatorship. A fictional telling of these real women turns this empowering but tragic story into a must-read.
A fictional telling of the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife. You get a chance to explore Paris in the twenties from another point of view.
Memoirs That Will Inspire You To Travel
Travelers either love or hate this book. I love it. I first read it in college and like just about everything else Gilbert has read it challenged me in just the way I needed it to. It also, a decade later, encouraged me to go to Bali. Whether Rome, India, and Bali are where you’re heading or not, there is no doubt this memoir will encourage you to take a journey of your own.
Doerr makes this list twice, but this time for a memoir of his time doing a writer’s residency in Rome while working on “All the Lights We Cannot See”. I’ve read many books about Rome since I left it, but this is the first one that captured my experience living in the city.
This book is what the movie “The Way” with Martin Sheen started in. A beautiful telling and description of hiking the Camino de Santiago through Spain. Sharing both the highlights of the journey and the spiritual experience that takes place.
Non-Fiction That Paints An Image of A Place and Time
My favorite non-fiction writers are the ones that tell a story in a way that makes you feel like you’re reading fiction. These two below do it best.
If you’re into true crime, you’ll want to read this next. It’s the story of the U.S.’s first serial killer. Larson paints a fascinating picture of Chicago at the time of the World Fair and how a serial killer takes advantage of the city. I’m just about to start another Larson book too!
Instead of telling the history of one place, in “One Summer”, Bryson tells the story of a year that changed America. From sports to politics to airplanes, he paints a picture of the world just before the depression.
Plus, Books To Read On My Shelf
From thrillers to nonfiction to some chick-lit here are a few of the books I’m looking to read over the next few months. My to-read list is constantly growing and will probably never get finished. But here are a few more books to read that I’m planning on getting to in the next few months.
Oh and then there is this pile sitting on my desk! So many books to read and so little time.