By Mary Charie / 02/05/2019

Must-Reads On The Road [2019]

Best Books To Read When Travelling - Must-Reads Whilst On The Road

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When your days are actually filled with exciting activities, it’s hard to find time to read. Unless you’re stuck at the airport or bored in your long bus ride, you will find yourself picking up your book one way or another. Packing a book is an essential for a fight long-haul flight and connections. Personally, I love reading novels related to my next destination, both fiction and nonfiction. It doesn’t give me expectation, but the feeling of finding myself standing right at the spot which the book described gave me satisfaction.

So, I decided to ask my fellow travel bloggers what book would they suggest when you are travelling. Here’s what they have to say:

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Books to Read While Travelling

Author: Paul Theroux
Suggested by: Carol of Way Faring Views

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

Paul Theroux is inarguably the best travel writer alive today. He has taken his readers by train through four continents, by kayak through the South Pacific and into many dark corners of strange cultures. He is cranky, curious and always willing to tackle an epic quest.

Any of his books will inspire travel but the Tao of Travel is his literary traveler’s handbook. It offers ruminations on the nature of travel and the value of being elsewhere. It includes selections from his own works as well as bits from other great travel writers like Henry Fielding Evelyn Waugh and Henry David Thoreau. It’s a book that you can dip into and out of as the mood strikes and it will always inspire you to hit the road.

Author: Lucy Foley
Suggested by: Justine of Wanderer of the World

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

When travelling, I always carry a good book with me. In fact, I would deem a book almost as important as my camera or travel journal! On a recent trip to San Francisco, I found what I believe to be the perfect travel read: The Book of Lost & Found by Lucy Foley.

Firstly, I love a book that is a book within a book – call it Inception for bibliophiles! Thus, admittedly, it was the title that drew me in initially. After reading it though, I established the reasons why it was the perfect travel companion.

It involves mystery, romance and travel across England, Paris and Corsica (3 of my most favourite travel destinations). Also, when travelling, I like a book that has relatively short chapters and one that is easy to follow even if not reading throughout my entire vacation. After all, I find myself sightseeing during the day and only reading before bed.

For all of these reasons, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Book of Lost & Found. So hop on down to your local bookshop or library right now!

Author: Ann VanderHoof
Suggest by: Nicole of Family with Latitude

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

It is the story of a Toronto couple, Ann and Steve, who decide to leave it all behind and sail around the Caribbean on their sailboat.  Ann was never a sailor and talks about her hesitation to take such a big leap.  She also talks about their trials and tribulations of learning to be full-time sailors.   But you can see them grow into experts over the 2 years.  Their love of the Caribbean comes through on each page as they visit 16 different island nations, including the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago.

She lavishly describes the sights, scents and most importantly the food.  Not only does she describe the food, she includes recipes from locals in islands as well as some of her own islands influenced recipes.  Mango Bread anyone?  She also includes a dynamite recipe for a true Caribbean style rum punch.  For anyone who has dreamed of sailing off into the sunset, this is the real-life experience of someone who has actually done it. 

Author: Jason Goodwin
Suggested by: Kerstin of The Wandering Austrian

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

I focus so much on reading guidebooks about the places I plan to visit that I am ready for a change when I am actually traveling and I choose to read fiction, usually light entertainment in my favorite genre, mystery. I want to be entertained while I travel or before I fall asleep but also want a book to get me ready to experience the new locale. One example of a perfect mystery when visiting Venice, Italy is The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin.

It is 1840, and the main character travels from Constantinople to Venice to look for a lost painting, but a killer is at large and threatens the search for the painting. The descriptions of Venice helped me appreciate the city, even more, when I visited. The novel taught me about the history of Venice under Austro-Hungarian rule and got me excited about a trip to Istanbul.

Author: David Burgess
Suggested by: Mary of Move To Vietnam

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

The Samsara Project is a book I couldn’t put down the moment I started it. David Burgess did a great job in bringing his readers to another world of mystery and crime. The settings were in Wimbledon, London, John Reynolds is a well-known crime journalist somehow hated by the police for how he can get his way around a complicated news and cases. John found himself fascinated and confused with a murder case full of evidence but for any reason couldn’t bring him to any suspect. Along the way, he was able to put together his own team to solve a murder case that is clearly linked to an unexpected unsolved case.

I love how this book made me feel like a detective whilst losing myself in the story, London is a place I have never been myself but somehow makes me feel connected in every fiction and non-fiction story that I come across to.

Author: Gregory David Roberts
Suggested by: Steffi of Beach Bum Adventure

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

My favourite travel book has got to be Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I read it when I was a teenager and I have been wanting to visit India ever since. This April I finally travelled to India and it was absolutely incredible. The book inspired me with its descriptions of daily life there, how people lived in slums, the darker side to places like Mumbai while capturing the vibrant and colourful lives of Indian people. I would definitely recommend reading this book, and I defy you not to want to travel to India after reading it!

Author: Graeme Simsion
Suggested by: Kat of Kats Gone Global

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

The Rosie Project was one my bookclubs favourite books and I’d recommend it for any holiday. It’s a light-hearted and an easy read. Imagine a character like Sheldon from Big Bang that is searching for romance.

The Rosie Project is an awkward romance story set in Australia featuring Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman as the main character. Don has never been on more than one date and decided that he needs to find a partner, there starts the wife project. The book takes you on a wonderful journey about Don, his Asperger’s and learning about human relationships. Don puts the Wife Project on the back burner help Rosie to find her father. As a DNA expert, he might be able to help.

You hope for a love story from the get-go and it’s sweet watching the romance bloom between Don and Rosie who are very different yet oddly similar to each other.

Author: Alex Garland
Suggest by: Chiera of Young and Undecided

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

When I first read ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland, I was about 14 years old and it drew me in like no other book had at that point. One quote, in particular, I will always remember really affected me” Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless. Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts.

By the time the plane was airborne I’d forgotten England even existed.” The narrator, Richard, is an English backpacker and he explains that the reason he set off into the world of travel was that his girlfriend dumped him and he didn’t want to deal. While I don’t condone using travel as a way to avoid dealing with emotions, it’s tempting, isn’t it? Through Richards sarcastic and slightly cynical eyes, you join him in his search for paradise. The perfect travellers’ haven. With some major wanderlust envy, a good old fashion romance and a major literary adrenaline rush, The Beach should be on everyone priority list.

Author: Gerald Durrell
Suggested by: Ana of Merry Go Round Slowly

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

A bookworm as I am, I don’t think I could ever choose one book in any given category, but if you ask me about my favourite travelling book, I have one for you. It is Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals” and there is one special condition: you have to read this book while you are in Greece.

The book is about the island of Corfu in Greece and is actually set in the first half of the 20th century, but if you have been to the Greek islands, you already know that the time there is absolutely irrelevant. The sound of singing cicadas, the colour of the water, the olive trees and the hospitality and friendliness of the locals are timeless. And those are exactly the things Durrell writes about – these and his family, who accompanies him on this journey, being (like most of the families) loud, warm, annoying and loving. 

Author: Tim Cope & Chris Hatherly
Suggest by: James of This Travel Guide

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

Off The Rails: Moscow to Beijing by Bike is the kind of book that inspires you to travel more adventurously. In it, Tim Cope & Chris Hatherly recount their tale of cycling 10,000 km in recumbent bicycles – a journey that starts in Moscow and takes them through Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, and Beijing.

The journey brings Cope and Hatherly to some of the remotest parts of the world; places that, even today, very few travelers manage to visit. It’s a positive reminder that, even though there’s a Lonely Planet for almost everywhere, there are still parts of this planet that you can be one of the first outsiders to visit.

Mosquitos, a lack of Russian, Mongolian, and Mandarin, along with bears and Russian mobsters make this an entertaining read that combines an entertaining travelogue with nuggets of humour and travel philosophy. It’s not one of the most well-known travel books out there, but I think it’s definitely deserving of a place in your carry on.

Author: Heinrich Harrer
Suggest by: Andra of Our World To Wander

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

If you happen to be in love with the Himalayas, then Herrer’s autobiography Severn Years in Tibet should be on your must-read list. And if you haven’t been fortunate enough to see the Himalayas with your own eyes, this book will surely make you want to.

What I loved about this famous novel is that it’s a combination of a travelogue, a history book and also an adventure one. It depicts the escape of Herrer from India after being imprisoned by the British in the Second World War. He manages to get all the way to Lhasa, Tibet, where he also settles. From then on, I loved how the author stole me in the magical world of Tibet before the Chinese invasion.

Travel is not all about seeing new places and sites. It’s about getting to know the world, the people around us and their culture and traditions. In Seven Years in Tibet, you get to experience an authentic Tibet, one where workers would immediately stop their activity should they find a bug on site. You learn about the Tibetan way of life and how the people in the Himalayas praise the mountains and respect them. And also, you can take a peek in His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s early life through his exciting friendship with Herrer.

It was hard to put this book down, also because I read it while trekking in Nepal. And after seeing the movie, I can say that the book is much better as a significant number of details are lost in the film.

Author: Cheryl Strayed
Suggested by: Jean of The Travelling Honeybird

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

Now whether your a movie kinda person or a flip those pages this is a great book to take on the road. But before you decide to watch this book on one of those teeny tiny airplane screens do yourself a favour and READ the book. Why? Well the book delves into a depth of raw emotion that just isn't possible to include in a film. Wild is one of my favourite books to read when I'm off travelling as it once again reminds me that adventures are not easy. That our expectations will be smashed out of this world by reality. Travel and long term adventures aren't full of unicorns, glitter and Insta perfect photos. Cheryl takes the reader through her exceptionally personal journey from a successful marriage, to drugs sex and bad fitting boots. 

Let's be honest we've all been there.

Author: Jane Austen
Suggest by: Sherrie of Travel By Sherrie Affair

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

I always have a little time to read while traveling around the world.  Whether it be while on transit or just taking time to sit on a park bench to enjoy the scenery.  I have several favorites, but when traveling to England I have a go to book- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. 

Pride and Prejudice is one of those books for me that I can read over and over again. That being said, it really gets you in the historic mood when in England.  It is a famous love story that transports you to the early 1800’s England life and its different classes in society.  Austen depicts what everyday life was really like; the good, the bad, the struggles.  As always, Austen adds some humor to her writing too.  Be sure to visit Bath where Jane Austen lived and wrote. 

My husband purchased me the 1st edition colored set of Jane Austen novels for my birthday and I cannot wait to take this on our next holiday in England.  

Author: Hannah Kent
Suggested by: Sandra of The Smarter Writer

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

"They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from the men, and now they must steal mine."

It’s Iceland and it’s 1829.  Agnes Magnúsdóttir is to be beheaded for murder. This novel is based on the true story of the last public execution in Iceland. As the novel unfolds, we learn there is another side to Agnes’ heartbreaking story.

I love that this novel was written by an Australian author who visited Iceland to research the story and historical details with such tenacity I felt transported to not only another country but another time. It’s not a ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery, but it’s still a page-turner. It’s a beautifully crafted and written work of contemporary literary fiction.

I also love it has inspired me to travel to Iceland to see the landscape and meet the people, described so vividly in the novel.

It’s a haunting novel and Agnes’ story has stayed with me since reading. When you combine beautiful prose with an engaging plot and unforgettable characters, what more can you ask for in book?

Author by: Helen Russell
Suggest by: Taylor or Taylor's Tracks

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

A Year of Living Danishly is about an English couple who moves to the countryside in Denmark to a small city where the Lego headquarters are located. It’s a tale from the authors perspective as she investigates just why Danes are so happy and how they manage to be happy in some of the most depressing weather when days are shadowed more by darkness than by sunshine. It’s a funny account of how learning to be Danish can make you happier and how the little things really do make you smile.

I love this book because it gives you an inside look into the heart and soul of another country, to understand how it runs from its people’s outlook on life, to having a child, health care, parties, social life, taxes and religion. It delves into Denmark’s fascinating culture that is similar yet so different from other western countries. I think this book is one everyone should read not just for travel to Denmark but because it’s a story about happiness and gives outside people a new way to see things and shines on light aspects that more countries should adapt for happier people.

Author: Orhan Pamuk
Suggest by: Marya of The Beau Traveller

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

The reason why I bought this book was that I used to stay in Turkey  several years ago, and I thought that it would be great to read
something with a familiar place as a setting. And that's exactly why I  chose a book written by Orhan Pamuk, one of the most popular authors  in Turkey.

The story is about the love between Kemal and his distant relative Fusun. While Kemal came from a prominent family, Fusun was just a
shopgirl who came from a middle-class family. Their affair started  when Kemal was still engaged to Sibel, a woman who came from the same  society as his.

In the book, you will witness all the challenges Kemal had to face which will result in his building the Museum of Innocence. A museum created of  his collection through his love and the gap between the  classes of society in Istanbul.

After the release of his novel, Orhan Pamuk has opened the real museum  based on the story in Istanbul, where visitors can see the pieces of  collection told in the book.

The museum can be found around the neighborhood of Cukurcuma, Beyoglu  in Istanbul. The spot is quite hidden from the touristic place in the  city, but it's worth the journey if you love the book. The cherry on
top is that if you have the original copy of the book, you can also  use it as the entry ticket to the museum.

Avoid Monday, since the museum is closed on that day. 

I hope you find something to add to your bookshelf, if you think I missed something, let me know in the comment section below.


Are you ready for your next adventure? Don't forget to pack these best books to read when travelling! #bestbookstoreadwhentraveling #bookstoreadwhentraveling #travelbooks #travelnovelbooks #travelinspiredbooks
Are you ready for your next adventure? Don't forget to pack these best books to read when travelling! #bestbookstoreadwhentraveling #bookstoreadwhentraveling #travelbooks #travelnovelbooks #travelinspiredbooks


About the author

Mary Charie

She's the person behind this blog, she has been travelling since 2013. Torn between her itchy feet and writing, Mary found herself soaking up in the world of travel blogging. She travels on her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.

Lady Ruth Smith - 24/06/2018

I have actually read THE TAO OF TRAVEL on my way to Canada

    Mary Charie - 27/06/2018

    Thanks Ruth! I’ve only started Tao of Trave. But got caught with travelling but I’m excited to focus on it, I heard it’s a book I will not put down until I finish it 🙂

Lady Ruth Smith - 24/06/2018

Hello Mary Charie,
Thanks for sharing this great post.

Sage - 09/11/2017

I keep a reading list, and your post has inspired several new entries to my list. Thanks!

    Mary Charie - 13/12/2017

    Hi Sage! I’m happy that you found the list useful! 🙂

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