One of the most common book recommendation requests I get—be that in my inbox, on the podcast, or in the MMD Book Club—is escapist reads. Believe it or not, this was a familiar query long before a pandemic upended all our travel plans!
Longtime readers know that a good book, carefully chosen, can take you on a grand adventure—even while you never leave the comfy chair in your living room.
Today, I’m sharing a list of books that invite you to come along on a vicarious vacation, or inspire your future travels. This mix of nonfiction and fiction features a variety of enviable vacations, from family cruises to solo backpacking adventures to sun-drenched island getaways.
I also included a little bonus category packed with vacations-gone-wrong. These thrillers might not stir up daydreams about faraway locations, but they will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next, and the action unfolds in interesting and should-have-been idyllic locales.
This summer, I hope you find the restorative escape you need, whether by plane, on the road, or in the pages of a good book.
10 books to inspire wanderlust
5 books about vacations gone horribly, terribly wrong
Liv and Nora are cousins, close as sisters. After a rough year and lots of family drama, they're in desperate need of a low-key family getaway. The cruise was going to be perfect. And it is, for a while. But then on a normal—almost boring—Central American shore excursion, a series of misunderstandings and misjudgments ends with terrifying confusion—where are the children? Soon enough, the adults realize six children have vanished—and from alternating points of view, we discover where they went, and why, and who's to blame. (There's lots to go around.) Readers take note: this is messy, and a little racy.More info →
What books have YOU enjoyed as a vicarious escape? We’d love to hear your recommendations—please share them in the comments section!
P.S. Keep traveling with 20 novels that will transport you to the shore, 20 travel memoirs to take you around the world, or 20 more books for armchair travel and vicarious adventures. You can find more literary tourism posts here.