Best books for armchair travel

Hello there blogosphere,

I have been having a super depressing few weeks; I think it’s because while normally I go away every summer, with the house and the baby and the dissertation I’ve been unusually stationary this summer. I know, it’s a tough life (sarcasm). However, while I dream of summer 2018 and a hopeful return to some actionable wanderlust, here are some great books that you can read if you too are stuck at home and longing to see the world. It’s (almost) as if you’re there yourself!

  • One of my best gals reminded me of this book recently, Undress me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman. This book follows two friends as they go to China in the 1980s, just as it was starting to open up again to foreigners, while one of them starts to descend into a slow madness played out against communist China. Amazing, and also heartbreaking. And, true!
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Want to travel to south east asia but are too poor/ too employed/ it’s too far away? You can do so while through the eyes of a normal American girl (Rachel Chu) as she encounters the ultra rich of Singapore.
  • Eat, Pray, Love. Ah the cliche and the classic, but still – it’s an amazing way to virtually travel to Italy, Bali and India.
  • Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. Okay, this is time travel as well as physical travel too, because although you can go to London’s east end now, the days of the east end as represented by Worth no longer exist. However, it will certainly expose you to a whole new world and society (and isn’t that, after all, the value of travel?)
  • Behind the beautiful forevers by Katherine Boo. A real-life story of corruption and family in Dharavi slum, Mumbai. Recent statistics put c. 70% of Mumbai residents as slum dwellers, and not are all what we imagine. This book certainly will open your eyes to the beauty and horrors of life there.
  • Shanghai Girls/ Dreams of Joy by Lisa See – Shanghai and China from the Japanese invasion to Maoist times. Boy am I glad I wasn’t born in China.
  • Little Princes, Connor Grenan – I will always want to go to Nepal after reading this book, which will may you cry all the tears.
  • The hundred foot journey, Richard C. Marais – France. India. Food. What could be better?
  • Anne of the Island – Oh some good old Canadiana, and as I have a ginger daughter, I can’t wait to both introduce her to this book and take her to PEI!
  • Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff – Plane downs in a remote area of Papau New Guinea, unearthing (likely) the world’s last truly indigenous and untouched population.
  • Roadtrip Rwanda by Will Ferguson. Unlikely to travel to a previously war-torn country to go see the Gorillas? First of all you’re missing out, and second of all, I completely understand. Never fear: read this book, and you’ll almost feel as if you’re there next to him.


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