Travel the world through the pages of a book

By: Vicky Longster

March 3, 2021

On World Book Day we’re celebrating books and travel and why they go so well together.

Whether you’re using books to plan your trip, learn about your destination, pass time on a long flight or enhance those blissful days round the pool, there’s a book for you. Our guest blogger today is Vicky Longster who works in our social media team. In her spare time, Vicky writes @longsterslibrary Instagram account and she’s our go-to person for book recommendations.


This World Book Day, we’re sharing some books that will transport you to some of our destinations. Captivating storylines, powerful prose, and compelling characters offer one of the best forms of escapism, especially in a time when so many of us are bursting with wanderlust and waiting patiently for that moment we can get back onboard. These picks will whisk you away to faraway places, and may even inspire your next big adventure.

New York City – City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert

Experience the glamour of New York City through the eyes of Vivian Morris, a 90-year-old woman who spent her formative years immersed in NYC’s theatre world throughout the 1940s. This light, bright, booze-filled romp through the 1940s follows Vivian on her journey of self-discovery in the Big Apple. You can expect a whole host of quirky characters and carefree adventures, from eccentric showgirls to all-night parties and an exciting love affair.

The West Coast – Wild, Cheryl Strayed

A beautifully honest, blunt, and witty memoir following Cheryl Strayed on a solo adventure. With no experience of hiking, Strayed decides to take a trip along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. Cheryl walks for three months, encountering bears, sickness and a whole slew of interesting characters, and self-discovery.

North Carolina – Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Get ready to be transported to the vibrant, nature-filled marshlands of North Carolina. Having been abandoned by her family at the age of eight, Kya is ostracised by the local town and dubbed ‘marsh trash’. Kya becomes intwined with local folklore as stories and myths circulate about this mysterious ‘marsh girl’. Follow the story of Kya’s growing maturity, confidence, and intelligence, intertwined with the story of a local murder.

Los Angeles – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins-Reid

Fancy escaping to old-school Hollywood? Lying in the north-western part of downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood has earned its spot as a legendary place in the cinema industry all over the globe. This novel follows the dramatic life of one of the biggest stars in the industry as she unveils all her dirty laundry. Explore Hollywood with Evelyn Hugo as she fights to get to the top.

Cuba – Next year in Havana, Chanel Cleeton

Havana, a place so vibrant and colourful that it looks like living art. Get a taste of Cuba with Chanel Cleeton’s stunning Next Year in Havana. A dual timeline story across two different time periods: 1958 and 2017. Part historical fiction, part sweeping love story, this immersive novel reveals a saga of hope, courage, love, patriotism, and, most importantly, the story of Cuba and its people.

India – The Henna Artist, Alkea Joshi

Alka Joshi brings 1950s India to life with her lush and vivid writing. With its colourful descriptions and sumptuous storytelling, The Henna Artist brings to life the story of seventeen-year-old Lakshmi, who escapes from an arranged and abusive marriage to the vibrant city of Jaipur. The interesting well-drawn characters and the captivating storytelling will draw you into this clever tale.

Hong Kong – Exciting Times, Naoise Dolan

Set-in present-day Hong Kong, Exciting Times is a witty debut novel telling the story of a spiky young Irish woman teaching English in Hong Kong, surprised by the complications of love and desire. Told from a perspective deep inside Ava’s mind. Dolan expertly approaches the anxieties and miscommunications of class and gender with snappy, page-turning writing.

Nigeria – Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Join Ifemelu on her journey as an immigrant from Nigeria to the United States as she is confronted by a confounding shift not just in cultural behaviours but in cultural identity. While Americanah is widely praised for its portrayal of life in America as an African immigrant, its portrayal of Lagos is similarly enlightening. You will feel the capital come alive; you can almost smell the fruit in the markets and the rush of the traffic.

“The world only exists in your eyes— your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to”, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Vicky recommends a Kindle or other e-reader for reading on your travels. They take up less space, can be read at night and, because they weigh much less than the equivalent books, help reduce your carbon footprint when flying.

Vicky Longster

Vicky Longster

Vicky Longster works in our social media team and is our resident go-to person for reading recommendations.

Categories: Our Experience