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7 Holiday reads to inspire wanderlust and summer adventure

BY Sanika Shah

9th May 2023 Must Reads

7 Holiday reads to inspire wanderlust and summer adventure

This sizzling selection of holiday reads is full of tales of romance, history and adventure sure to inspire your sense of wanderlust this summer

Romanticising our lives is our greatest strength, and nothing supports this better than travel. The image of European terraces or Southern American hiking trails is pure bliss if you love being transported away from your mundane lifestyle.

The transformative power of travel is something I know all too well, and one of my favourite ways to indulge in such a luxurious activity is through literary inspiration.

There is something special about how books can be a source of wanderlust, just as much as a great Spotify playlist.

The theme of travel within literature has always been an important one. Whether we discuss Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love or The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, the joy of travel exudes on these pages.

"The Odyssey was western civilisation’s first taste of a narrative that empowered a desire for adventure"

Going even further back, I would be so bold as to say that the Homeric epic, The Odyssey, was western civilisation’s first taste of a narrative that empowered a desire for adventure in readers.

Sure, the story is not about taking a holiday, but that’s not all travel is. Travel is about exploring new environments and discovering new things about yourself, which are prominent elements of this classic tale.   

Read on to discover a travel companion that will make you restless and hungry for a voyage. These are books to inspire your 2023 travel fantasies and highlight the “main character energy” you feel when looking out an aeroplane window. Your 2023 summer adventures are just getting started.

Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly (2021)

Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly book jacket

Set on the gorgeous island of Elba, Shakespeare scholar Lizzie meets chef Dante, and in true Italian fashion, a romance ensues in secret ocean coves, on board yachts and through diecious descriptions of local cuisine.

It is a novel inspiring friendship and love and everything you would desire for yourself as a woman exploring off-the-beaten tracks in one of Europe's most popular holiday destinations.

Buy Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly for £25.00

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry (2021)

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry book jacket

Making waves—no pun intended—through the BookTok universe, this summer sizzler full of banter, heat and sexual tension, but also heartfelt emotion, is set over ten summer trips.

The book centres around best friends Poppy and Alex as they navigate their shifting friendship and feelings towards each other against the backdrop of different holiday destinations around the world. 

It’s a fun romance with all the typical tropes, but also conveys a witty plot and complex relationships that bring the beauty of travelling to life. It’s definitely one to pack in your suitcase during your 2023 summer adventures.

Buy You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry for £8.99

Marrakech Express by Peter Millar (2014)

Marrakech Express by Peter Millar book jacket

Inspired to make the trip by the 1969 Crosby, Stills and Nash song “Marrakech Express”, Millar narrates a story as he sets off on a train journey across the beautiful North African country.

From the bustling Marrakesh souks and the ancient Roman ruins at Volubilis to the lush valleys of Maknes and coastal fronts of Casablanca, be prepared to take in every sight, sound, and smell of Morocco through this vibrant account of a grand journey.

Buy Marrakech Express by Peter Millar for £14.99

New York by Edward Rutherfurd (2009)

New York by Edward Rutherford book jacket

Weaving together multiple stories, across generations, this incredible novel chronicles the birth and growth of New York City, from the arrival of the first Dutch colonists in the 17th century to the summer of 2009. 

Explore the multicultural, historic environment of the city that never sleeps through the eyes of fictional families like the Van Dycks, German-Jewish Adlers and Puerto Rican Campos.

Uncover Native American tribes, open your eyes to New Amsterdam, dance through the jazz age, and so much more, to find entertainment and sorrow in arguably North America's most iconic destination.

Buy New York by Edward Rutherfurd for £12.99

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin (2002)

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin book jacket

Against the backdrop of the Second World War, Selva (daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas) marries Rafael Alfandari (Jewish son of an esteemed court physician) and they run away to Paris in search of new life. But when the Nazis invade France, the couple must find a way back home.

"This historical novel is an uplifting tale of love and adventure that also presents the forgotten impact of Tukey’s neutrality"

Travelling through Ankara, Paris, Cairo, and Berlin—crossing enemy lines and risking everything for freedom with the help of Turkish diplomats—this historical novel is an uplifting tale of love and adventure that also presents the forgotten impact of Tukey’s neutrality throughout most of the conflict.

Buy Last Train To Istanbul by Ayse Kulin for £8.99

Paddling My Own Canoe: A Solo Adventure on the Coast of Molokai by Aubrey Sutherland (1978)

Paddling My Own Canoe by Audrey Sutherland book jacket

A short story that empowers readers to step out of their comfort zone through the writer’s own great ambitions, this memoir is a great tale of finding security in your own strength while opening us to the spectacular natural wonders of rural Molokai, Hawaii.

Discover remarkable sea cliffs and beautiful waterfalls through Sutherland’s eyes and appreciate the feeling of swimming or towing a kayak alongside her in treacherous waters to awaken your own sense of wander.

It is a book that makes any traveller yearn for solitude in the wilderness and displays the beauties of going solo.

Buy Paddling My Own Canoe by Aubrey Sutherland for £12.99

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (1937)

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie book jacket

A classic piece of detective fiction that takes place onboard a steamboat tour of Egypt’s most magical natural features, Death on the Nile showcases the land of Pharoahs and Pyramids in a thrilling and interesting light.

"Take a journey with the passengers from Aswan to Wadi Halfa (Sudan) as they uncover the mysteries of historic attractions"

Take a journey with the passengers from Aswan to Wadi Halfa (Sudan) as they uncover the mysteries of historic attractions amid their very own fascinating events painted by love, betrayal and scandal. The novel is for those searching for thrills during their 2023 summer adventures.

Buy Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie for £14.99

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