It’s that time of year again! You’re going on vacation, and you need to pack a few books for the time when you have some downtime. What are some good reads? Here are 5 books you should read before your trip so that you can get the most out of them.
“On the Road,” by Jack Kerouac.
This book is perfect for people who want to get down and dirty with another culture, or just have a great time on vacation without having some of that cultural aspect. There’s no language barrier here! And it will make you feel like you’re in the middle of everything as opposed to being a tourist.
On the Road (The Penguin Press, 1957) is a landmark novel that has been translated into over 25 languages and named one of America’s 100 best novels by Time Magazine. The book tells the story of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty who travel across North America in search of various spiritual awakenings. On their journey, they learn about society, relationships, and themselves.
The novel is full of Kerouac’s distinctive style: spontaneous prose with little punctuation, a desire to create American mythology out of the people in America that reflect their reasons for being on the road, and so on. He also communicates his own methods as well as those from Buddhism, Catholicism, and Zen through the novel.
“In the Kingdom of Ice,” by Hampton Sides.
This book is about an expedition to both find and then survive in Antarctica, so it’s perfect for people with adventuresome spirits who need some excitement on their vacation. It will also make you want to go see this unexplored land before all the glaciers melt and the whole thing becomes a huge tourist trap.
In 1868, a thirty-three-year-old Welsh explorer named James Clark Ross risked everything to lead an expedition into the unknown Arctic wastes, seeking the truth about what had happened to Sir John Franklin. The entire crew of his ship perished in their quest for answers and as he and two others were struggling back home three more years later, he discovered a land unknown to man. This is the story of that treacherous journey and what they found there – an adventure narrative about one of the last uncharted frontiers on earth, as told by Hampton Sides.
“The Tiger,” by John Vaillant.
This book is perfect for people who want to learn about geography and biology while also getting their adventure fix, so it’s an obvious choice for travelers with an interest in wildlife or exotic plants/animals that they might find on vacation. You’ll be learning about parts of the world that you might not have even been aware existed before reading this book.
About the Book
John Vaillant is the author of “The Tiger: A True Story of Survival” and tells a story that will stay with you long after finishing it. The book starts by telling the reader what they need to know about tigers in general, before getting into one special tiger’s journey from birth to death. John Vaillant does an excellent job of describing what it’s like to be a tiger and how that informs their behavior. Vaillant is also the author of “The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed,” which tells the story of a bear hunter who finds himself on trial for murder after he chops down an old-growth tree in British Columbia.
The Tiger is a story that will stay with you long after finishing it. The book starts by telling the reader what they need to know about tigers in general, before getting into one special tiger’s journey from birth to death. John Vaillant does an excellent job of describing what it’s like to be a tiger and how that informs their behavior.
“The Places in Between,” by Rory Stewart.
This is great for people who want to get a better understanding of what it’s really like living and traveling through Muslim countries, as well as to learn more about how other cultures are different from our own. It’s also a great book for people who are interested in the geology and topography of different regions as they pertain to climate, so it will make you want to visit these places before global warming makes them uninhabitable.
Rory Stewart takes you on a remarkable journey in this book. In 2002, Rory set out to walk across Afghanistan – the Taliban’s realm – while he was serving as deputy governor of an Afghan province under Coalition rule. His route took him from Kabul to Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, and then north through Jalalabad up towards the Russian border. Stewart’s intention was to find out what ordinary people were thinking and feeling, beyond the daily headlines of war.
This is a good book for anyone who wants insight into this part of the world that has been in conflict for well over 30 years now. The places Rory Stewart travels through are harsh at times but authentic – he really gets to know the people he meets on his walk. This is a fascinating account of one man’s attempt to make sense of Afghanistan and its future, with all that entails in terms of culture, politics, and war.
“The Lost City of Z,” by David Grann.
This is perfect for travelers who want to learn about history as they travel, and it’s excellent for people who are interested in the Amazon rainforest or South America. It tells a true story of an explorer looking for one of the last unexplored regions on Earth – so you can’t go wrong with this book!
David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z” is about a British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who made three expeditions to South America in the early 1900s and disappeared during his last one. He had been looking for an ancient ruined city that he believed existed on the border between Bolivia and Brazil. `Z’ was how the locals pronounced `Amazon.’
This phenomenal account of Fawcett’s explorations is a work of both nonfiction and literature. The author has written with the fervor, suspense, and drama that would be expected in a work of fiction. But this is not just entertainment – it also speaks to us about history and how our understanding of it has been shaped.
The Lost City of Z is a truly great book, not only because it tells the story of one man’s obsession and ultimate fate with such vigor and suspense, or because David Grann so vividly conveys the landscape – seething swamps, impassable jungles, endless deserts- that Fawcett was the first white man to explore.
It’s important to take the time when you have some downtime on your vacation and read a book. This will give you something else to do other than just lay by the pool or beach all day, which is what many people end up doing during their vacations. You might also find that reading books can help with relaxation while traveling as well because it allows you to escape into another world for a while and forget about any stresses in your life at home. If you’re looking for recommendations from us, here are 5 of our favorite reads before going on vacation – they should be perfect!