Best Travel Novels of 2016 Thus Far

I’m sure you’ve gathered at this point, but I LOVE to read. When all other kids were spending their summers at sports and recreational camps, I was either at a scuba diving/sailing camp in the Caribbean, or opting for Quantum Learning Camp. Yea, you read that right. I spent the better part of the summer learning to read over 1,000 words a minute, efficiently study and take notes, and listen to classical music while I do it, a habit I have yet to break. My favorite part of the year was when the Book fair happened and there was a running joke in 5th grade about how at least 2 minutes of wait time meant that I would pull a book out and start reading. Needless to say, I’m still a bookworm and I’m proud.

I’ve read almost 20 books since the New Year and since people are constantly asking me what I’m reading I thought I would compile a list of my favorites. I’m usually juggling 3 books at a time- something serious, something light, and something fiction. I’ve always loved poetry and used to write a lot of it as a kid. This year I discovered feminist poets like Rupi Kaur, Warsan Shire and Nayyirah Waheed. Some of it is political, but most of it is completely relatable. The poetry ranges from topics like being an immigrant to breakups. I have their books on my kindle and have been flicking through them over and over the last few months. I’m sure you’ve heard about Warsan Shire at this point, she was the spoken word behind Beyonce’s new song Lemonade. Although I’ve never been a Beyonce fan, sorry Bae, I’m glad she go the word out about female writers like them. For the male equivalent read whiskey words & a shovel by r.h. Sin.

I also love travel novels, obviously! The two standouts would be Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche, an Australian who moved to San Francisco for a year in her early 20’s. She fell in love with an Argentinian man who dreamed of sailing the world and overcame her fear of sailing and seasickness to join him on the adventure. And, Mother Tongue by Christine Gilbert, about a woman and her husband who dream of raising trilingual children. They embark on a mission to raise their kids speaking Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin. It’s a story after my own heart as I’ve always had this idea, if for some reason I decided to have children… but that’s another blog post!

My favorites of the year are-

the odyssey

The Odyssey:  written by Homer and probably one of those novels you have always heard about but never read? Yea, me too! But read it because it’s a classic for a reason. I absolutely loved the gods and goddesses in this story. If you’ve ever been slightly interested in Greek or Roman mythology, you’ll dig this storyline. The main character goes on an epic journey on his way home to his wife and son.


Islands in the Stream:  written by Hemingway and considered one of the greatest love stories of all time. Although I wouldn’t call it a love story, I’d call it a damn tragedy to be honest. But none the less, it’s a great read and is now a strong contender for my top 10 favorite books of all time. There is sailing, exotic beaches and cats involved. What’s not to love? On my sailing crossing from the British Virgin Islands to the Bahamas I wrote down the following quote,

“I’m going to get out of town for awhile.”

“You’ll be taking yourself along wherever you go.”

“Yes. But I won’t be taking a lot of other people I know with me.”

“That means you can leave, but still gotta deal with yourself.”

At least they’re right about something- no matter where you go and how far you run, you still have only you at the end of the day. We’ll always have to answer to ourselves. Do yourself a favor and sit by the water and read this classic before summer is up!

harry potter

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:  written by J.K. Rowling and an all around reminder of my childhood. I was an absolute Harry Potter fanatic as a kid, I would preorder every upcoming novel and I’ve read them all at least 3 times. Although this book is written in a screenplay format, which originally turned me off, it’ll still put you right back to your youth and you’ll remember all the reasons why you loved Harry Potter and all his adventures to begin with. I read it on the plane last week from San Diego to Minneapolis. It’s short enough to be an easy read but I teared up with nostalgia during certain parts.


The Heart of Darkness:  written by English/Polish author Joseph Conrad circa late 1800’s, it gives a beautiful representation of London at the time. It follows one narrator’s story about a voyage up the Congo river in Africa. He writes about the similarities between “civilized” people and savages drawing upon questions of imperialism and racism. He writes poetically and the opening scene is so descriptive you can picture what London must have looked like at the time, coming up the Thames river.



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