We love a good read, especially when it takes us to faraway places and teaches us about new traditions and cultures. With summer only a few weeks away, it’s the perfect time to get lost in a novel, whether you’re traveling across the globe or a car ride away. If you don’t have any vacay plans in the near future or just feel like taking a mini trip via literature, we’ve got your must-reads for some vicarious traveling.
1. Beautiful Ruins ($11): You’ve seen this on everyone’s must-read list, and for good reason. This book will have you planning your own Italian escape in no time. Spend a rainy afternoon reading about a rekindled love affair that starts on the Italian coast in 1962 and continues in Hollywood 50 years later.
2. The Last Days of California ($18): The joys of a dysfunctional family play out as Jess’s family packs up the car and travels west to save people before the rapture. Her secretly pregnant sister adds even more dynamic to the story.
3. The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me ($19): Suzanne Kingsbury writes a romantic story of rebellious young love in a place resistant to change. Pour yourself a cool glass of lemonade, relax on a blanket and send yourself to the sweltering summer setting of Houser Banks, Mississippi.
4. Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist ($10): Lose yourself in the indie rock scene of NYC without having to wait in line or spend a dime. You’ll laugh and swoon as you follow Nick and Nora on their journey to find a legendary band’s secret show.
5. A Thousand Days in Venice ($13): Taste the flavors of Italy through this romantic story of a divorced American chef who meets a stranger and falls in love. One year later, Marlena decides to sell her house in St. Louis and move to Venice to marry him.
6. Paris Was Ours ($13): No need to whip out your passport. See the romantic city through 32 writers’ eyes in this collection of short essays. Read what brought them to the city, what kept them there and what continued to fascinate them.
7. The Geography of Bliss ($11): Travel the globe with Eric Weiner to investigate where “un-unhappiness” is located. From Asheville, North Carolina to Quatar, this epic journey sheds some rays on sunnier dispositions around the world.
8. The Alchemist ($17): Here’s an inspirational read that’s perfect for anyone doing some soul searching. You’ll identify with the protagonist as he follows his dreams and finds omens along his path.
9. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour ($8): As Amy finds herself during a cross-country road trip, you’ll enjoy the classic motel and diner scenes along the way. It’s the perfect read for lounging outside on a sunny day.
11. Becoming Odyssa ($13): This book might just inspire you to grab your backpack and hit the road. It follows Jennifer, a badass chick drawn to hike the Appalachian Trail. The four-month hike challenges her like she never imagined.
12. Dollbaby ($20): Here’s your glimpse into the charm and tradition of New Orleans in the ’60s. Ibby, a young girl who recently lost her father, is sent to stay with her quirky grandmother in Louisana. Once there, she begins to understand race in the civil rights era.
13. Chocolat ($14): Escape to the small town of Lansquenet, where chocolate maker Vianne’s passion will encourage you to indulge your own sweet tooth. She brings the community together with her shop treats and clever cures. The only thing better than eating chocolate is reading about it, right?
What are your go-to reads when you wanna get away? Leave us a note in the comments below.