Skip to main content

Round the World Reading List.

I get so much more out of my travel when I have the chance to read about each place before and during my visit.  Setting the stage with historical and political context, getting excited about the mood and culture of the place, feeling a connection through personal stories, whatever!  I lean toward nonfiction, especially if it reflects my passions (social justice, Christianity, and food, to name a few), but I love the occasional page turner beach read too.

Can you help me make my travel reading list??  I'd love to hear about anything that would be fun to read in any of the regions I'm planning to visit!  My hope is that this becomes a living document that changes with all your feedback!

(Of course, if I'm asking you for your recommendations, I may as well return the favor -- I included but crossed out the books I've already read that I'd recommend you read in these places!  For more of my book recommendations, here I am on goodreads!)



In or near Oaxaca, Mexico
1. Frida by Bárbara Mujica
2. The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande
3. Tangled Routes by Deborah Barndt
5. The Years with Laura Diaz by Carlos Fuentes
6. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

In or near Cuba
1. Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur
2. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

In or near Bolivia/Argentina
1. Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
2. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
3. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
4. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
5. Traveling With Che Guevara by Alberto Granado

In or near New Zealand/Australia 
1. In a Sunburned Country (aka Down Under) by Bill Bryson
2. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
3. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
4. Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz

In or near Singapore
1. The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

In or near Thailand (and/or Burma/Myanmar and/or Southeast Asia in general)
1. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
2. First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
3. Off the Rails in Phnom Penh by Amit Gilboa
4. We Were Soldiers Once... and Young by Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway
5. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
6. Bones That Float by Kari Grady Grossman
7. Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof

In or near India
1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
2. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
3. Sold by Patricia McCormick
4. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
5. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
6. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
7. The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
8. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

In or near South Africa/Namibia/Botswana/Zimbabwe
well, kinda near.  Africa's really big.  and there are a lot of good books that take place there.
1. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
2. Conversations With Myself by Nelson Mandela
3. My Son's Story by Nadine Gordimer
4. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
5. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
6. King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild (Congo)
7. A Thousand Sisters by Lisa J. Shannon (Congo)
8. Do They Hear You When You Cry by Fauziya Kassindja (Togo)
9. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families by Philip Gourevitch (Rwanda)
10. It's Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong (Kenya)
11. The Zanzibar Chest by Aidan Hartley (Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia)
12. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
13. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana)
14. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (Sierra Leone)
15. What is the What by Dave Eggers (Sudan)
16. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)

In or near Israel/Egypt/Jordan
1. Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
3. In the Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars by Kevin Sites
4. The Day Christ Was Born by Jim Bishop
5. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
6. Exodus by Leon Uris
7. My Life by Golda Meir
8. The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop
9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
11. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

In or near Turkey/Italy/Spain/Portugal/Morocco
1. The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
2. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
3. Break of Day by Colette
4. Perfume by Patrick Süskind
5. The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak
6. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

In or near England/Iceland
1. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
2. Gold by Chris Cleave
3. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

General travel books
1. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
2. You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
3. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
4. Backpacked by Catherine Ryan Howard
5. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner



Comments

  1. Great list! For in/near Botswana, I would recommend the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. It's fictional but gives an enjoyable sense of the culture. We actually just posted four book recommendations too: http://intentionaltravelers.com/4-amazing-novels-that-will-transport-you-to-another-land/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great idea, Michelle! I read the first one a while back, but had completely forgotten about them! I should definitely get back into the series! Look forward to checking out your list!!

      Delete
  2. Nice list. Here is a list of what I've been reading while living and traveling around SE Asia. I update the list as I travel (or plan to travel) to new countries. Also Holy Cow is a popular read for travelers heading to India. http://marthartw.blogspot.com/2015/02/attempting-to-offset-my-ignorance-my-se.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh awesome, I will check it out! Thanks so much for the recommendations!!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

What exciting news!  I was thrilled to find out on Twitter that Elizabeth from Elizabeth and Dale Abroad nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!  Thanks so much, Elizabeth!! This award is an opportunity for female travel bloggers to recognize each other, support each other, and get to know each other better.  I loved reading Elizabeth's answers, and it's been really fun to think about my own!  Plus, it's just really heartwarming to be so welcomed and supported by the female travel blogging community even though I'm so new to it!  You all are the best! With that, let's get to it!  The procedure is simple.  Thank the blogger that nominated you.  Answer her 10 questions.  Nominate 10 female travel bloggers.  Ask them 10 new questions. happy ladies on an air conditioned bus in Italy My answers to Elizabeth's questions : 1. What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel and why ? I have to be honest, I'm real

10 Days in Vietnam.

Ten days in Vietnam is not enough time. That's just a fact. But I had three weeks free, and I couldn't let go of the idea of seeing either the Philippines or Vietnam. So I made the decision that made every other backpacker think I was a weirdo, but made me really happy: I visited both. Do I wish I'd spent more time in each? Of course I do. But do I wish I'd skipped either for the sake of seeing more of the other? Not a bit. But there's still the issue of how to spend those precious 10 days in Vietnam. The stunning natural beauty of the Phong Nha Caves? The peacefulness of Dalat? The picturesque rice fields of Sapa? The hustle and bustle of Hanoi or Saigon? Some combination of the above? In the end, I decided to aim right for the center. There's no one right answer, of course, but it did teach me a lot of lessons about what's right for me. Day 1. I flew into Da Nang, then headed directly to Hoi An. I strolled around the busy streets, then happened

The Jesus Trail.

I started thinking about hiking the Jesus Trail almost a year ago. I'd always wanted to see the actual sites of the Bible stories I'd grown up hearing. But a big tour group didn't seem right for me. I wanted more time for reflection, more flexibility, and more quiet. Enter the Jesus Trail. The Jesus Trail is a 65km hiking trail that takes you from Nazareth to Capernaum. This is a route likely walked by Jesus, as he grew up in Nazareth and later lived in the Capernaum area. Landmarks along the trail include the site of His first miracle (turning water into wine), the site of the feeding of the 5,000, and the Mount of the Beatitudes (blessed are the peacemakers, etc). But they also include olive trees, wheat fields, goats, and manure. To me, it was just as special to observe these mundane sights and sounds and smells that would have filled Jesus' senses throughout his life. The trail seems relatively underrepresented on the tourist circuit. We only met one other pi