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Armchair travel

Because the weather has finally turned to spring time, my mind is now turning to summer.  Maybe it’s how crazy busy things have been, but I’m thinking about vacation like a man stranded in a desert thinks about water.  In a little over a month, I get to go away for a weekend to one of my favorite places: a cabin on the Susquehanna River I’ve rented a few times with some of my closest friends.  The primary activity at that cabin is sitting reading books side-by-side in Adirondack chairs, and I’m already starting to fantasize about which books I’ll bring with me.

But there are other books I’m fantasizing about now, too: the kind that transport you to faraway lands without a plane ticket.  I’ve idly looked back at old vacation photos and all the bookmarked internet photo lists of beautiful places I absolutely must go to someday.  This year’s vacation is a family one that should be lovely, but won’t involve going to some foreign land or immersing myself alone in a culture and a place that I’ve never experienced before, which is my favorite thing about vacation.

So now I’m yearning for books to do it for me, and I need your recommendations.  Travel writing is a-okay in my book, but it doesn’t have to be non-fiction.  A well rendered novel about a far off land that will make me feel like I’ve been there will do the trick, too.  (I occasionally forget I haven’t been to Morocco because of how much Esther Freud’s Hideous Kinky sticks with me more than 10 years after reading it.)  So, what have you got for me???

6 Responses to Armchair travel

  1. Kim Bowman says:

    Shyam Selvadurai’s _Funny Boy_ is a great trip to Sri Lanka in the late 70s and early 80s, just before the outbreak of their civil war.

    I’m currently re-reading _As I Lay Dying_. Picking up fiction written in and about a specific time and place always transports me, and puts me to thinking about what was happening in the world at that time.

  2. Lynn Coulter says:

    Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes, appeals to the gardener and the traveler in me.

  3. Joelle says:

    While I generally try to get everyone I meet to start with book one of the Betsy-Tacy series, you could just read BETSY AND THE GREAT WORLD as a stand-alone. If you’re not familiar with B&T (I’ll try to refrain from saying WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???), then I’ll tell you that it’s set right before WWI and Betsy travels by steamship to Germany, and then on through Italy with brief stops along the way in Paris and Switzerland, and finishes up in London. It’s such a fabulous trip, and to see Europe before those wars is a real treat. The author did that trip herself. Or something like it, anyway. This would be considered YA.

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