Literary Lockdown: Let Your Page Be Your Travel Guide
Lockdown may mean travelling is out of the question, but there are plenty of books out there that allow you to experience the wanderlust of travelling with just the flick of a page. Here’s our list of the best books that allow you to experience your summer holidays from the comfort of your armchair.
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road is a fictionalised account of Jack Kerouac’s own journeys across America with his friend Neal Cassady. Travelling from New York to San Francisco then south to Mexico, On the Road explores America in its true form as readers experience the jazz-filled atmosphere of small towns alongside the back-roads of migrant families and the homeless. It’s America in its raw and vulnerable form, but most importantly, it’s a tale of freedom and conquests, making you fall in love with America and its sublime brilliance.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Evvie Drake Starts Over is a sweet story of love and identity that takes place in small-town Maine. Meet Evvie Drake, a young widow who can barely leave her house, and Dean Tenney, a prematurely retired baseball player who wants to escape from his reputation in New York. A major theme of the novel is escaping city life to go to an isolated town, allowing the characters to self-reflect on their current lives and wishes for the future.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Rather like how we are currently living, Nicola Yoon’s protagonist, Maddy, has been stuck inside her whole life due to suffering from a rare immune system disorder which prevents her from leaving her house. After meeting the new boy next door, Olly, her horizons begin to broaden, and she takes her first steps into the outside world. Venturing to Hawaii, Maddy sees what she has been missing at the risk of her health. This book will lift you from your lockdown blues and take you to places beyond the four walls surrounding you. Just like in Maddy’s story, there will be an end to this madness, and travelling will feel even more special.
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
Helen Russell’s guide shares some of the most important secrets of Danish happiness, covering various subjects from government to cuisine. Perfect for anyone who enjoys learning about the lives of other countries, The Year of Living Danishly is a fun, witty and comical autobiographical account of what life is like when you leave everything behind for something new. At several points in this book, I would also briefly consider the possibility of moving to Denmark, completely invested in Russell’s adventures. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you’re looking for a form of escapism during the pandemic.
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
With staycations being the likely holiday of choice in 2020, why not allow yourself to be transported to the bewitching towns and villages of Cornwall? Set on Bodmin Moor, Jamaica Inn is a deeply atmospheric tale of murder and mistrust amidst glimmers of Cornish beauty. Discover the “magic in the moors” and follow Mary on her journey to discover the murky truth. A mesmerising read, Jamaica Inn won’t fail to lift your lockdown mood.
Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
If you’re feeling down because your summer holiday has been grounded, Wedding Night could be the perfect alternative. A light and entertaining read for summer, this book encapsulates the idea that when life throws you a curve-ball, it’s best to escape - and where better to escape than Greece! Kinsella masterfully places us in the deliciousness of “drinks with unfamiliar names”, shimmering pools and olive trees swaying in the breeze as Lottie’s mission to get married unfolds. Grab yourself a cocktail and settle down!
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Less is an absolute must-read for anyone in need of some escapism. This short novel will take you on a round-the-world trip with a failed novelist as he attempts to escape his problems, but finds quite the opposite. Get your passport ready as you’ll be travelling far and wide – from busy New York City, to falling in love in Europe, to getting lost in the Moroccan desert, to a Christian retreat in India. This novel is lyrical, hilarious, and heartbreakingly good. It was possibly my favourite book of 2019.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
What better place to escape to than a fantasy realm? House of Earth and Blood is the first book in Sarah J. Maas’ new series set in Crescent City, an alluring, yet dangerous city where a mix of magical beings from Fae to angels live, work, and party. A memorable and transformative read, Maas’ latest book grips readers as they get to learn more about the mysterious world and the characters within it.
Enjoy your (fictional) travels!