I remember the very first time I was absorbed into a book. I was in the fifth grade when my teacher realized my passionate curiosity & persistence in asking questions. She recommended that I read a book she had on her personal shelf about a girl who was traveling to the New World from England. I took her up on it and my recesses & spare time quickly turned into reading periods. Years later I don’t remember the title of the book or its author, but I do remember that it opened a floodgate of knowledge and sparked the flame that turned into wildfire: my love for a good book.
Books have done what travel has for me in that it allows me to dive into other cultures, thoughts, & beliefs. It allows me to go even further, though, in the fact that I can be transported through time, space, & worlds without ever leaving my house. Needless to say it’s also much cheaper than travel. ;) When travel and a good book come together, I’m in my ultimate happy place.
I tend to take several books when I travel, especially if they’re part of a series (I love a good series!) and if I'll be on a plane or in a car for a substantial about of time. I typically try to get a book that is deemed a “page turner” so that I can still relax on vacation. When I travel, I don’t normally read books that I have to think hard about or interpret, so I steer clear of those, Instead, I read them when I’m home with plenty of time to focus & process info. The books listed below are all page turners – at least they were for me – from many different genres and are some of my all-time favorites!
My favorite travel reads:
Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon: the story of an English World War II nurse who travels to 18th century Scotland via a magical standing stone circle. In a mixture of science fiction, historical fiction, romance, & drama, Gabaldon takes you on a trip through the Jacobite rebellions, American Revolution, and more. I’m currently on the sixth book in the series and while it’s a lot of reading (around 1,000 pages per book!) it has kept my attention & affection.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: a work of historical fiction detailing the life of a young girl living in World War II Germany. She loves stolen books, the Jew hidden in her basement, and her foster parents. Slightly happy, slightly sad, slightly upsetting, but an important read nonetheless.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: a coming-of-age book about an awkward, reluctant introvert named Charlie who is learning about life, growing up, and love through a unique & interesting group of friends. I don’t normally cry when I read books but I cried like a baby on this one. A quick read but one that will open your eyes wide open.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: a riveting story about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley highlighting their ups & downs while living in Paris. A heartbreaking historical/biographical fiction tale shows the power of love and deceit. This novel made me so interested in Hemingway outside of his books and inside his personal life. He lived a tough life and wanted love more than anything. Definitely a good book to check out if you're into authors and their backgrounds. Like I said, it's fiction but a lot of what happens in the story can be tied to something that actually happened in Hemingway's life.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton: the classic sci-fi/mystery/thriller story. Crichton's novel follows a group of mysterious scientists who are studying an organism believed to be from outer space that has deadly mechanisms. In a race to save the world, the scientists are put through challenge after challenge, and risk their lives in the process. Before reading Crichton’s work, I hadn’t been too interested in sci-fi storylines but this book got me seriously obsessed and I’ve read several of his other novels since The Andromeda Strain (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, & State of Fear). Crichton is a genius, and uses a lot of medical & scientific terminology but in a way that is easy to follow & directly relates to the plot.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: If you're into memoirs this one is one of the best I've read. It details the author's quirky & free-spirited family who has their fair share of ups and downs. With less than typical parents, the author and her siblings are required to learn to parent themselves.
Anything by Jodi Picoult: I don't personally own any books by Picoult, but when I was in high school I read the crap out of her. She almost always has an element of romance & most definitely has an element of law involved in her novels. Always a mystery, Picoult draws readers in with shocking endings and twists. My favorites are Nineteen Minutes, The Pact, Salem Falls, & Plain Truth. (PS, her older stuff is better than her newer stuff.)
Game of Thrones (series) by George RR Martin: I can’t give too much input on this series because I’m only about 100 pages into the very first book but so far it’s great! And I’ve only heard good things about the author, too. I’m planning to take the first two books from this series with me to Scotland!
You can keep up with the books I’m reading on the About page on the blog! What are your favorite travel reads?
Hi, I'm Madeline
Blogger, teacher, writer, traveler, reader. Welcome to Mad's Muses!
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