You might not be able to travel as much as you had intended this summer, but through the power of books, you can instantly be whisked away to any place – or time – you like. Below, five reads that will transport you to other places, times and states of mind.
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth.
Don’t be daunted by this book’s size. What it offers is a chance to dive into the lives of four families in a newly independent India, leisurely swimming along with the ups and downs of their fates and fortunes as Lata and her mother, Mrs. Rupa Mehra, search for a suitable boy for her to marry. Exquisitely written and peopled with unforgettable characters, A Suitable Boy is a book you’ll want to live in.
1970s Sri Lanka
Running in the Family, Michael Ondaatje
The best-selling author returns to his childhood home in Sri Lanka – unearthing memories, impressions and a whole vivid cast of characters. The book’s atmospheric descriptions draw you in, making you almost feel the lush, tropical heat radiating off the page. Both lyrically beautiful and devastatingly funny, this memoir will have you setting an alert for the next flight to Colombo.
The Pillow Book, Sei Shonagon
Dreaming of Mount Fuji? Take a trip back in time to the Japanese imperial court through the journals of Sei Shonagon, a high-ranking courtesan in service to the empress. Packed with intrigue, sly observations and lyrical descriptions, The Pillow Book brings the period to life with joy, wit and sparkling intelligence.
A Voyage of Discovery
The Pilgrimage, Paolo Coelho
Many have read – and adored – The Alchemist, Coelho’s enchanting account of a magical dream quest. But few know of the book that inspired this tale. A mystical retelling of the author’s pilgrimage to St. James of Compostela, The Pilgrimage poses big questions and guides the reader along their own path to higher knowledge.
1970s Los Angeles
Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid
Mention L.A. in the seventies and a picture instantly springs to mind: long, sun-dappled days, winding drives and girls in perfectly boho outfits. All set to dreamy guitars and a steady stream of Fleetwood Mac. Taylor Jenkins Reid takes this vision and brings it to life, giving you a backstage pass to the ins and outs of the greatest band that never was.
Bonus: Your ultimate travel companion
The Tao ofTravel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road, Paul Theroux
After fifty years of skipping between planes, trains and automobiles, acclaimed travel writer Theroux takes the time to reflect on what he’s learned along the way. Interspersed with selections from other writers who’ve inspired him, from Vladimir Nabokov and Mark Twain to Graham Greene and James Baldwin, this charming book is part travel memoir, part miscellany, and part musing on the glorious things that exploration brings to our lives.