Ask any book lover and they’ll tell you having the time to read is one of the greatest pleasures of any vacation. That’s why this summer, whether you’re escaping the sweltering heat in the comforts of your room or lazing by the beach, we’ve got some great reads that we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy.
Our selection encompasses books that will rouse your inner Allan Quartermain and motivate a summer escapade you’ll remember forever.
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – Ann Brashares
A New York Times bestseller, Sisterhood was written when Ann Brashares’ colleague proposed the concept of a group of girlfriends who share a pair of jeans. The coming-of-age novel deals with themes of friendship, love and family.
Sisterhood follows the adventures of four best friends — Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen. The friends are spending their first summer apart when a magical pair of jeans comes into their lives, turning their vacation upside down.
The pant represents the support of the sisterhood and aids them in dealing with love, death, and forgiveness. Critics have praised Brashares’ fun and bright contemporary story telling; the book was adapted into a movie in 2005.
The Beach – Alex Garland
Set in 1996, the travel novel is about Richard, a young English backpacker, who finds an idyllic and isolated beach untouched by tourism in Thailand. The young man also finds an international community of backpackers who share the island with armed Thai cannabis smugglers.
Influenced by works like Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies, and the anonymous memoirs of an escaped Australian prisoner, The Beach was adapted into a movie by Danny Boyle in 2000.
The Beach has been universally praised for its fast-paced narrative and distinctive characters. The book flies through a whole range of emotions, from loneliness and isolation, to sheer adventure and exploration. All in all, an enjoyable read that will definitely inspire you on an adventure.
The Great Railway Bazaar – Paul Theroux
A travelogue written by Paul Theroux in 1975, it recounts his four-month train journey from Britain through Europe, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia and his return through the Trans-Siberian Railway. In the first part of his journey, Theroux followed the so-called hippie trail to India.
Unlike other travel writers, it’s evident that Theroux is interested more in the exchanges he has with people he meets on his journey rather than the cities he visits. They are left mostly un-described except for their railway stations.
A delightful novel that is bound to inspire some serious wanderlust.
Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck
The second travelogue to feature in our list, Travels with Charley was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. It tells the story about a road trip around the United States of America made by the author. Steinbeck was accompanied by his dog Charlie and traveled in a camper, which he named Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse. His son later said that his father was dying at the time of the trip and that he wanted to see America “one last time.”
The book details Steinbeck’s love for Montana, his surprising new impressions of the Middle West, and his horror of the race demonstrations in New Orleans.
A good, old-fashioned road trip tale, if you’ve ever wanted to travel, pick this one up.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback –Robyn Davidson
Enduring the scorching sun, fending off dangerous wild animals and equally menacing men, chasing her camels when they get skittish and nursing them when they are injured, Davidson’s journey is an inspiration.
The author was driven by her love of the Australian Outback and it’s indigenous people to take the perilous journey alone. The book is a gripping, straightforward story of Davidson’s odyssey of discovery and change.
Beware, Tracks might just inspire you to say sayonara to your life and set off on a trip of your own.
So, dear reader, we hope that these 5 books will inspire you to go out this summer. Whether it’s just a little escape or a crazy journey, go out and explore!