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Books to read when you can’t travel

I know it’s hard when you want to travel, but life (thanks COVID) has other plans. But there are other ways of escaping, like in one of these books to read when you can’t travel!

If you are feeling anything like me right now then you are quite possibly trying to avoid spending too much time watching the news right now. Luckily for me, I don’t own a TV so it’s pretty easy to tune out the noise. One way I’ve found to help me cope with lockdown is to escape into a book. Seriously I’ve devoured more books in the past few weeks than I did in the last year!

So, if you are looking for books to read during quarantine to help you escape from the current situation I’ve picked my 11 favorite books to read during lockdown just for you!



Books to read when you can't travel

I actually only started to read the Outlander books because I was too impatient to wait for the new series to come on the TV haha. I know it’s a super cliche thing to say, but OMG the books are SOOOOO much better. I love the TV show don’t get me wrong, but the books really are something else.

Outlander is the perfect book to read during quarantine because it is pure escapism. WWII nurse accidentally goes back in time and meets a seriously hot Scottish highlander and is made to marry him and have a lot of hot sex. Sorry, I’ve made it sound cheap, it really isn’t. The books are utterly gripping, you can’t help but become totally invested in the characters, and Dian Gabaldon’s descriptions of the Scottish highlands wrap it all up perfectly. Plus there is so much history weaved through the book which I found fascinating, especially as an English person who didn’t really remember too much about it all from school.

The first book is set during the Jacobite uprising in Scotland, but if you get hooked, as I did then there are a further 7 books to keep you going which take you through Paris, the West Indies, and finally to the United States in the lead up to the civil war.

Normal People

Books to read when you can't travel

If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be longing… The writing style is crisp and it paints a beautiful picture of two people trying to connect and never quite getting there. It’s one of those books that really stays with you and you genuinely miss the characters long after it’s over. I actually read this book as part of my book club and one of the things we all agreed on was that it felt so important and so relatable because it was so true to life. We had all had similar experiences with people where a single decision in a moment causes a miss communication which impacts what comes next.

If you want to read a love story rooted in reality this is the book for you.

White Teeth

Books to read when you can't travel

God, I loved this book. As a White British woman who grew up in mostly white areas, it was very easy for me to spend most of my life believing racism didn’t exist in the UK. Oh, how wrong I was. I’ve only come to see that since I began traveling when my white privilege became too obvious to ignore anymore.

This was the first book I had read by a Black British writer and it was equal parts engrossing, funny, eye-opening, and heartbreaking. It centers around two families. One of Bangladeshi origin and the other a mixed-race family, the mother was of Jamaican origin and the father White British. The first part of the book tells the story of the parents and as the story progressed it moves on to tell the story of their children and their struggles as 1st generation British children. It’s a bloody brilliant book and if you have any interest in British culture you should read it.

The Flat Share

Books to read when you can't travel

I read this book as part of a book club I have going on with my friends. It was not my pick, and it took me a few chapters to get into it. I actually really dislike the way the author wrote the dialogue for the guy in it which I couldn’t get past at first (I don’t cope well with grammar infractions).

Anyway, I ended up downloading the audiobook and I became hooked! I listen to the 6 hours had left of the book in 2 days.

Where The Crawdads Sing

Books to read when you can't travel

I couldn’t put this book down once I got a few chapters into it. There is a reason this book is a New York Times Best Seller. It’s a novel about a young child left to fend for herself in the marshland of the North Carolina Coast. Where The Crawdads Sing paints a rich picture of the landscape and the prejudices of small-town life in the 1960’s USA. Part ode to nature and part coming of age story, this mystery will grip you from start to finish.


Books to read when you can't travel

I was actually sent this book to read by Toby the author. I accepted it, but honestly didn’t have much faith that I would like it. Mostly because I’ve read so many books by bloggers and honestly, most of them have been a letdown. I read one book that was literally just her blog posts put in an order with a bit of contextualizing writing in between, and she was charging $15 for it… anyway, I digress. I was wrong. Vagabondess was a beautiful read! I read it in one sitting and it made me feel good. It made me remember all of the wonderful memories I have from when I first started out backpacking.

But what really drew me in with the poetry Toby embedded throughout the book. Like this poem To Love A Girl Who Wanders published in Elephant Journal. I remember reading it when it was first published and it really speaks to me. I love the way Toby writes and recommend this to any women out there thinking about traveling solo. What better time than now while we are all grounded to dream up your next adventure.

Ms. Bitch

Books to read when you can't travel
In all honesty, this isn’t my normal read. The author Tricia O’Malley actually send me the book to review. I was a little puzzled at first as the story centers on a women going through a divorce, not much about travel. And then she flys to Cozumel to go Scuba Diving and it all made sense. If you don’t already know I’m obsessed with Scuba Diving in Cozumel and ay have had a fling of my own with a Scuba Diver over there. Ms. Bitch is a fun book especially if you are a woman of a certain age who has been through (or is going through) something similar.

The House on Mango Street

Books to read when you can't travel
Another one of my favorite books. The House on Mango Street has been printed in multiple languages and is taught in schools across the United States. It’s the story of a young Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero growing up in Chicago. The story is told in a series of moving vignettes. Some will move you to pure joy, others to tears. It’s the perfect companion for any USA vacation!

Women who Run With the Wolves

Books to read when you can't travel

This is a book that I truly believe that every woman needs to read. I have to be honest though, it’s not a book that you are going to devour in a week. In fact, it took most people I know years to read it. I think it took me 2 years. It’s a book to pick up and put down when you need it. I know that might sound a little strange. But believe me, this book will change your life. Buy a hard copy if you can and dip in and out of it when you feel the urge.

The Island

Books to read when you can't travel

You can’t read this book and not want to travel to the Greek islands. I read this book so many years ago (maybe 15?) and it has stayed with me all this time. In fact, it’s on my list to read again this summer. The book is actually a pretty sad story, of course with a happy(ish) ending. It centers around a young woman who goes in search of her family history only to discover that she comes from a family and community that was (almost) destroyed by leprosy. Although the characters and story are fictional, it is rooted in history and utterly fascinating.

Eat Pray Love

Books to read when you can't travel

I know this is an old book, and you have probably either watched the film or read the book already. But for those of you who haven’t read the book, I urge you to read it. It’s the perfect book to read during lockdown. It’s funny, moving, in short chapters and it will take you on a tour through Italy, India, and Bali. if you liked the movie, you will love the book!

Books To Read When You Can't Travel