Books to Read

travel-books_1422409cIf our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest—in all its ardours and paradoxes—than our travels.

— Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

Here is a select list of books that will get you in the mood to travel:

General Interest

  • Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel
  • Nancy Pearl, Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers
  • Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe
  • Alice Steinbach, Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman
  • Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad and A Tramp Abroad


  • Helene Hanff, 84 Charing Cross Road
  • Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island
  • Anna Quindlen, Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City
  • Bill Bryson, Shakespeare
  • Helen Simpson, The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea: The Art & Pleasures of Taking Tea
  • Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel
  • Ian McEwan, Atonement
  • Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Jane Austen, Persuasion
  • Charles Dickens, David Copperfield and Great Expectations


  • Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
  • Peter Mayle, A Year in Provence
  • Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy and Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy
  • David McCullough, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris
  • Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolution Decade the Gave the World Impressionism
  • Jill Jonnes, Eiffel’s Tower: The Thrilling Story Behind Paris’s Beloved Monument
  • Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette: The Journey


  • Henry James, Italian Hours
  • Mary McCarthy, The Stones of Florence
  • Mary McCarthy, Venice Observed
  • Beppe Severgnini, La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
  • Ilaria Dagnini Brey, The Venus Fixers: The Remarkable Story of the Allied Soldiers who Saved Italy’s Art during World War II
  • Ross King, Brunelleschi’s Dome
  • Ross King, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
  • Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins
  • E.M. Forster, A Room with A View
  • Henry James, The Wings of the Dove and The Aspern Papers and Other Stories


  • Elie Weisel, Night
  • Lynn H. Nichols, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War
  • Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

One thought on “Books to Read

  1. Hi Deborah, love your blog and lists! I am going to look for the Mary McCarthy and Henry James titles. Shouldn’t Frances Mayes be listed under Italy? Grier

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