What's On the bookshelf: 5 books to inspire your vacation plans
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page…
What’s on your travel bucket list? There are hundreds of destinations that come to mind as the summer holidays are coming up soon and everyone’s excited to make the most out of their holidays.
Whether it be sunbathing at a beach in Maui, or trying your luck in Las Vegas, the possibilities are endless. And to start your journey a little early, our friends at the Emirates Literature Foundation have compiled a list of books to help kickstart your wanderlust.
Happy Birthday Geronimo! By Geronimo Stilton
Mouse Island is full of adventure and author (and editor and publisher) Geronimo Stilton is always on the hunt for a good story to write about for his newspaper, The Rodent’s Gazette! In this particular tale, all his real money is replaced with fake bills, leaving him unable to pay for his birthday celebration. But the prankster responsible for his woe won’t get away with it for long, because this just means Geronimo is on the case!
Young readers will adore Stilton’s action-packed stories, as author Elisabetta Dami (AKA the author behind the beloved character) writes in easy-to-follow prose, and each book is packed with illustrations, making it the perfect jumping-in-point for kids of all ages. Each book in the series is short and sees Stilton get into all kinds of scrapes, while solving and saving New Mouse City (Think New York City, but with mice.) But whether Geronimo is skiing down a massive hill, or following the contents of a mysterious map that leads to hidden treasure, each tale will captivate kids and parents alike, as they set out on their own adventures!
The Adventures of Tintin: The Castafiore Emerald by Hergé
Dive into a world of intrigue and mystery with one of the most iconic comic characters in the history of the medium! The Castafiore Emerald sees Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock invite a group of Romani travellers to camp on the grounds of his home, Marlinspike Hall, only to receive word that renowned opera singer Bianca Castiafiore will also be paying them a visit!
However, due to a misunderstanding, a TV news crew arrives at the house under the impression that the Captian and Bianca are engaged. And just when things couldn’t get any more complicated, one of the opera singer’s jewels — the titular Castafiore emerald — also goes missing! Suddenly, it’s a race to not only find the missing emerald, but also to prove the travellers’ innocence. Luckily, everyone’s favourite intrepid reporter is more than up to the case.
But while Tintin himself is at the heart of every adventure, writer and illustrator Hergé populates his world with a wide range of recurring characters that add additionally delightful perspectives whether it’s the grumpy Captain or theatrical Bianca, or even the confused Professor Calculus, or bumbling twin detectives Thompson and Thomson. The series’ minimalistic and appealing-to-ages art style is instantly recognisable to fans all over the world, while its flair for comedy and incredible storytelling capacity creates a welcoming world that will suck new readers in. From visiting the Land of the Soviets and America to outer space and the deepest depths of the ocean, there is no Tintin adventure that won’t spark readers’ imaginations.
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
The book that inspired millions to reconnect with themselves and find their true passion through travel. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love transports you to Naples to eat pizza, to an ashram in India to meditate, and has you falling in love in Indonesia in a way that feels effortless.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert draws on her own life as she shares how her early 30s saw her go through an early midlife crisis after a difficult divorce and a failed rebound relationship. In embarking on this year-long journey, she seeks to explore three different aspects of herself against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India and in Bali, Indonesia. Gilbert’s writing style is honest, funny, and warm making this the kind of fun vacation read that will pull you right in and have you dreaming about eating, meditating, and falling in love yourself — even if it’s just with your own life! Pick up a copy and embark on a very special journey, just be warned: you might find yourself buying plane tickets right after!
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
You can never go wrong with a classic! The Jules Verne-penned tale takes readers around the globe as it follows protagonist Phineas Fogg, an Englishman who bets that, much like the book’s title implies, he’ll travel around the world in 80 days to prove that it is indeed possible. So with his faithful valet, Passepartout, in tow, he sets off on the journey, with half his fortune on the line.
While the story itself kicks off in Victorian England, it spans the globe as Fogg and Passepartout stop off in various countries along the way, lending it an almost cosmopolitan feel for the time it was written in — especially given it’s rather open-hearted view of the world and all its inhabitants. Verne is particularly adept at catching that feeling of adventure in all his stories, but something about Around the World in Eighty Days and its turn-of-the-century setting makes it impossible to put down. That’s when it isn’t inspiring you to launch into your own globetrotting adventure — whether it be in eight, eighteen, or even eighty days!
The Last Overland: Singapore to London: The Return Journey of the Iconic Land Rover Expedition by Alex Bescoby
In 1995, award-winning adventurer Tim Slessor made the record-breaking journey from London to Singapore, in what was dubbed “the First Overland.” Years later, now 87 years old, he’ll attempt to do the same, using the same land rover as he’d previously driven, but this time he’ll attempt to drive the journey back. What could go wrong?
The Last Overland sees author Alex Bescoby, who was inspired by Slessor’s initial journey, have a chance encounter with the adventurer, only to begin planning a recreation of his original trip, only this time driving from Singapore to London. Over the course of this non-fiction book, Bescoby takes readers behind the scenes of their trip as he combines his passion for adventure and love of history to both recount what happened and share the way the world has changed since that first overland expedition. In the process he explores the depths of familial bonds, how post-colonialism impacts the world, and the almost religious cult status that has been assigned to the Land Rover as a vehicle. If you’re a travel enthusiast, history enthusiast, or even a Land Rover fan, then this book is for you.
And if you’re interested in discussing it further, The Last Overland happens to be the May book club pick for the Emirates Literature Foundation’s non-fiction book club, A Matter of Fact, held in partnership with Carma. Slots are limited so make sure you reserve a spot now!
If you enjoyed today’s variety of book recommendations from Yasameen Firas, the Production and Liason Officer at the Emirates Literature Foundation, then don’t miss their other bookish content on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Or sign up for one of their five official book clubs!