For as long as I can remember, my parents have saved money year round so that my family could enjoy a summer vacation. Unfortunately, there were some summers when our vacation plans didn’t work out. During those summers at home, I learned that books had the power to transport me to the places I couldn’t visit or only dreamed of visiting.
Although this summer is coming to an end, there is still time to travel! Here is a list of books that will take you around the world without ever leaving your home:
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman
In one version of her life, Summer Everett answers her phone and stays at home in upstate New York. In another version, she doesn’t, and travels to the French countryside where she’s always dreamed of going. Along with romance and the revelation of dark secrets, the book also paints a vivid photograph of France, with rich descriptions of French food and art in particular.
Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra
Love and Longing in Bombay is a collection of loosely-connected short stories that shows foreign audiences multiple sides of Bombay, India that they might not have considered before, from its gritty underworld to the glitz of high-society. Whether it is a pair of socialite women engaging in publicly undeclared war, a military man haunted by a ghost or a detective investigating a murder, this book delves into the very heart of Bombay.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The story begins with the protagonist Ifemelu finishing off her studies in America and returning home to Nigeria where she runs into her old lover Obinze. The book deals with familiar subjects – race and foreignness among them - packaged in such a way that you see them through fresh eyes. Set in a newly democratic globalised Nigeria, the book depicts Nigeria as it is today - a modern mix of western culture and traditional values.
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Set in a futuristic Brazil, The Summer Prince tells the story of June and Enki, an artist and the charming new ‘Summer King’. While this book is set in the future, there is something to be said about the descriptions of the lush city of Palmares Tres. The city is vibrant, bustling with technology and tradition, with art and dreams that will leave you hungry for more.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Christopher is a 15 year old boy with an autism spectrum condition who discovers that his neighbour’s dog was murdered and sets on a mission to discover the culprit. While Swindon, the town where Christopher lives, is not a particularly exciting setting by itself, Christopher’s unique perspective makes it enthralling. The setting gets more intriguing when Christopher travels alone to London, giving readers a refreshing new perspective on travel and allowing them a chance to see the famous city like they’ve never seen it before.
Love and Longing in Bombay book cover courtesy of Penguin