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Books for the Armchair Traveler in You

“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” ― Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

Travel and reading are two of my greatest pleasures, so it is always a particular pleasure when I can find a book that combines the two and transports me to a place I have never been. Here is a list of some of my favorite books for armchair travel or to inspire actual travel as well. Do you have any recommendations? What are some of your favorites?

Happy reading and safe travels (through the pages and beyond)!

Walking the Nile by Levison Wood - Walking the Nile is the first book and travel account I read by Levison Wood. I got to see him speak about his journeys and experiences in person a year ago, and it only made me a bigger fan. There is also a TV series based on this book and his others, but I do think the books are better, because the series leave out so many important details.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - This book, based on the author's true experiences, takes you from Australia to India and deep into the underbelly of Mumbai. It is a fascinating, totally absorbing story, and you will feel spent when you have finished it, but even at 1000 pages it is truly worth reading. One of my all-time favorites!

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell - If you are looking for a fun, thoughful, totally memorable story, look to further. Durrell is now best known for his contributions to wildlife conservation, but this story is about much more. His family spent time in Corfu before the Second World War and this book chronicles those experiences. The cast of characters is a lot of fun and the recent TV adaptation with Keeley Hawes is very enjoyable.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante - Another favorite, this is the first book in Ferrante's brilliant Neapolitan Novels. It transports the reader to 1950s Naples and this is one of those books that really deserves the hype surrounding it.

The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson - We all dream of a villa in Italy, right? Edmonson's novel really transports you to that beautiful place and offers a thoughtful and engaging story as well.

The Guerney Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - Another favorite! This book transports you back to the years post Second World War to London and the Channel island of Guernsey. You really get a feel for this island and its people (sadly fictional) and culture, and I really had a yearning to visit it myself after finishing the book. I recently read it is being adapted to film, so fingers crossed they will do it justice.

The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch - Charles Finch is best known for his wonderful Charles Lenox series (and perhaps his pithy Twitter commentary). This book is based somewhat on his experiences as a student in Oxford and because this is one of my favorite cities in the world, I was immediately drawn to it. He perfectly captures the atmosphere of the city and weaves a clever story into the beautiful setting, too.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - This book's title basically tells you what this book is about, but it doesn't say what a strange insight it actually gives into the culture and customs of the Singaporean culture.

A Poisonous Journey by Me! - I had to be a little cheeky and add this book. It will take you to 1920s Crete, mystery, food, friendship and adventure included.

© 2023 The Princess and the Peanby Malia Zaidi. Proudly created with

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