Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Adventures in the the Great Wide Somewhere // Travel Books That Aren't Travel Books

When Hannah mentioned that this week's Top Ten Tuesday was about travel books, I knew I needed to write a post about books that inspire me to travel. Then I thought a little more about it and wanted to do a little different twist to the topic. My informal title of this would probably be 'Books You Wouldn't Expect that Inspire Me to Travel' OR 'Books Whose Settings are a Character on Their Own' OR 'Unconventional Books That Make Me Want to Pack My Bags' What do I mean by this? I mean, I've read books where the setting of the story is such a big part of the story it feels like a character and/or while the book itself isn't about travel, it still made me want to go to that place immediately.

View from St Mary's in Oxford, England

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center is a book that made not only want to carpe every diem but to really push my own boundaries and do one those wilderness adventures that the heroine does in the book. It is an incredibly inspiring read about finding yourself and pushing your own boundaries.

My Oxford Year by Julie Whelan is an emotional read--full review coming soon--that I didn't know I wanted or needed. While the plot will work for some and not others, this book is also a love letter to Oxford, in my opinion. I have been to Oxford twice, it's a soulmate city to me, and Whelan really does the scholarly city justice. I texted Hannah after reading and said let's just go live in Oxford for a month because it is that good!

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith is probably my most unique pick for this list. It's a mystery/crime book about a private detective and it takes place in London. I fell into this book like you fall down the rabbit hole. I just loved reading it, the setting made me feel right at home in my favorite city in the world. For me, it's the subtle, quiet descriptions a book has of its setting that usually wow me and make it resonate with me after the final pages...this book did that.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley had me actually contemplating how I could rent a cabin in Scotland by the sea and live out my days. The ocean, the cliffs, the beach, the grassy hills, it was all so distinctive in my mind's eye that I fell in love with this book pretty early on. It is everything beautiful and right that I love about Scotland.
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Lady of the Eternal City
(fourth book in Mistress of Rome series)
while in Rome.
Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn is a historical fiction taking place in 80s AD. I read it a few months before going back to Rome and it was perfect timing! It gave me such insight into the Colosseum days and the history that was made that is still present today. It was incredible to learn about this time period and then to see it all in real life shortly after. 

In the Woods by Tana French is another one that might seem odd. A murder mystery/thriller taking place in Ireland brought the everyday living context to life. While the story was sad, I couldn't help but feel like the setting of small town Ireland really was brought to the forefront.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt no joke helped me manipulate my sisters to taking a trip to Savannah, Georgia. The beautiful squares, the housing architecture, the quirky inhabitants. Savannah is the main character in this book and is written about in such a lovely way that I couldn't help but book a plane ticket there. Note: don't go in August, you will be miserable.

Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci is a perfect modern-day foray into the city of Eternal Love. It gives you Roman Holiday feels as the heroine is running around the city, exploring the culture, tasting the food, and finding herself. Of all the books I've mentioned, this book has the capability to make you feel as if you are IN ROME while reading on your couch.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole takes place on the beautiful Isle of Skye off the coast of Scotland. I read this while I was in Scotland and going to Skye and it was incredible. The beautiful landscape contrasted with the difficulty and harsh living circumstances that accompanied the island in the 40s, this book will and should make you want to book a flight and a ferry immediately. It is to this day, the most beautiful place I have ever been.

Who's That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane bring the city of Nottingham in England to life. The pubs, the city center festivals, the houses, I loved reading about this English town. I've never been, shocking, but I plan on making it a priority the next time I'm there. McFarlane's books in general always being the English setting to life so if you're looking to couch escape to England, pick up any of her books.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley is a historical fiction taking place in Russia so duh, I'm all about it. It brought the city of St Petersburg to life in a way that the Bronze Horseman doesn't. It's a lighter affair with the city that is my number one travel destination. I'd also like to note that ALL of Susanna Kearsley's books do this to me. Coast of Scotlant, French cottage, smalltown Germany, Russia, all her books make me want to travel to where they take place immediately!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn give life to France during some of the worst moments in our collective history. Exploring the important role of female spies in WWI and WWII, this book has emotional moments but there is beauty in this darkness. The friendships of the women combined with the beauty of the French countryside, this book gives you travel inspo and emotional feels.

Hope these books can give you a little bit of a different kind of travel inspiration! Don't forget to check out my previous posts that I've done of Best Travel Books, Travel by Page to England, Travel by Page to Scotland, and Travel by Page to Italy!

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