Travel reading

Travel reading

As a book lover, I take my travel reading seriously. Choosing the right books is an essential part of planning any trip, whether business or pleasure. I know my fellow book lovers know what I’m talking about.

Next week Will and I are going to Scotland. Our friends rented out this airbnb—the one with the bookshop, that you’ve been emailing me about for years—and invited us to come along. I’ve never been to Scotland, and so now I’m reading to learn about the place, to get in the mood.

Right now I’m reading to prepare. I have a travel guide or two on my current stack; those are easy to find. But I’ve had to dig a little to find atmospheric reads set in the places I’ll be visiting. I’ve revisited Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, set in Glasgow, and Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea, set in a cottage by the water in Northern Scotland. I’ve read Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts, a middle-grade ghost story set in Edinburgh. I’m halfway through Catriona McPherson’s Quiet Neighbors, a bookish mystery set in Wigtown. It’s past time to read Shaun Bythell’s Diary of a Bookseller, his account of the first year he owned and operated The Bookshop in Wigtown. Finishing this one before I leave is a must.

I’m not the only traveler who prepares this way: on the What Should I Read Next? instagram account, we regularly help traveling readers find books about or set in the country or city they’re visiting. There’s nothing like visiting a place, and before we visit in person, we readers like to visit in the pages of our books. (Here’s one for Oxford, and here’s one for Italy.)

Then there’s the question of what I’ll read while I’m in Scotland. (And first, on the long flight.) My TBR stack holds dozens of atmospheric wintry reads, but I don’t want to pack any books to take along. (I want to save the suitcase space to bring new books back home with me!) I’ll make sure my Kindle is well-stocked for our travel days, and count on The Bookshop—with its 100,000 books—supplying the rest.

We won’t be abroad long, but if history repeats itself, I’ll continue my experience by reading travel books long after our return. A re-read of Rosamund Pilcher’s Winter Solstice is high on my list; I love it—and would love to read it in Scotland—but it’s too huge to lug across the ocean. (I discovered you can even take a Pilcher-approved tour of the book’s sites—can you imagine?)

How do you approach your own travel reading—before, during, and after? I’d love to hear about the trips you took (or are looking forward to) and the books you read because of them. Do you have any favorite books set in Scotland? Please share them in comments!

126 comments | Comment

126 comments

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  1. Katie says:

    It seems superfluous to mention Outlander.

    BUT! I did read Under the Tuscan Sun in Italy, which was perfection. We went to Florence, Rome, Venice, and Pisa, and I think Florence is the only one of those technically in Tuscany. Plus Under the Tuscan Sun is more of rural Tuscany. But when sitting in a piazza with a belly full of gelato and a book set in Italy in your lap, you’re not picky about those details. 😉

  2. Caitlin says:

    Diary of a Bookseller is a must!
    Not a book recommendation, but a bookshop recommendation – if you are in the area then The Watermill at Aberfeldy is fantastic. There is also a distillery in the same town, if anyone in your group is a whiskey fan…
    As for books, “44 Scotland Street” by Alexander McCall-Smith. It’s an episodic novel which was first published every week day in “The Scotsman” newspaper – so it’s perfect for picking up and putting down.

    • Marcia says:

      I love the “44 Scotland Street” series. The author is a wonderful speaker, super funny, and when he signs your book he treats you as if you were the only person to show up for his talk. He is a favorite of mine.

      • Jennifer says:

        I also came here to recommend the “44 Scotland Street” series – I read the first few in Edinburgh and the characters all feel like my own quirky neighbors now.

  3. Caitlin says:

    I’ve traveled to a few different countries and Scotland is my FAVORITE of all – everything there is wonderful, the people, the landscape, the beer, the literary heritage. How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman is a great nonfiction. Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon is a beautiful novel, and described to me by a local as the “unofficial national book of Scotland.”

  4. Michelle says:

    I’m an unapologetic rereader. My library just recently got the audiobook for The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I got off the waitlist right before a trip back east last week (score!). It was a perfect audiobook for the plane. Reminiscent of Rebecca, very atmospheric, it’s actually out of my normal genre, and one of my ‘grab in a fire’ ‘desert island’ books. Rereading on audio was such a treat. I highly recommend!! I’m also a Romamund Pilcher fan and read Winter Solstice last December for the first time, excellent choice. Have a wonderful trip.

  5. Victoria says:

    Whilst in Scotland this summer, as well as The Winter Sea I read The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan; and At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen. I also have waiting for me Rob Roy. Have a great visit!

    • Cayla says:

      Love The Little Shop of Happy Ever After, although I read it under the US title: The Bookshop on the Corner. Also Jenny Colgan’s Mure trilogy…The Cafe by the Sea; The Endless Beach; and Christmas on the Island. Read The Firebird as well–it is the sequel to The Winter Sea.

  6. Jennifer Dade says:

    My absolute favorite reading memory is finishing All the Light We Cannot See while touring Saint-Malo in France. Great book and beautiful town.

  7. Tammy Salmon-Mabus says:

    If you enjoy the stories told through letters, you may want to give ‘Letters from Skye’ (Jessica Brockmole) a whorl. I felt it gave me an atmospheric peek into a beautiful and isolated destination. Loved the book and Isle of Skye! Happy reading. t.

  8. Kacie says:

    It is digital only for me when traveling by plane. Sometimes I can read or listen to a book on a flight; sometimes not. I haven’t read books to get me in the mood for a destination, aside from travel books, and I’d love to explore this for my 2019 travel!

    Going to Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and Maine/Quebec City/Montreal, Vermont. Any ideas welcome!

    If I have vacation downtime to read, I have reached for young age classics, now that I think about it: Harry Potter, Pollyanna, and Daddy-Long-Legs have all been read away from home.

    • Colleen Eidsness says:

      For your trip to Montreal and Quebec City read the Louise Penny books! The first is Still Life best to read them in order. #6, Bury Your Dead, is set in Quebec City. There is even a tour that takes you to the places in the book! I love Montreal and Quebec City!!

    • Janene says:

      If you are a mystery reader, C.J.Box has several books set in or near Yellowstone. When we drove there this summer, we passed the small town of Saddlestring where the main character and his family live. I was so excited but my husband didn’t get it! Sigh. He’s not much of a book reader!

    • Pam says:

      If you want a more historical understanding of Quebec culture, you might tackle these two books:
      “The Tin Flute” by Gabrielle Roy (1945; English translation 1947) and “The Two Solitudes” by Hugh MacLennan (1945)
      Both are widely considered to be classic Canadian novels, for various reasons.

      It depends what you’re looking for, I guess: Books mostly just set in a particular place but really could be transplanted anywhere with some minor tweaks, or books where Place is integral to the novel’s characters, plot and themes. When you take the book out of that place, it becomes something else entirely.
      Unfortunately, I’ve never read any of Louise Penny’s mysteries, so I can’t comment on how integral Place is in her books. As a Canadian I must remedy this omission in my reading life, and soon!

      • Kacie says:

        Pam — these classic Canadian novels sound perfect. Not available at my library, but used editions can be had inexpensively and are going in my cart. I also see a kindle version available of The Two Solitudes. Thank you! VERY excited to visit Quebec and the reading ahead of/during will be fantastic!

        • Pam says:

          I’m sure you’ll have a great time! I’ve been to both cities relatively recently, and both have a lot to see and do, with a much longer European-Canadian history – hundreds of years – than here in western Canada. My first stop in Montreal would be Schwartz’s for the famous smoked meat, haha. In Quebec City, it would probably be the Citadelle. I hope you enjoy the books and your travels! Best wishes.

    • Erika Claves says:

      If you enjoy memoirs, I recommend “Leaving Before the Rains Come” by Alexandra Fuller before your trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Last I checked, Fuller lives in a Yurt in Wyoming and, although the book focuses on her finding herself after the breakdown of her marriage, what I remember most is her beautiful descriptions of the Idaho/Wyoming landscape.

      And I definitely second Louise Penny for Quebec!!

    • Bethany says:

      Hi Kacie!

      We went to Vermont on an anniversary trip this year and I enjoyed The Secret History by Donna Tartt set in Vermont and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. The latter is actually about him hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail, but the trail runs through the state and we were able to hike a portion after I finished. Vermont is absolutely stunning! Enjoy your trip!

      • Kacie says:

        I read A Walk in the Woods earlier this year, and it was laugh out loud funny. Would like to read more of his work. Thanks for those titles!

  9. Susan in TX says:

    Caitlin beat me to it, but if you’re going to be in Edinburgh at all, you’ve got to read at least the first of A M Smith’s 44 Scotland Street books. He uses/refers to real places (I usually read these with the Google Maps street view open so I can “go places” with the characters – the next best thing to being there 😊).
    Happy and safe travels to you!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    When my husband and I went to Scotland, I reread the Outlander series. And then drove my husband crazy every time I pointed out something from the book!

  11. Maggie Ramsey says:

    Had resisted Harry Potter for 20 years.But, I visited Scotland in October and returned intrigued. I have read all 7 books since returning and am now a big fan.

  12. Shonda says:

    Being a reluctant traveler, I like to read The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton before going on a trip. He writes about his love for travel in such a beautiful way, I feel more encouraged to get away from my house and just go somewhere.

  13. Sarah Christine says:

    Also too big to carry TO Scotland, but have you read Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home? It is a delightful coming of age story set in Cornwall that I devoured this summer. I am adding Winter Solstice to my list!

  14. Katy Sammons says:

    I still can’t believe I’ve never seen anyone else mention Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles series here. The first book, The Game of Kings, takes place in Scotland and northern England. Dunnett is very erudite, and the book takes some time to get into, but it’s worth it.

  15. Laura says:

    I read The Shadow of the Wind while in Barcelona and while it wasn’t my favorite book, the walking tour in the back of the book was so cool. It definitely enhanced the reading to see the dark, shadowy alleyways in the Gothic Quarter as I read about them! Have a blast in Scotland!

    • Laura says:

      Ooh also- it’s kid lit and probably not at all what you’re looking for- but How to Train Your Dragon narrated by David Tennant has the best Scottish accent. So fun.

  16. Libby Miner says:

    I read Paris in Love by Eloisa James while in Paris last spring, the writer’s memoir about living there with her family for a year. I had walked by the school her children attended the same day I read about it. I love the “Scotland Street” series by Alexander McCall Smith, which takes place in Edinburgh! Have a wonderful trip!

  17. melinda stawicki says:

    Don’t miss the Writer’s Museum right off of the Royal Mile. It celebrates Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson & Robert Burns. So many manuscripts in a 17th century house. As you walk there be sure to look down on the ground to read wonderful quotes from Scottish authors. It is free as are all museums there. I took an author’s walking tour in town that started there as well as an evening literary pub tour led by 2 comedians and heard lots of great stories —many of the ideas for the Sherlock Holmes stories were gathered while A.C.Doyle was in medical school there. Look up at name plates on buildings and you’ll see where many Hogwart’s characters got their names. What an enchanting trip you’ll have! Some of the best travel novels I’ve read I’ve found on the book tables in museums. Oh-the National Library of Scotland is a fun stop as is the National Museum of Scotland. All walkable in Edinburgh!

  18. Andrea says:

    I loved the book (not the movie) How Green Was My Valley. I loved the audiobook with a certain reader also. (Can’t think of his name. I got it from a library sale).

  19. Megan says:

    My husband and I just came back from Scotland a couple months ago. While in Edinburgh, I recommend the literary pub tour. It is really fun. The tour guides gave ma a great list of writers to explore: Ian Banks, Val McDermot, Ian Rankin, Gene Broade, Niome Mitcherson and Kate Atkison were the ones I wrote down on the tour.

    Also, the writer’s museum is beautiful in Edinburgh and I highly suggest getting a cup of tea and some shortbread at The Elephant House and seeing the Harry Potter graffiti in the bathrooms.

    I really enjoyed reading the first couple books of the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith while there and seeing the places mentioned in Edinburgh. I haven’t yet read the 44 Scotland Street series by him yet but I heard there are always fans of that series looking for the house.

  20. Meghan says:

    I noted these on your last post, but to have all the Scottish recs in one place (at the risk of repeating myself): Sunset Song, Gowk Storm, and Quarry Wood are all lovely works from the Scottish Renaissance of the 1920s/30s. I’d also recommend Ian Rankin and Trainspotting for Edinburgh, Silver Darlings, and A Croft in the Hills. Walter Scott is also a lot of fun! (I came to Scotland for a semester abroad and then returned for my PhD and am still here, so let me know if you have any questions!) Also, this literary map of Edinburgh is a treat and has some literary paths to follow: https://litlong.org/excerpts/36789/0/0

  21. Stephanie says:

    You didn’t ask, but I’ll chime in anyhow: when packing, remind your self repeatedly that it’ll be damp–so whatever temperature it is will feel colder. This gives you an excuse to have more tea (or buy something woollen), but an extra layer is a good idea too. =)

    I love Scotland, though, especially the people!

    • Melinda Stawicki says:

      So true-a shop in Edinburgh had a sign that said “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothes-we sell Umbrellas here”.

  22. Kristin says:

    I have often read books in preparation of travel (notably the amount of scope of Alaska books I read before our cruise!) but my consideration for what books I pack is usually limited to what I own (very few books!) and what is small! (I haven’t done big travel since having kids and ebooks were not as readily available then!) However, I can often remember where I was while reading certain books, so it makes sense to think about this relationship ahead of time! How wonderful it would be to have a treasured book and a special trip share the same memory!

  23. Roxanna Kassam-Kara says:

    Rosamunde Pilcher’s September is also set in Scotland and beautifully atmospheric (as all her books are.) The plot revolves around a huge party in a tiny village that brings teh community together from all ends of the earth. Perhaps try this one if you’ve already read Winter Solstice?

  24. Jenny says:

    For the past couple of years I have been reading books about the places I travel, and it has added a new element to my reading! I read books set in Colorado before and during my trip there last summer. Reading Station Eleven while sitting in an airport was a little creepy, and on my last flight I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (involving a reluctant teenage traveler) in its entirety. I have a short trip to Silicon Valley next week and I immediately purchased Bad Blood after hearing it on your recent podcast!

  25. Dawn says:

    Liz Curtis Higgs wrote several books set in Scotland, starting with Thorn in My Heart. It resets the Biblical story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah to Scotland before the Prince Charles rising, but there is plenty to keep this series interesting.
    She then followed up her fiction series with a non-fic “My Heart’s in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland” which I’ve been saving to enjoy before my own trip. Good luck, Anne, and enjoy!

  26. Erica says:

    I spend just as much time deciding which books to pack as I do which clothing to pack! Does anyone else also struggle with selecting books which you fear might be too engrossing and therefore distract you from truly enjoying the place you’ve spent so much time, energy, and money getting to?
    Hope you have a wonderful trip, Anne!

    • Andrea says:

      I don’t like to fly. I load about five new books on my cell phone from Audible and bring needlework, sketchbooks and pens, crossword puzzles and magazines whenever I fly.

    • Jennife says:

      I also spend more time choosing my books than my clothes. My husband can’t believe that I would use my precious luggage space for physical books. He has a “no checked baggage” policy no matter where we are flying, so space is a precious commodity. But I love physical books even though I still have eBooks loaded on my phone and IPad and it is worth the space to me.

  27. Tava says:

    You will LOVE Scotland! One of the most beautiful places I have traveled to. Hopefully you’ll be able to visit the Highlands and see a few castles.

  28. Anne Weldon says:

    Edinburgh? Alexander McCall Smith’s Sunday Philosophy Club series. Harry Potter connections. But seriously, write about what you experience and save the reading for later. You are in for a memorable journey.
    Annie

  29. Emma says:

    I love vacation reading and was just checking your blog yesterday for ideas on vacation reads. I am headed to the beach in Mexico for Christmas. Does anybody have any recommendations for fast, easy reading or books set in Mexico/Latin America?

    • Amber says:

      Emma, I’m headed to Mexico after Christmas too and am planning to bring Water Like Chocolate along with me. Something short and light to read set in the country! 🙂

  30. Aimee says:

    The Bookshop on the Corner! You seem to veer toward more serious books than I do but I think you’d like it. I read Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Small Island when we went to London and then around Scotland. (Note the book is about England and Wales but the villages are similar enough it was still enjoyable.) It was so fun that I ultimately had to limit myself to a certain number of pages a day to make it last longer. I have a beautiful memory of waking early in our hotel on the edge of Loch Lomond and walking down to the village alone to read my allotted pages in a coffee shop. So sad when it ended!

    Not sure if you’ll be in Glasgow but if you are, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum was an absolute gem. Eccentric collection but that’s what makes it so special.

  31. Georgi says:

    I’m reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Murial Spark on the recommendation of a bookseller at Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh, which I visited while traveling there in Scotland in September. Haven’t finished it but the writing style is really intriguing so far and it’s set in Edinburgh!

  32. Ruth O says:

    Just a quick comment regarding the size of Winter Solstice (or her other beautiful books): I have found nice, suitcase or work-bag sized paperbacks in used bookstores, and they’re great-Winter Solstice is the one in my work locker…easy to stash. I am finding each year that it’s harder to read the smaller print though! The other thing about used bookstore prices is if you happen to lose or leave behind the book, it doesn’t feel as painful.
    I put the audio version of Winter Solstice on hold now as well.
    Have a wonderful and safe Edinburgh experience!

    • Antonia says:

      I was coming on here specifically to recommend Trainspotting. It’s written in dialect, which takes some getting used to, but is incredibly absorbing. A truly groundbreaking book that captures a time and a place. Highly highly recommended.

  33. Cokie says:

    One of my favorite bookshops in London, Daunt Books, organizes its fiction by location where it’s set–perfect for those of us who like to read books set in the places we travel to. You can find a travel guides in their extensive travel section (it was originally a travel book store) and then get something to read on your trip! I love Ann Cleves’ “Shetland” mysteries (Raven Black in the first one, I think) and I enjoyed reading the first Outlander book while travelling in the Highlands.

  34. Mary Anne Tomson says:

    If you are into time travel, The Middle Window is one of my all time faves and set in Scotland, though a bit difficult to locate.

  35. Claire says:

    You could read sunset song by Lewis grassic gibbon which is a book we read at school and I still love. About growing up in Scotland. Stunning. Also I loved Grace Notes by Bernard MacLaverty which has a strong sense of musicality and place. Enjoy your trip here.

  36. Karen H says:

    Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs. When we toured the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, I kept looking at the street names for places from the books, even though they’re set in the time of the Jacobite Rebellion. Also The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer, which is a fictional account of Mary Queen of Scots. I adored Scotland and know you will too!! Happy travels!

  37. Kelly Gerga says:

    I read We’ll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir by Jennifer Colburn on a trip to Paris with my own daughter and it was perfection!

  38. Sophie says:

    I read Next Year in Havana recently on my cruise to Havana. Crazy that I could picture the parts of the city discussed in the book and understand the history too. I also watched The Cuba Libre story on Netflix in preparation which was so helpful for the trip.

  39. Michelle Wilson says:

    I don’t have any recommendations but just have to tell you that I think you might be one of the coolest people that I know! Super jealous…what a fantastic trip! Tenga un buen viaje!

  40. Ruth says:

    Someone else might have mentioned this, but if/when you visit Edinburgh castle, look for the soldiers’ dog cemetery. Sad and sweet both.<3
    Also, bundle up. 🙂

  41. Sue says:

    “Jennie About to Be” by Elizabeth Ogilvie, the Maine author, comes to mind; it’s the first of a trilogy and it was good!
    But, besides “Outlander”, I’d be going to the movies for this one! “Local Hero” is a MUST MUST SEE, and then take in a few episodes of “Monarch of the Glen” for that accent.
    I went to Scotland, not for literary connections, but for history; we went to Holyrood Palace because of Mary, Queen of Scots, and to Culloden Field for the historic battle. And, in Oban is where Princess Diana’s mother settled, it’s very beautiful there.

  42. Sue says:

    OH! forgot about Dick Francis’ “To the Hilt” a thriller set in Scotland! His are all good, and infuse some Scots atmosphere.

  43. Claire says:

    For Scotland: The Crow Road by Iain Banks. First line: “It was the day my grandmother exploded “. I love this family mystery.

  44. Cait says:

    I am a long-time Rosamunde Pilcher fan and Scotland lover, and I read Winter Solstice for the first time while I was in the Scottish Highlands! September, is another wonderful Scottish Rosamunde Pilcher novel that I’ve loved, but, not surprisingly, is really best read in the fall. A slim, fast-paced Scotland book that I’ve read no less than three times, is Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart. Her books read a little like Daphne Du Maurier–wonderfully atmospheric and mysterious.

  45. Jayda Justus says:

    I love reading where I will be traveling. Each summer, we take our children on adventurous trips to Europe or national parks in America. I also try to have them read some books set in a place we will be visiting, so they will be familiar with the location and history behind these important landmarks. We love the “This is” series plus of course, Magic Treehouse, Ranger in Time, or other interesting historical fiction set at our destination.

    I love history so most of what I read is related to that, through either non-fiction or historical fiction. A few years ago, my husband and I took an anniversary trip to Paris and I read so many books about it: Edward Rutherford’s amazing “Paris, “The House I Loved” and a fascinating book that was mostly pictures comparing old Paris with new Paris (can’t remember the name!). For Rome, I read “Four Seasons in Rome” and “The Battle for Rome,” along with some others. It was amazing to hear the history of Rome in WW II and then go down the very same street where I could see bullet holes from an event described in the book still in the stone.

    I love to read after we get back, too, since you can then picture it for yourself. I did that this year with “The Girl in the Blue Coat,” which I read after we went to Amsterdam. It was wonderful!

    Have fun in Scotland!

  46. Andrea says:

    Can anyone comment on Coming Home
    By: Rosamunde Pilcher? I have never read any of her books but like that it is an Audible 40 hour listen.

    • Cait says:

      Coming Home is one of my absolute favorite books, and in spite of its length I’ve read it more than once and will probably read it again this winter! The story is epic in its scope and the characters stand my memory as friends. It speaks to the desire in all of us to belong, to have a home and family—of origin or of a more patched together variety. Rosamunde Pilcher expresses deep emotional truths in a clean unburdened prose. This book is definitely worth reading!! I hope you read it and love it! ☺️

  47. Jennifer Mounicou says:

    My husband and I are currently in Reykjavík, Iceland celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. Previously, I would not really have thought about reading books set where I was planning to visit or by authors from the region. A week before we left, I looked up some Icelandic authors and settled on two books for this trip. Thankfully, I was able to get translated versions from Amazon before we left. One was very short and I finished it on the way here. The other will be for the return trip tomorrow. On schedule for today is visiting a local bookstore and a yarn shop!
    Scotland is amazing. My husband and I have been twice – once before we had children and in March with our two boys. We spent two days driving around to see castles and abbeys and they loved it. At one of the shops, I picked up a children’s book on the Kelpies which we had seen from the highway. On this trip, I purchased a book about the Yule trolls that are a part of Icelandic Christmas tradition that I can’t wait to share with my boys. I love having these reminders of our trips around the world.
    Anne, enjoy your trip! I’m sure it will be amazing. Dress warmly. The wind in Scotland can make it feel so much colder than it is. If you are in Edinburgh, there is a great macaron shop called Mademoiselle Macaron near the Edinburgh Castle.

  48. Erika Claves says:

    I am headed on an Alaskan cruise for the first time this July and would love a few suggestions of books about the Alaska/West Coast of Canada area. I recently read The Great Alone, which was mostly horrifying, and am looking for something a little less dark.

      • Erika Claves says:

        Thank you, Shayne! I forgot about the Snow Child. I read it a long time ago and loved it, so it is definitely time for a reread. I had no idea she had written another book. I looked up To The Bright Edge of the World and it sounds so interesting.

    • Pam says:

      My favourite novel for the Pacific Northwest is “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven. Copyright 1973, but it is still in print. I read it in the late 70s, for an Anthropology course on the Pacific Northwest, and remember being incredibly moved. So much so, that I recently purchased a copy to sit on my all-time favourites shelf. Love the west coast!

    • Fiona says:

      Books set in Alaska:

      Bluetick Revenge by Mark Cohen

      Birds of Prey by J A Jance
      Crow in Stolen Colors by Marcia Simpson
      So Sure of Death by Dana Stabenow

    • Fiona says:

      Books set in British Columbia, Canada:

      The Suspect by L R Wright
      And on the surface die by Lou Allin
      Hoot to Kill by Karen Dudley
      Seaweed on the Street by Stanley Evans
      Death on a Short Leash by Gwendolyn Southin
      Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe

  49. Lucylovestoread says:

    I hope you enjoy your trip to Scotland! I live just outside Edinburgh so very biased but think it’s an amazing country with wonderful scenery and a great literary history. Wigtown looks wonderful, I need to plan a trip!

  50. Shayne Johnson says:

    I was in London and Edinburgh last Christmas/New Years and you will love it. So unbelievably cozy. I brought a paperback copy of Winter Solstice with me and then left behind when I finished so I didn’t have to lug back. It went perfect with the atmosphere. Not sure if you will be in Edinburugh but a book about Mary Queen of Scotts would be amazing. Highly recommend Tea at the Siget Library and visiting Holyrood Palace.

  51. Heather says:

    Anne, you will love Scotland. My daughter and son-in-law are at St. Andrews and we have visited them twice there. There is an awesome bookstore there, Topping & Co., which regularly carries a lot of signed copies of so many books. You never know what you will find. My favourite purchases there have been the tiny books you can get for a pound, and because they are small you can fit a lot of them into a suitcase.

  52. Fiona Craig says:

    Some books set in Scotland:

    Malice in the Highlands by Graham Thomas
    Long Day Monday by Peter Turnbull
    Death and the Lit Chick by G M Malliet
    The Windsor Knot by Sharyn McCrumb
    Mysteries by Ian Rankin
    Hen’s Teeth by Manda Scott
    The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia Macneal
    Shetland series by Ann Cleeves
    Now May You Weep by Deborah Crombie
    Hamish Macbeth series by M C Beaton
    Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea by Nancy Atherton

  53. Sarah says:

    Well if your off to Dumfries and Galloway you have to read a poem by the Scottish national poet, Robert Burns. His most famous one is Tam o’shanter. He lived part of his life in the area and you can visit the farm.

    One novelist to keep out an eye out for is SR Crockett a Galloway author: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-27033222

    While 39 steps is also based in Galloway: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Nine_Steps

    I recommend visiting culzean castle while your in the area.

    In addition, reading a bit more about Robert the Bruce might be interesting. I will see if I can remember the fiction novel where he stars.

  54. Vicki says:

    I usually read books that travel well and that I can read in one airplane ride. If you haven’t read Jenny Colgan’s Scotland books, especially The Bookshop on the Corner, you should give them a try.

  55. Robin says:

    Oh, my goodness! That sounds like a dream come true that I didn’t even know I had! I cannot wait to hear the stories from that adventure! In Another Time by Caroline Leech is another idea for Scotland. I love to travel read! Any ideas for my 13 year old daughter going to Williamsberg and Washington DC?

  56. Robin says:

    If you Lived Here I Would Know Your Name by Heather Lende is a fun one for Alaska. It is an autobiography of her life in Haines, Alaska. It gives a great glimpse of what it is like to live there.

  57. Diana says:

    I like reading books that take place where I’m traveling to both before and during the trip. And after but I really plan on before and during. Although to New York this spring I took “The Royal We” but it was also the weekend of the Royal Wedding (took NYC set ones too). But, inexplicably, to Las Vegas this fall I took…Anne of Green Gables. Because if there is any book that screams VEGAS! It’s Anne with an E. Hahahaha.

  58. Nanci Garon says:

    If you go to Edinburgh Castle for tea – it is not an earthquake but a cannon salute! You often get wonderful shortbread any time you get tea. Local accents might be a challenge – thinking of our taxi driver! Enjoy and keep warm. Hotels often have umbrellas in the entry to borrow. Had a wonderful time there!!!!!!

  59. I feel like an anomaly in the reading world: I don’t change my reading plans/habits for travel at all! I’m reading what I’m reading, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing – I do always *hugely* overpack though, overestimating how much I’ll read on flights and in cars. And I inevitably seek out secondhand and indie bookstores in every city/town I visit, pick up a bunch MORE books, and have to find room for them in the suitcase… gah, bookworm struggles! 😉

  60. Janice Rine says:

    One of my favorite mystery series is set in Edinburgh,Scotland. It’s the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series by Paige Shelton. The first one is titled The Cracked Spine. It’s about a girl from Kansas living& working as a bookseller in Edinburgh. It has good descriptions of local scenery.

  61. Cb says:

    Welcome to Scotland! I’m from California originally but have been in Edinburgh for 7 years and it’s gorgeous. Beside the Ocean of Time by Robert Mackay Brown is incredible. A hidden gem (posthumous Booker winner, maybe?) and really beautiful and lyrical.

  62. loribeth says:

    A few people have mentioned Robert Louis Stevenson… I’d like to put in a plug for one of my favourite authors, his cousin, D.E. Stevenson, who wrote 40 novels (some set all or in part in Scotland) from the 1930s through the 1970s. I read many of her books when I was a teenager, rediscovered her a few years ago & now belong to Stevenson fan groups on Facebook & ioGroups. 🙂 The plots are sometimes on the flimsy side, but they are strong on characters and description.

    http://www.destevenson.org/

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