How to travel without leaving your home

My dad strongly believes that reading while on vacation is unnecessary – even harmful at times. His point is that reading is escaping the reality and why would anyone want to escape the expensive trip? When I told him that I found 3 books for my week long vacation in Puerto Rico, he looked almost hurt. “Go to the beach” – he kept saying – “Don’t forget how much you paid for the plane tickets, ok?”

If you ask me, I think that reading in another country/state is essential for any bookworm, no matter how much you spent to get there. The thing is, a single book can enhance your experience in so many ways. All you have to do is to choose the right book. When I go somewhere – anywhere – I look for a book by a local author, preferably the one that describes the life in this particular city. If you are bilingual, choose the original book. If not, the good translation will do. This way, you are not only visiting a new place, you see it with eyes of the local. And this, in turn, is a completely different experience.

P.S.: The post features some of my own photos taken during those trips

If you don’t have time to travel – these books offer a unique opportunity to see all those beautiful places for free, in a safety of your own home. When I was younger and my parents didn’t let me to leave even my hometown, these books inspired me to travel and explore.

Puerto Rico

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This 1993 autobiography written by Puerto Rican native Esmeralda Santiago doesn’t look like an autobiography at all. When I was Puerto Rican is rather a magic fairy tale that shows all the colors, smells, and sounds of this marvelous island. The original book, written in Spanish, is the best book I’ve ever read.

New York

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Needless to say, I love NYC with all my heart for its endless energy. Thus, here is a small list of books for everyone who is also fascinated by this unique city:

  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    Novel by Betty Smith
  • The Lonely City
    Book by Olivia Laing
  • The Age of Innocence
    Novel by Edith Wharton
  • The Great Gatsby
    Novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Glass Castle (NYC and rural midwestern US)
    Book by Jeannette Walls and Rodrigo Corral

New Orleans

  • New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City
    Book by Andrei Codrescu
  • City of Refuge: A Novel
    Book by Tom Piazza
  • The French Quarter
    Book by Herbert Asbury
  • The booklover’s guide to New Orleans

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South America

Nothing describes the people of South America better than books of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. While I can recommend them all, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a real masterpiece. Do yourself a favor, read it.

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P.S.: Let me know in the comments below if you want to see more books, cities, and countries!

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