Around the world with 8 beloved books

by Saturday, September 25, 2021

Books are an important part of travel. They keep us entertained on long journeys (often picked up just before boarding), they relax us by the pool or at the beach, and they bring stories of worlds far away home.

This week, we’re continuing to bring travel home through the pages of 8 books. And we’d love to hear what you’re reading or what your favourite book with travel at its heart is?

Kia Ora New Zealand – The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

As well as taking you to the beautiful east coast of New Zealand, this book gives you an opportunity to spend some time with a majestic animal, the whale. It follows eight-year-old Kahu as she fights for her great-grandfather’s love and attention. He is the chief of a Maori tribe in Whangara that claims descent from the legendary ‘whale rider’. She is also his only great-grandchild, but Maori tradition has no use for a girl.

Aloha Hawaii – The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Want to go on a road trip and spend time in Hawaii? A descendant of one of Hawaii’s largest landowners, Matt King (played by George Clooney on the silver screen) is widowed and left in sole charge of his two daughters, teenage ex-model and recovering drug addict Alex, and Scottie, a feisty ten-year-old. An unwelcome discovery takes the trio on a memorable journey of painful revelations and unexpected humour.

Bonjour France – The French Gift by Kirsty Manning

This book gives you a taste of life on the French Riviera in the modern days and during the 1940s. Champagne bath anyone? As well as giving you an opportunity to spend a magical summer on the Cote d’Azur, it delves into a forgotten history of French resistance fighters. It’s so well researched and is captivating from beginning to end.

And don’t forget Kirsty’s other books taking you to Shanghai, Boston, London and Tasmania.

Ciao Italy – Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

This is a favourite book and movie for so many. We left it off the movies list the other week, as we were saving it for our book list. Both are fabulous. In the vibrant local markets and neighbouring hill towns, the author explores the nuances of the Italian landscape, history and cuisine. Each adventure yields delightful surprises – the perfect panettone, an unforgettable wine, or painted Etruscan tombs.

Neih hou Hong Kong – The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee

This isn’t the most uplifting book we’ve read lately, but it is a brilliant and compelling read. If you’ve visited Hong Kong, it will have you recalling past adventures and you’ll be dreaming of the locations mentioned in the story. It is an atmospheric, moving, and utterly compelling story of motherhood and family set against the unforgettable backdrop of Hong Kong.

Assalamu alaikum Maldives – Gatecrashing Paradise: Misadventure in the Real Maldives by Tom Chesshyre

Until recently outsiders were banned from islands not officially endorsed as “tourist resorts”. But now 1,000 sandy shores have opened up in the Indian Ocean. Tom travels in a giant circle 600 miles around the many islands and atolls of the remote nation – the flattest on Earth – taking him to communities that haven’t seen an outsider for decades, gorgeous beaches, colourful characters aplenty, cat-and-mouse politics (including an encounter with a former dictator), dodgy backstreets, the odd posh hotel and many a rocky sea.

Assalamu alaikum Morocco – A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke

When Suzanna Clarke and her husband bought a dilapidated house in the Moroccan town of Fez, their friends thought they were mad. Located in a maze of donkey-trod alleyways, the house – a traditional riad – was beautiful but in desperate need of repair. Walls were in danger of collapse, the plumbing non-existent. While neither Suzanna nor her husband spoke Arabic, and had only a smattering of French, they were determined to restore the building to its original splendour, using only traditional craftsmen and handmade materials. But they soon found that trying to do business in Fez was like being transported back several centuries in time and so began the remarkable experience that veered between frustration, hilarity and moments of pure exhilaration.

If you want some more inspiration, check out Tale Away.

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