Turning the Page for Travel: Top 15 Travel Books for Jet Setters Not Jetting
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We travel to connect. To escape. To discover. And while most of the world is grounded, wanderlust doesn’t require planes or passports and can be ignited by simply turning the page of a new novel. So, take a break from your digital screens and transport your imagination to a different time, a different place and a different story. Here’s a list of our top 15 travel books, compiled by Hilton team members. What’s on your bookshelf?
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: Travel back in time to post-Russian revolution, when Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest in the luxurious Hotel Metropol in central Moscow. If you are missing a hotel stay, you’ll enjoy this charming novel (soon to be TV series), where the staff become the Count’s extended family as he views his changing nation and the world from the hotel lobby.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Take a journey to Santiago and meet an Andalusian shepherd boy traveling “in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found.” From his home in Spain, he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
- My Kind of Place: Travel Stories from a Woman Who's Been Everywhere by Susan Orlean: Get to know the author of The Orchid Thief and a staff writer for The New Yorker, Susan Orlean as she shares her off-beat take on “travel writing” with this collection of nonfiction stories. As she explains it, “These certainly aren’t typical travel pieces — you will find no hotel or restaurant suggestions, that’s for sure — but in each one, I felt the sense of where the story unfolded was almost as important as the story itself.”
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: Hike the Pacific Crest Trail with 22-year-old Cheryl Strayed who lost her mother, her family and her marriage and took on an unbelievable challenge in search of inspiration and adventure – and healing. The national bestseller depicts the journey, mentally and physically, of Strayed who risked it all and persevered against all odds.
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert: Indulge in the sensory pleasures of Italy, practice the daily devotions in India and appreciate the balance of “worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence” in Bali throughout the pages of this iconic novel. Elizabeth Gilbert tells the story of how she left her seemingly perfect life to travel the world – and eventually meet herself.
- Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes: Take in the Italian countryside with Frances Mayes as she embarks on the most rewarding adventure of her life, setting up a villa – and her new life – in Tuscany. Best enjoyed with a glass of your favorite Italian wine.
- Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan: From Singapore to Shanghai back to Singapore, experience Asia as an elite with this popular trilogy (and also Motion Picture). Meet main characters Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young who are navigating the complexities of mixing different cultures and families together in the hilarious and entertaining novels.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: Travel back in time to enchanting Paris in the 1920s with Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley Richardson. Embrace the decade that is often referred to as Années folles (“crazy years”) and get immersed in how the golden couple navigated the free-loving and fast-living lifestyle of Jazz Age Paris while facing crisis and deception within their own marriage.
- The Martian by Andy Weir: Get ready for some planetary travel as you follow along on astronaut Mark Watney’s mission to Mars. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone on Mars with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive. You will become enthralled by how Mark uses his ingenuity and steadfastness to try to overcome the most insurmountable obstacles.
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Dive right into the endless blue expanse of the Pacific Ocean (life vest required) with Pi Patel, the 16-year-old son of a zookeeper. In an attempt to move to Canada, Pi and his father hitch a ride on a freighter and embark on an ill-fated voyage with their menagerie of animals. A harrowing shipwreck finds Pi adrift in the ocean with nothing but a wounded zebra, spotted hyena, seasick orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger for company.
- Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams: Ever wondered what would happen if someone tried to recreate the original expedition to Machu Picchu? Well, you are about to find out! Un-adventurer Mark Adams set out to retrace the perilous path that explorer Hiram Bingam III took in 1911 to discover Machu Picchu. You are going to need a Pisco Sour on hand for this one.
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares: Get ready to see some new sights and make some new friends in this heartwarming, coming-of-age tale about four inseparable girls who are about to embark on their own adventures for a summer. From the seaside cliffs of Santorini to the windy, sandy beaches of Baja California, a pair of magical thrift store pants keeps our heroines closely connected throughout their travels.
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: Get ready to travel back and forth in time and get immersed in the harrowing love story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian. Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder, which means periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time. Told from both their perspectives, witness the impact of time travel on Clare and Henry’s marriage and see how their passionate love continues to unfold.
- Love, Africa by Jeffrey Gettleman: Experience the sights and sounds of East Africa, via the narrative of Jeffrey Gettleman, a seasoned war correspondent who, for the last decade, has served as the East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times. As much as Jeffrey has a connection to Africa, he has also fallen in love with a criminal lawyer based in the United States – see how he embraces far-flung adventure, long distance relationship woes, parenthood and more while being torn between two very different parts of the world.
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss: Because it’s never too early to inspire our next generation of travelers and travel companions, Dr. Seuss paints a bright picture of the future, reminding us all, “Somehow you’ll escape, all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright place where Boom Bands are playing…Oh, the places you’ll go!”
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