1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Travel Book Gift Recommendations By Travel Bloggers

by Suzanne Fluhr on December 17, 2018 · 26 comments

Travel Book Gift Recommendations By Travel Bloggers

Disclosure: This post with travel book gift recommendations by travel bloggers contains “affiliate links” to Amazon.  If you follow a hyperlink from here to a book on the Amazon site and purchase the book, Boomeresque will receive a tiny small commission on the sale that does not affect your price, but will help a tiny bit to support my blogging and Zentangle habits. Supposedly, if you stay on the Amazon website and decide to purchase a projection TV, a rolex watch, and a year’s worth of dog food, Boomeresque will also receive a commission on those purchases. This has never happened, but hope springs eternal. 


I was a card carrying member of the Nerd Club at an early age. In my case, the “card” gave me permission to borrow books from the Free Library of Philadelphia. I treasured my small collection of books I didn’t have to return. My parents indulged my reading passion at holiday time. Next to the pair of new socks, they always included a book. (I hope I have not conjured up visions of Oliver Twist. There was no gruel involved and I never felt deprived.)

Girl reading to a dog

Awww. (Photo credit: San Jose Library, CC Lic. 2.0)

I’m still happy to receive book presents. However, now, instead of finding them wrapped in colorful paper under a tree, they arrive by email, with an attached Amazon gift barcode. As much as I still love the feeling of curling up in a chair with a real ink on paper book, nowadays, I’m most likely to purchase ebooks. After several down-sizing moves, and my penchant for travel, ebooks just make the most sense.

I do a yearly blog post with holiday gift suggestions for book readers, but this year, I’ve enlisted the help of fellow travel bloggers. (From their spelling, you’ll note they learned English in different English speaking countries). I asked them to share their favorite travel books with a short review. Some are fairly new. Some you’ll recognize as classics. Some are novels. Some are non-fiction. Some were life changing. Maybe you’ll even find one for a gift to yourself!

(I’ve included the link to each book on the Amazon site. If you click on the link, you will also be able to see and purchase the book in other forms, i.e. digital, hardback, paperback, audio.)

The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafron
Recommended by Laura Hartley of the What’s Hot Blog

This book is widely touted as one of the best pieces of Spanish literature. It takes the reader on an adventure through the back streets of Barcelona as we follow the protagonist Daniel on a most strange quest. After discovering a book by a mysterious author, he ends up embroiled in a thriller involving a horrifying man with no face, determined to burn every copy of this author’s work. Alongside this is Daniel’s own coming-of-age story that is seamlessly woven into the main plot line. With every line you become more and more invested in Daniel’s story, rooting him on in every aspect of life.

This book captures your heart from the moment you opens its pages because Carlos Ruiz Zafron’s writing is so enchanting. His beautiful prose is almost poetic in nature and filled with vivid imagery and detailed descriptions, which is why its such a great read for those travelling to Barcelona. Although this is set in the years following WWII, many of the places and streets mentioned are still present in modern day Barcelona and popular amongst literary travellers.

This books transports you to another world and makes you want to hop straight onto a plane to Spain, which is exactly what the very best of books should do. The Shadow of the Wind should be required reading before any visit to Barcelona!

Author: Cheryl Strayed
Recommended by Claudia Tavani of  My Adventures Across the World

Wild is one of the most empowering novels for both men and women. It’s the true story of a woman who, after the death of her mother and the suffering that followed, decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from southern California all the way to northern Oregon. Throughout the trip she was mostly alone, but she also occasionally met other people who were hiking the trail and who helped her on various levels. It’s a story that shows that even after an incredible rough time, things improve and life somehow fixes itself. It’s a story that shows the importance of listening to our inner voice and proves that, for as much as the world is described as an unfriendly, scary place, people are actually nice and genuine and they do help one another. It’s an incredibly positive message that goes well beyond the traveling and hiking alone debate, and a book that everyone should read.

The Happiness of Pursuit
Author: Chris Gulibeau
Recommended by Lora Pope of Explore with Lora

This book inspired me to follow my travel dreams. In his book, Chris sets out to visit all of Earth’s countries by age 35, a personal quest he wanted to accomplish. Throughout Chris’ journey,  he realizes just how many people exist like himself, each one pursuing a challenging quest that’s important to them. Using examples from the people met throughout his travels, Chris reveals how anyone can bring meaning into their life by fulfilling a personal quest.

Reading this book inspired me in many ways. First, it made me realize that much of my unhappiness stemmed from the fact that I was not working towards my personal quest. In my case, the quest I want to accomplish is identical to that of the authors: to visit every country in the world. Reading about how Chris succeeded in achieving this, along with the stories on how others conquered their own quests, filled me inspiration and confidence to set out on my own journey. Today I am travelling the world and have made it to 49 countries and counting. The happiness of pursuit will help anyone fulfill a quest, whether it is travel related or not.

The Expatriates
Author: Janice Y K Lee
Recommended by Riana Ang-Canning of Teaspoon of Adventure

I picked up The Expatriates by Janice Y K Lee right before a family weekend on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada and I couldn’t put it down. I tore right through this book and was completely engaged the entire way.

The Expatriates is a story of three women who are all expats in Hong Kong, but who lead very different lives, until events bring them together. The book does an amazing job of showing you what expat culture in Hong Kong is like. There are so many books about visiting a place, but not so many about picking up and moving there as an expat. The author also does a really beautiful job of sharing the expat experience from different vantage points – whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, single or married, parent or child-less, and Asian or Caucasian. I loved the strong female voices that drove the narrative and the unique stories they told. I would definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a compelling read about women’s stories and an in-depth look into expat life in Hong Kong.

A Thousand Days in Venice
Author: Marlena de Blasi
Recommended by Maria Spyrou of It’s All a Trip to Me

As soon as we buy our plane tickets to some place new, the next thing I do is order two specific types of books, a guidebook and a novel set in the destination we’re visiting. My goal is to start reading the novel before actually going to the place mentioned in it and then finish it while there. But I almost never have time to do so. Therefore, I end up reading the book after we’re back home.

Our recent trip to Venice was no exception. I purchased A Thousand Days in Venice way before our departure date, but I only started reading it after we were back home in Athens. It actually somehow felt better this way as I was able to revisit every corner of Venice through the novel’s pages and the precious memories they brought back.

What I like most about this novel is the way the author narrates her life’s true story. In a sweet and nostalgic tone she writes about her relocation to Italy and the ways in which she managed to adapt to a brand new life in the name of love. The indisputable protagonist of the novel is Venice itself. Marlena de Blasi does an excellent job portraying the city’s unique beauty and enchantment. Another feature I love about this book is that it is sprinkled with mouthwatering Italian recipes tested by the author herself, a chef by profession.

So, either planning a trip to Venice or having just returned from one, this book is a good choice and it will surely make this floating dream of a city linger in your mind for a bit more.

Wine and War
Authors: Don and Petie Kladstrup
Recommended by Penny Sadler of Adventures of a Carry-On

The subtitle: The French, The Nazis, and The Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure, tells you a lot about the contents.This book is a fascinating read about winegrowers all over France who joined the resistance during WW2, to stop the Germans from drinking, and stealing, every last drop of wine in their country.

At the time I read this book I was preparing for a trip to Alsace, France; the last place to be liberated from the Nazis. I read about the Hugels, a very well-known family with roots in Riquewihr since the 1600s. Their tasting room is located in the heart of this storybook village—just a few doors away from where I stayed.

I was already excited about visiting the region of Alsace and this book just added to my interest. Wine and War is a culture, history and geography lesson. Ultimately it made my visit to Alsace more rich.

The Motorcycle Diaries
Author: Ernesto Che Guevara
Recommended by Priyanko Sarkar of Constant Traveller

One 500cc Norton bike, two best friends, Che Guevara and Alberto Granado, and an entire continent to explore. The Motorcycle Diaries was meant to be a travel classic even if Guevara hadn’t become a revolutionary after undertaking this epic journey.

At age 23, in January 1952, Che Guevara began exploring South America from Buenos Aires to the Atlantic Coast, on to Chile and then upwards through Peru, Colombia and eventually Venezuela. All along, Guevara notes his own interactions with the world around him as he goes from one destination to the next. As a reader, you see the change developing in Guevara as he begins to get affected by the plight of people in his own continent.

The Motorcycle Diaries is a strong reminder of how travel can change those who visit places with an open mind and its power to make us more tolerant of each other. The epic nature of Guevara’s journey is just an additional bonus for the reader of this beautiful travel memoir. In fact, this book made such an impression on me that I have begun preparing to travel South American for a year in 2020. Who says books aren’t transformative?

Only in Boston 
Author: Duncan J.D. Smith

Recommended by Stuart Forster of Go Eat Do

Only in Boston is the most recent publication in the Only In guidebook series written by Duncan J.D. Smith. It’s the third of the books that I’ve bought, after the London and Edinburgh guides, because I enjoy Smith’s in-depth look at urban hubs. Rather than just looking at a city’s chief attractions, he explores quirky and little-known aspects of a destination. They are fun to read and informative.

Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is known as ‘the cradle of liberty”. I’m currently considering a return to the city and have been drawing up a ‘to do’ list based upon places listed in the chapters of Only in Boston. The book is eminently readable because each of the 106 chapters is well-researched and runs to just a couple of pages. I’ve enjoyed picking it up while travelling on public transport and reading about unusual aspects of the city’s heritage. Myths are debunked. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the city and now can’t wait visit again!

Around the World in 80 Days
Author: Jules Verne
Recommended by Elisa from World in Paris

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne is one of my favorite travel books, the kind of book I like to read again from time to time. This travel novel also inspired my own around the world trip, but I did it in one year instead of 80 days!

The book tells the adventures around the world of Mr. Fogg, a 19th century English gentleman living in London with his French valet, Passepartout. Fogg’s adventure starts at the exclusive Reform Club, where he bets a very high sum of money that he can travel around the world and be back to London in 80 days. During their journey, Mr. Fogg and Passepartout live through many adventures, but also some misadventures that threaten the success of the journey. Indeed the Detective Fix believes Mr. Fogg is behind a very important bank robbery in London and wants to arrest him during the tour!

Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France. He wrote many incredible travel novels, the source of inspiration for many travelers like me along with sea and space explorers.

The Beach
Author: Alex Garland
Recommended by Jenny of TraveLynn Family

The Beach by Alex Garland is a classic amongst travellers and for good reason. The opening pages describe a naïve young backpacker arriving for the first time on Th Khao San in Bangkok, perfectly capturing the mixture of excitement and trepidation which define the beginning of any travelling adventure. The souvenir-vendors, beer-shops, hostels and noodle-bars fighting for space on the backpacker strip evoke a sense of wonderment and adventure in any intrepid traveller.

The book goes on to perfectly contrast the squalor of backpacker life in Bangkok with the pristine sun-drenched islands in the south. The protagonist eventually joins an island community far removed from everyday life, free from mortgages, office work and bad weather. Despite the story not ending well for the community, the lifestyle it describes seemed very enticing then, and all these years later, it seems no less appealing!

I have travelled many times to Thailand over the years. First as a student backpacker on a shoestring budget and more recently with my family when my boys were just 1 and 3 years old  (you may like to read my itinerary for Bangkok with young kids). Thailand will always be one of my favourite travel destinations. It may be the food, the people, the temples, the beaches, but a lot of my obsession with Thailand was kick-started with Alex Garland’s evocative novel.

Author: Gregory David Roberts

Recommended by Lauren Monitz of The DownLo

If you enjoy international thrillers, Shantaram is a fast read and serious page-turner, perfect for long flights or lazy beach days. The best-selling story of an escaped convict from Australia, the narrator, Lin, flees to the slums of Bombay on a fake passport to start a free clinic amongst the seedy underworld of India. From criminal acts to seductress spells, drug dens, and mafia ties, it’s exciting, dangerous, and even sexy at times.

Each character interaction highlights the human aspect of community, interpersonal relationships, and excitement of international travel. Inspired by a true story, it’s one of those “real world is stranger than fiction” plot lines where you learn not to judge a book (or character) on its face value. After a long bidding war and fan anticipation, it’s finally in the process of being turned into a TV series so read the book before you see it on the silver screen.

One Year Off
Author: David Elliot Cohen
Recommended by Lisa Lubin who likes to share her ultimate travel tips.

Years ago, I had developed the travel bug and was slowly trying to figure out how I could travel move. I started devouring more and more travel narratives. About one year before I finally left home for my own “one year off,” I read David Elliot Cohen’s book, One Year Off.  It was like a revelation to me.

The book tells the story of a family — husband, wife and their three children — who sold their sold their stuff, left their jobs, and set off for a round-the-world journey. I devoured it — soaking up every exciting adventure, every neat connection they made, and being more inspired than ever. I thought, if they can do it with three kids, I can certainly do this by myself. This book really helped me set in motion my own plan to take my ‘year off’ which I did just about 8 months later. My trip turned into three years traveling around the world solo and was the best thing I’ve ever done.

The Happy Isles of Oceania
Author: Paul Theroux
Recommended by Ben of  Horizon Unknown

One of my favourite travel books is The Happy Isles of Oceania, a wonderfully crafted travel narrative focused on adventure, written by Paul Theroux. From the very first pages, it’s clear Theroux has a beautiful way with words. Every stroke of his sea-going kayak paddle feels like you’re right there with him. Every spray of ocean swell is felt as Theroux navigates his way through treacherous seas and shallow lagoons. It is his interactions with the locals that makes this book different from any other I’ve read. Theroux is quite blunt and says it how he sees it. His wonderful flow of words depicts every encounter as if you’re standing there in his shoes.

This is one book I struggled to put down until I had finished the final page. It’s a great read whether you’re on the road or just dreaming of your next adventure.

Author: James Clavell
Recommended by Kavita Favelle of Kavey Eats

Do you ever tear through a good book, racing headlong, only to slow towards the end, because you can’t bear the thought of it ending? That was me when I approached the end of James Clavell’s Shōgun, which I read shortly before my first visit to Japan.

The story is a fictional tale that weaves in threads from a number of real life people and incidents. It centres on the life of an English navigator who shipwrecks on a Japanese shore in an era when Japan was closed to foreign visitors and influence. Over time, he learns to appreciate and even love the alien culture he has been stranded in, and his own status moves from reviled savage to trusted advisor and respected samurai.

Not only is the story itself gripping, I also loved the insight into the life and culture of Japan in the feudal era. I found the book a wonderful way to absorb Japanese history, and even a little of the language, in an effortless and captivating way.

Wolf of the Plains
Author: Conn Iggulden
Recommended by Stefan and Sebastien of Nomadic Boys: A Gay Travel Website

One of the best books we’ve read during our travels is “Wolf of the Plains” by Conn Iggulden. It’s the first of 5 novels about Genghis Khan and his family, starting with his humble upbringing as a young boy living in the wilderness of Mongolia, to becoming the leader of one of the largest empires ever known to man.

We loved this book because in addition to being educational (I knew nothing about Mongolia or Genghis Khan beforehand), it’s completely ‘unputdownable’. It’s written so well that after reading the last page, you want to read the next books in the series about the Genghis Khan family: Lords of the Bow, Bones of the Hill, Empire of Silver, and Conqueror.

The most important thing of all was that this series of historical fiction about Genghis Khan and his dynasty inspired our trip to Mongolia, as well as our Trans-Siberian adventure across Russia. We think anyone visiting this part of the world will particularly enjoy reading these books.

Color: A Natural History of the Palette
Author: Victoria Finlay
Recommended by Jess of Longest Bus Rides: Stories and Advice from an Off-the-Beaten-Path Solo Female Traveler

Years after reading this book I visited Peru. On a day tour from Cusco I learnt how indigenous women use a single organism from a plant and mix it with any number of liquids in varying amounts to arrive at color dyes ranging from red to green to orange to purple. The demonstration was magical as color came to life.

Chapter names range from Ochre to Indigo and each describes the named color’s place in history, the arts, and today’s world. One color has been available since ancient times, coming from minerals. Another is from the blood of bugs. The knowledge is completely eye-opening and has colored my travels forever more (pun intended!).

Dense with data, this book is not a quick read, but the stories are addicting. The next few pages might take you into a home in Afghanistan or into the art world, to South America, or to Italy. I value authors who spend years studying their subject as it relates to science and humanities and collate their data and experiences into entertaining stories of travel around the world.

One Thousand Chestnut Trees: A Novel of Korea
Author: Mira Stout
Recommended by Jo Castro of Lifestyle Fifty

One Thousand Chestnut Trees is a mix of memoir and fiction covering the tumultuous history of Korea told in retrospect by three people: a young woman (who travels on a journey of self discovery to her mother’s homeland), her mother, and her maternal grandfather. I loved the understory, showing that any search for heritage, connection, and self identity is littered with emotion, but in the end helps us understand ourselves and the ones we love better, even if we don’t live close to them.

The story goes back to when the Japanese invaded Korea in the early 1900’s, and moves onward to the 1970’s.

As an expat, I think it also gives resonance to how expats and immigrants often really feel. They might live in or adopt a new country and grow to love it, but perhaps never really feel as if they belong to that country. Yet, when they return to their motherland, they find they don’t really fit in there anymore either.

No Chopsticks Required: My Family’s Unexpected Year in Shanghai
Author: Katrina Beikoff

Recommended by Jan Robinson of Budget Travel Talk

In 2008, after five moves in five years, Australian Journalists Katrina and Smarty Beikoff, together with their two young children, were happily settled on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Smarty was editor at a small local paper while Katrina was a freelancing Stay-at-home Mum. Life was good and settled – until a phone call offering jobs as foreign experts on a Shanghai newspaper.

After initially rejecting the offer, Katrina is surprised to find herself telling Smarty, “We have to go to China – if we don’t we’ll always regret it”.

Their year in Shanghai saw huge upheavals in China. There were massive snowstorms, devastating earthquakes that killed an unbelievable 80,000 people, the Beijing Olympics, and the baby killing melamine-tainted milk scandal. These devastating events were observed both as a newspaper journalist and a mother.

Katrina relates the difficulties involved in transplanting their family with candid humour. She plunges the reader into Shanghai’s local food scene and shares the delight of discovering hidden gardens amidst the deafening excitement of the week-long Chinese New Year explosions. She finds and employs Tina, a Chinese Nanny or Ayi who quickly becomes part of the family.

When Smarty is offered a solid job back in Australia, Katrina is thrown into turmoil. There is her challenging job, her love/hate relationship with Shanghai’s chaos and smells, and her charmingly warm and funny Shanghainese friends to consider. Plus, her and Smarty have never been tighter and the kids have adapted and are thriving.

Should they stay another year in this tricky, confusing yet captivating city?

Tales of a Female Nomad
Author: Rita Golden Gelman
Recommended by JT and Julien of Cultures Traveled

Our favorite travel book is a vibrant and inspiring tale of reinvention. In 1986, during a two-month separation from her husband, Rita travels to Mexico in an effort to revive her spirit and hopefully her marriage. Little did she realize it was the start of a new life that would take her around the world.

When she first arrives in Mexico to live with a Zapotec community, the villagers run away in fear. But, by the end of her month-long stay, they give her tearful hugs goodbye. Her love of people and their culture forges new friendships across the globe.

Her travels take her to Central America, the Galapagos Islands, and eventually, Indonesia where she lives for eight years and develops an unusual friendship with a Balinese prince. More than a travelogue, Tales of a Female Nomad, is an intimate story about the people and traditions she discovers along the way.

Rick Steves Florence and Tuscany
Author: Rick Steves

Recommended by Taima Ramsey of Poor in a Private Plane

Rick Steves has been my favorite travel companion for the last 10 years. If you are planning a trip to Tuscany, I highly recommend  picking up a copy of Rick Steves Florence and Tuscany. The guide is jam packed with information and makes it easy to plan your own DIY fly and drive Tuscany adventure.

Starting in Florence, the book features walking tours, including stops along the way for food and coffee breaks.  In addition having the option to pick accommodations, tips on restaurants and activities based on your budget are greatly appreciated.

Making your way down into wine country, the guide features a number of smaller city guides for places like Siena, San Gimingano, Montalcino, Montepulciano and Lucca, just to name a few. Each mini guide features walking tours and recommendations for any budget.

All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doer
Recommended by Jorge and Cláudia Bastos Travel Drafts

The book All the Light We Cannot See is a breathtaking book and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The story takes place in France, more specifically in Saint-Malo, during the Second World War. It is about a blind French girl and a German orphan.

The book describes how the characters view the world and how the historic circumstances influence their lives. A blind girl is surrounded by an uncertain world, but is able to portray every inch of the city of Saint Malo and the characters who surround her. The German boy loves radios and science and just wants to live his own destiny, but is limited by the war and politics. Although this is a sad story, it shows there is always light, even if you can not see it.

The book is brilliantly written and makes you want to pack your bags and visit Saint-Malo, which I did very soon after. It didn’t disappoint.

I loved every minute spent reading this book. It is a great book to read while, before or after visiting Saint-Malo and France.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.

― Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Travels with Charley
Author: John Steinbeck
Recommended by Martha of Quirky Globetrotter

When it comes to literary American classics, John Steinbeck always graces the top of the list. What’s less common is hearing praise about John Steinbeck’s book, Travels with Charley: In Search of America. Steinbeck brings the readers along with him on his road trip across the United States in hopes of understanding why we’re so attached and defined by where we live. Steinbeck and his dog Charley board up together in his trusty truck with a camper and drive to find themselves and the meaning of being an American.

Steinbeck transports readers into each locale with his beautiful and talented knack for writing. He describes the characters he meets in such complete detail  it’s hard not to feel as if you know them personally. The scenery not only moves Steinbeck, but also his readers, as his intrepid journey continues through the mountains, valleys, plains and desert. If you weren’t a lover of travel before this book, Steinbeck’s realistic and captivating descriptions will change your mind.

Notes from a Small Island: A Journey Through Britain
Author: Bill Bryson
Recommended by Ben Reeve of The Sabbatical Guide

I could have picked pretty much anything by Bill Bryson as my favourite travel book, but if I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be Notes on a Small Island: A Journey Through Britain.It might be because it’s written about the country I’ve grown up in, or maybe because it was the first Bryson book I read, but this is a travel book of which I have such fond memories.

Bryson’s journey around Britain is told in a way that captures it in time, but also makes it timeless. His observations on the world around him, and the way he dips in and out of the conversations he overhears, bring a human element to his travel writing that is very similar to Paul Theroux. He also backs this up with incredible research on the history and facts about the places he visits, meaning this book is not only entertaining, but also incredible informative.

The author is probably best known for his humour. I had a quick read back through my Kindle notes before writing this review, and here’s one I captured that made me laugh again on reading it. “They were having a festival of litter… citizens had taken time off from their busy schedules to add crisp packets, empty cigarette boxes and carrier bags to the otherwise bland and neglected landscape.” This for me is Bryson at his hilarious best. Self-deprecating, observant, cutting and well-researched, he is a man who can turn even the most mundane of adventures into an exciting read. If you are looking for just one travel book to add to your gift list, this one be the one I’d suggest.

One Italian Summer
Author: Pip Williams
Recommended by Kirralee Baker of Escape With Kids

In this non-fiction travel memoir, an Australian family buys some land in the country to live a simpler, self-sufficient life. But, first they need to learn how to make it work! So, they take their two primary school aged kids to Italy for 3 months to work on farms under the WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) scheme. So brave!!

Mum Pip recounts their experiences in a real, down-to-earth manner that draws you into their life in the Italian countryside. And sometimes makes you grateful that it’s her going through it all and not you!

One Italian Summer lets you do something from the safety of armchair travel, even if you might not do it yourself. It’s not all sunshine and roses, but there’s a lot of joy in with all the hard work. At the end, you feel so inspired, not necessarily to do the same thing, but inspired to try something big and scary. To live a life of adventure.

The Lost City of Z
Author: David Grann
Recommended by Tamason Gamble of Travelling Book Junkie

Unlike now, at one time the world was seen as an extremely large place. People couldn’t just jump on a plane and end up on the other side of the world in relatively no time. Perhaps that is why I really enjoyed reading The Lost City of Z by David Grann which follows the story of one very determined explorer, returning the reader to a golden era of great exploration and adventure.

The story follows in the footsteps of well-known explorer Percy Fawcett and his obsession with uncovering a lost city which he has named Z. The idea sounds quite wonderful until you realise that this lost city is supposedly hidden in the heart of the dense Amazon rainforest, close to tribes known more for their cannibalism, rather than their warm welcomes. Unsurprisingly, the small expedition group that headed into the rainforest back in 1925 never returned and the mystery has remained ever since.  Does the city of Z actually exist?

Fast-forward nearly 100 years and David Grann finds himself reliving Fawcett’s adventure by entering the jungle himself in search of answers.  What happened to the great explorer and is there really a lost city?

My Brilliant Friend
Author: Elena Ferrante

Submitted by Jennifer Aspinwall of World On A Whim

On a recent vacation to Hawaii, I finally read My Brilliant Friend, the first book in a series by Elena Ferrante. The book had been on my reading list for awhile as it has not only been touted as a must-read by many of my closest friends, but is also extremely popular in book clubs and on your local library hold list.

Ischia, dubbed as the lesser known Capri, used to be a locals’ vacation spot. The island had successfully stayed under the radar even though it actually boasts three Michelin star restaurants. However, with Ferrante’s series increasing in popularity, more and more travelers are inspired to visit this volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, the spot where the protagonist spends her summer and comes into her own.

After reading the first book in the series, I have already included the island of Ischia on my upcoming South of Italy trip. Evidently, I am not the only one to do so.

You don’t have to remember all these books. Add this to one of your Pinterest boards:

Travel Book Gift Recommendations By Travel Bloggers

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike December 17, 2018 at 1:42 am

These are some great suggestions! The Golden Retriever reminded me of Until Tuesday! Suzanne, the affiliate links did not work for me when I clicked on them.


Suzanne Fluhr December 17, 2018 at 2:21 am

Thanks for letting me know about the affliate links, but of course, I have no idea why they aren’t working for you. Maybe you have some type of blocker installed or maybe Amazon is messing with me. I’ll wait to see if others have the same problem. Sigh.


Haralee December 17, 2018 at 9:53 am

Great list of titles. I have read just a few but of course jotted down 2 more. What a treat to read a quick why this book is recommended. I love to read a book before and after I have visited a place.Thanks


Suzanne Fluhr December 17, 2018 at 11:33 am

I agree. I often read the same book both before and after visiting somewhere.


Patti Morrow December 17, 2018 at 11:41 am

Some excellent reading suggestions here. Some I’ve read, but many I have not. It reminded me that I’ve always wanted to read “The Happiness of Pursuit” and now I shall.


Suzanne Fluhr December 18, 2018 at 10:13 pm

They reminded me of all the books I haven’t read. I think I need a “no phone after something o’clock” so I’ll start reading in bed instead of going down the rabbit hole of social media.


Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski December 18, 2018 at 12:43 am

You got me with the first book. I love Barcelona and I want to make sure to read the book about it if I get a chance to go again.


Suzanne Fluhr December 18, 2018 at 10:17 pm

Barcelona is also one of my favorite cities to visit, especially so I can check on the progress of the Sagrada Familia construction. BTW, if you’ve never seen it, you would probably enjoy the film L’auberge Espagnole I guess it’s a French movie, but it’s in a lot of different languages since the characters come from all over Europe to study in Barcelona, but their common language, their lingua franca so to speak, is English.


Jeff & Crystal Bryant December 18, 2018 at 7:21 am

Suzanne, we agree that reading is a habit that should be nourished in our youth. It gives us all an equal chance to travel through the words of others. Thanks for sharing this interesting collection of books. Looks like we have some reading to do.


Pat December 18, 2018 at 8:14 am

What a great travel read book list. Though I have read many of those mentioned, I had never heard of Wine and War. This will make the perfect gift for the wine loving Frenchman that I married.


Suzanne Fluhr December 18, 2018 at 10:20 pm

That book was recommended by my friend Penny Sadler, a wine travel blogger. Your husband might enjoy following her blog,


Mr Excitement December 18, 2018 at 9:39 am

Nice idea. Good range of suggestions.


Suzanne Fluhr December 18, 2018 at 10:20 pm

We both need to put down our phones and start reading real books again—at least at home.


Julie McCool December 19, 2018 at 10:28 am

Love this list of travel books and added several to my reading list. I’s also suggest The Paris Wife, and Love and Ruin by Paula McLain.


Suzanne Fluhr December 20, 2018 at 11:46 pm

So many books. So little time.


Patti December 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm

My Life in France by Julia Child. Just sayin 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr December 20, 2018 at 11:49 pm

I actually read that book which is strange because someone gave me a Julia child cookbook when I got married—the first time—and the only thing I ever made from it was a mustard sauce. OTOH, I quite enjoyed reading her autobiography.


Leyla Giray Alyanak December 19, 2018 at 4:55 pm

So fun! Reading the list brought back memories of books I’d read decades ago… I mean, Shogun! And others I haven’t read, or even heard about. As I prepare my list for 2019 (I’m a Taurean, I make lists!) I’ll be sure to include some of these…


Suzanne Fluhr December 20, 2018 at 11:51 pm

I’m a Taurean too. I also make lists, but then I lose them. Obviously, they’re not usually digital.


Karen Warren December 21, 2018 at 3:45 pm

I always like to read books about a country before I visit. I’ve read some of the ones on your list, and I’ll save the others for future visits…


Marilyn Jones December 22, 2018 at 7:23 am

I found it fascinating the different books other travel writers suggested and why. Thank you for bringing all the suggestions to the forefront. I’ll be checking some of them out!!


Lori December 24, 2018 at 9:11 am

Ooo, so many good recommendations here. I’m with you (long live Nerds and Bookworms!) there’s nothing like a good book to inspire you for life. Something grabs hold and stays with you, and is such a great spark for world travel. I’ve read some of these but I already have my 2019 reading list done, thanks!


Johanna Castro January 1, 2019 at 12:00 am

What a wonderful selection! So many great reads – some I’ve read and others which have gone onto my list of must-reads! Thanks for including my suggestion too. Have shared on SM 🙂


George January 22, 2019 at 7:58 pm

Happy New Year 🙂 I guess I’m a bit late to the party, but I thought of adding Bruce Chatwin (for example, “Songlines”) to the list. An excellent selection anyway. 🙂


Duncan Smith February 7, 2019 at 7:35 am

Thanks so much for the positive comments about my “Only in Boston” book. Knowing readers find the books interesting and different makes the hard work worthwhile! Best wishes and happy travels – Duncan Smith (Author ‘Only In Guides’)


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