As amazing and as fulfilling that traveling is, there is a lot of transfer time! Especially in South America, I spent a lot of time on a bus. Luckily I don’t mind a long haul, as long as I have a good book in hand.
Traveling allowed me to really get involved in a few books, most of which I throughly enjoyed. So if you’re the reading type, I hope some of you find these recommendations helpful!
Frida Kahlo a Biography – Keely Bautista
Since Mexico City was one of the first stops of the 3 months, I wanted to get this one smashed out before we visited her house. It’s a short one so it’s easy to digest and gives amazing insight into her life. Almost most of it I already kind of knew from watching the movie but it was still a great refresher for before the house visit!
The Barefoot Investor – Scott Pape
I have to thank my friend Shardae for this recommendation. The author is an Aussie guy who is passionate about financial security. Sounds super boring and not my thing at all! But it was probably one of my favourite books from the whole trip. Scott breaks down a simple, systematic way to maximize your wealth, get the most out of your super, and basically just rock it in the financial department. It’s super easy to read and it’s been clearly written for the ‘every man/woman’. I got super inspired by it and can’t recommend it enough, especially to those of you like me who are firmly in the ‘I have no idea what I’m doing’ department
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
So this one I downloaded because it was like the most popular book on iBooks and I liked the title.
It’s pretty much a book about exactly what it says, how to not give a fuck. Or, in my interpretation, how to care less about stuff that doesn’t matter. I agreed with everything he said, but because I think I pretty much live my life this way anyway, it was less inspiring and more affirming. He does have a lot of little mini-stories in there to prove his multiple points though, which I enjoyed. I read it in parts between other books, so it might have been more effective if I didn’t take so long. Give it a go. Not my fave.
The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Handmaids Tale was my favorite TV show from 2017, hands down.
But the book, amazing! I can see the TV show actually followed the book very closely. In fact, a lot extra happens in the show rather than the other way. But I just loved the whole concept behind the story. Basically, it follows the story of a ‘Handmaid’ in a future where a religious cult has taken over America and implemented heinous and misogynistic practices into everyday society. I don’t want to give too much away but it is so incredibly well done. Read the book, or watch the show or both!
When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
Two words: heart-wrenching. This is a book written by a neurosurgeon who is on his deathbed after developing cancer. He talks about his life as a doctor and his experience where he turned from world-renowned surgeon to a debilitated patient.
This is an autobiography but reads like a novel or a poem. He’s an exceptional writer and the emotions and pain that he goes through are very real and raw. Grab the tissues for this one.
See Me – Nicolas Sparks
After apple blocked my iCloud account (annoying travel issues) I had to go back to real paper books. So I have to thank my friend Steph who I met in Guatemala for this one because without it I would have had nothing to fulfill me!
Nicolas Sparks delivers per usual with this one, an easy, soppy romance novel. I still enjoy these types of books, but I do feel he kind of writes the same book over and over again. However, it’s a good one for when you don’t want to think too much!
This one, in particular, follows the same boy meets girl, the boy has issues, girl changes boy, girl gets into trouble, boy saves the girl, everyone lives happily ever after.
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
A great thing about youth hostels, book swaps! I was over the moon when I discovered a Jodi Picoult book buried in the book swap of our hostel in Medellin!
She’s probably my favorite author when it comes to a juicy novel. She tackles really interesting topics, and even though it’s always the same sorta thing where there’s a court case etc I think she can get away with it.
This one centers around a black neonatal nurse in America who is ordered by her white supremacist patients not to ‘touch their baby.’ The baby goes into cardiac arrest and then the nurse is blamed for the baby’s death. It displays all different sides of the story including the white supremacists which was interesting. I was glued to this one, it was probably the reason behind a few late travel diaries.
Highly recommend this and anything else by her.
Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
This one was recommended to me by Danny! We found it in a book swap In Peru just after doing our Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu. It was interesting to come across it because a few weeks before I was talking with a German guy we had met about his friend who had attempted Everest unsuccessfully. His friend had told him that the hike to the summit is dotted with hundreds of the deceased hikers who never made it down.
This is a true story about a group of mountaineers who climbed Everest in 1996. It’s written by one of the guys on that trek. The season that they went up has been deemed the deadliest season on Everest ever with 19 people dying in one month. It’s written by a journalist and I didn’t find it a particularly dynamic or gripping style of writing. It’s more fact driven and straightforward. But it is really interesting and obviously tragic. I recommend it even if you don’t know anything about climbing. I think it’s become a movie now too.
The Grown Up – Gillian Flynn
This is a short story by the writer of Gone Girl, which is an amazing book so I figured I’d give her others a go. The Grown Up is actually a short story with a mystery spin and an unclear ending, which makes for a very intriguing read. It revolves around a con artist who is (or isn’t) duped by a little boy. I can’t elude to much, but I definitely recommend it for a quick short read and lengthy discussion.
I have to admit, I finished this one after I got back from my trip. But I started it beforehand so I think it totally still counts!
I love Jodi Picoult and her style of writing, but this one kind of threw me. I always expect to LOVE her stuff, but this one fell a little flat considering the subject matter. It is about a young man who goes to school one day and shoots his bullies and the perspectives of his parents, him, the bullies and lawyers involved in the trial. The book tackles a tough subject, and I felt Jodi was trying to instill sympathy for the shooter, but I just didn’t get there. I couldn’t relate to any character, despite my own experience with bullies, so, for this reason, I took a long time to read it. Let me know what you think though!
Please let me know your favourite books, I need new ideas now!