10 Vicarious Vacations

“I am a storyteller. I go places, I come back. I tell you how the places made me feel.” — Anthony Bourdain. Before he died, Bourdain’s co-author and long-time collaborator Laurie Woolever met with him about this project just once, a meeting she details in the book’s heartfelt opening. Yet she managed to deliver a transporting reading experience in a true travel guide  that combines Bourdain’s stories and travel tips with colorful essays from his friends and colleagues. Vicariously experience Bourdain’s favorite destinations near and far—from Toronto to Tanzania, Manhattan to Myanmar—as Bourdain tells you how to get there, where to stay, and, perhaps most importantly, what to eat. Jam-packed with potential for adventure and exploration.
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From the publisher: "The author of the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians takes you from Capri to NYC, where Lucie Tang Churchill finds herself torn between two men--and two very different cultures."
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From the publisher: "Benji Cooper is one of the few Black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of Black professionals have built a world of their own. The summer of '85 won't be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages."
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"A notice in The Times addressed to 'Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine' advertises a "small medieval Italian Castle to be let for the month of April'." Four very different women take up the offer." An endearing classic.
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People calls this "Delicious . . . richly riveting . . . The Vacationers offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author."
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Christina Lauren is back with an enemies-to-lovers romance! Bridesmaid Olive steels herself to get through her twin sister’s wedding, which forces her to spend the day with her sworn enemy best man Ethan. But when the rest of the party falls prey to food poisoning, Olive and Ethan find themselves on an all-expenses-paid honeymoon trip to Hawaii, determined to leave each other alone. Until they wind up pretending to be newlyweds to save Olive’s job. Sometimes pretending can be a whole lot of fun. (Fun and funny, this one had me fondly reminiscing my own tropical honeymoon.)
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In this fast-paced YA debut, a girl travels halfway around the world to find herself, and maybe find love, too. Ever Wong is an eighteen-year-old Asian American girl in Ohio, a talented dancer who, unknown to her parents, harbors dreams of pursuing professional dance. When her parents find out she's considering dance instead of med school, they send her to Taiwan to spend the rest of the summer at Chien Tan—an immersive high school program devoted to language and culture. When Ever arrives she's surprised to discover that far from the scholarly summer she expected, the students themselves call the program "Loveboat," because it’s tons of fun and so many long-term relationships begin here. I enjoyed the audiobook version, narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. A sequel is expected in 2021.
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This is a wonderful guide for anyone contemplating solo travel. Journalist Alice Steinbach took a four-month sabbatical from work to travel to London, Oxford, Paris, and Milan when she was in her 50s. Her memoir is as much about the places she goes as it is about the people she befriends.
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Frances Mayes is best known for her memoirs exploring life as an expat in Tuscany but here she shares about travels to Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, Turkey, Greece, the South of Italy, and North Africa. As much as possible, she rented a house and did her best to shop and eat like a local, thinking all the while about what it would be like to call that place home.
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Lamenting all those lost pandemic vacations? Globetrot with Alex and Poppy in this modern twist on When Harry Met Sally. The pair of opposites once shared a ride home from college and their witty banter ignited a decade-long friendship. Now free-spirit Poppy lives in NYC, working as a travel writer for a posh magazine. Strait-laced Alex lives in their small Ohio hometown, longing to start a family and live that picket-fence lifestyle. Connecting once a year for an epic vacation, these besties were always in sync…until they weren’t. Now they haven’t spoken in two painful years, and against all odds, Poppy is hoping one great vacation can save them. This will they/won’t they contemporary romance from Beach Read author Emily Henry is every bit as playful as its tangerine cover. Heads up for one open door scene.
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