Books have the power to transport you across the globe and take you to new places. I thought I’d share some of the books that have taken me around the world, and recommend some of them to you. Let’s start with the books that have let me travel around Europe…
Travel To: Paris, France
Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
In case I don’t go on about it enough: Paris is my favourite place in the whole world! Have you ever visited a place and felt like you were home? Paris is like that for me. And Anna and the French Kiss is the perfect YA romantic contemporary to sweep you off to the city of love, in a seriously lovely and cute story (which is coming from the girl who does not usually go for the cute stories!). Anna visits all of the key spots in Paris, including climbing up to the top of the Notre Dame, and perusing books in the bookworm’s favourite shop in Europe: Shakespeare and Co. (If you are visiting Paris and have not yet visited this bookshop, you must go here!). The book really encapsulates Paris, without focusing solely on the main landmarks. Isn’t Paris just the perfect backdrop for a romance.
Travel To: Barcelona, Spain
Title: The Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Although not my favourite story, one thing that The Shadow of the Wind does spectacularly is immerse you completely in the clouded, dark, mysterious backstreets of Barcelona. It gives you a feel for what the city is like: streets, buildings, history. If you are looking to truly be transported to Spain, this is the book for you!
Travel To: Prague, Czech Republic
Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone takes place across many countries, as well as multiple worlds. And yet the setting that stands out most in this story is that in which the story begins: Prague. Set against cold, snowy Prague, this book will give you serious cravings to visit the city! Although it is simply a backdrop to the fantasy worlds that exist in this story, it seems to ground the series in the real world by depicting a city so magical, our world feels just as fantastical.
Travel To: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Most of you will have read this beautiful, heart-wrenching story, which is important and brilliant in so many different ways. But I think that what feels so hopeful and positive about this book, is the trip that Hazel and Augustus take to Amsterdam. This is not a book about the travel, but the city really marks the deepening of the main characters’ relationship. The book describes the city so beautifully, visiting some very important and significant places.
Travel To: England
Author: Ali Smith
This is a very recent read, but it was also the book that inspired this whole post. So many books are set in England, that it seems impossible for me, as an English person, to recommend one that really encapsulates the country I’m from. But Autumn by Ali Smith really does that in this melancholy, dry, hopeful story, set in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote. It is perhaps a side to England that people do not think of as such an important part of our recent society, but it had such a big impact, which this book looks at very well. It you would like to travel to England’s political and social backdrop, rather than to its monuments and tourism, this is the book for you!
Which books have taken you to Europe? Which would you recommend?