Hello book-loving friends! That’s all of you, right?

So I asked my fellow Travelettes to recommend some books for a summer reading list and here are the results, some beautiful wanderlust-inducing reads about places, people and the power of travel.

Please feel free to add any of the books you’ve loved recently in the comments and I will add them to this bookshelf on Goodreads where you can find all of these books (and we can make friends too!)



Katja recommends three very different  books that are about travel:

Backpack by Emily Barr

The ultimate girl meets world story… essential reading for anyone with itchy feet or a need to reminsice about their own backpacking adventures.

Dork Whore: My Travels Through Asia as a Twenty-Year-Old Pseudo-Virgin by Iris Bahr

Twenty-year-old Iris Bahr is on a mission in Southeast Asia; to lose her virginity. Needless to say what follows is a journey of self-discovery and hilarious travel encounters.

The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

Three women on separate journeys through life become connected by the stories they don’t realise they’re telling. Chick-lit at its classiest!

Katja also wanted to recommend “…anything by Amy Tan is also pretty awesome and I should say that all these book recommendations are backpacker favourites that I found in book exchanges across Southeast Asia.”

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Sophie has three travel reads you should check out and I am itching to read all three now.

By the Seat of My Pants by Don George

A collection of humorous short stories compiled by Don George recounting the adventures, challenges, rewards and downright weirdness of travel. Sophie recommends the stories by Pico Iyer, one of her favourite authors!

A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East by Tiziano Terzani

The adventures of an Asian correspondent who was warned not to fly for a year by a fortune teller in Hong Kong, and so set about traversing Asia by foot, train, ferry, bus and car.

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald

One woman’s love-hate-love affair with India as Sarah Macdonald shares her experiences living in the world’s most polluted city New Delhi where she says the only place she can find herself is “within”.

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Another trio of great destination-based travel reads, here’s what Alex recommends and why in her own words.

The Beach by Alex Garland
“I’m definitely from The Beach  generation – loved the story of the banana pancake trail travellers all looking for an adventure but all doing the same things until they go off-map and discover that perfect, self-sufficient island community… I know it’s a giant cliche but it’s also the dream isn’t it? Well, until it all comes down hard around their ears in blood and drugs and madness.”
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon
“A book that chose me was The Shadow of the Wind on my first visit to Barcelona. I was browsing the books left behind by travellers in a little, higgledy-piggledy bookcase in our hotel but they were all in Spanish except this one. My visit was in Autumn and the shady, mysterious and ever-so-gothic story fitted the mood of the city perfectly.”
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasby Hunter S. Thompson
” …or anything by Hunter S. Thompson really! This is the ultimate book for the ultimate road trip… ‘Buy the ticket, take the ride.’ “


The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet

Perhaps this is  the only book on this list that doesn’t need an introduction, but if in doubt be rest assured  that this is the ULTIMATE travel book about this world’s infinite potential and your future enjoyment in exploring it… ENJOY!



Bob Marley: Reggae King of the World by Malika Lee Whitney & Dermott Hussey

Rather than give a description of this book – it’s possibly obvious what it’s about – here are the things this book taught Rita about travel and life! All wonderful reasons to read this book…

“… Bob Marley’s story inspires me to 1) not worry, but be happy 2) to be a proud vegan, 3) to live in the moment 4) to travel to jamaica 5) to believe in love 6) to be with my friends 7) and to do what i am passioned about.”


Stone Junction: An Alchemical Pot-Boiler by Jim Dodge

Marie explained to me why she loves this book…

“It’s not your typical travel book, but if this doesn’t make you want to embark on a wild ride through America, I don’t know what will. Part demented road-trip, part subversive coming-of-age-story, Stone Junction follows the destiny of Daniel, whose education is taken on by a secret society of outlaws after his rebellious mother dies in a bomb explosion.

Rambling through the country with a colourful succession of professors, Daniel learns how to survive in the wild, win high-stakes poker games (in Vegas), prepare the most efficient drug cocktails (in Oregon), or pass as any person of his choice through disguise (in New York) — all with the purpose of completing a mysterious task. This fast-paced ode to American counterculture and its magnificent misfits is best read fast, while sleep-deprived and on the road.”

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The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny 

Documenting the life of British explorer,  Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), The Discovery of Slowness is a story of one man’s life from awkward school boy to the Governor of Tasmania, Australia. Surviving naval battles and multiple long spells at sea, this is a book for those inspired by travel of previous eras.

This book inspired Kathi to “travel slow and to travel north”.



Killing My Own Snakes: A Memoir by Ann Leslie

Caroline has a very special reason why she loves this book so much…

“I met Dame Ann Leslie last week at a panel discussion about women in war reporting at Al Jazeera English (as you do!) and about three seconds into her first answer I was hooked on this journalist’s wild, adventurous and fearless life and her incredible sense of humour. She made the mighty newsroom walls in London shake with laughter. I wish she was a distant aunt that I could come and visit without an excuse and ask her how it really felt to be the only lady reporter in a world dominated by men. And whether she was ever scared. And how it was possible to keep up a really healthy and steady relationship with her husband (they met at college and stayed together ever since) throughout all of this. I’ve just started reading Killing My Own Snakes but it’s already one of my faves. Get this book onto your Kindles if you want to get a refreshingly different perspective on events that shaped and changed history, like the fall of the Berlin Wall or Mandela’s final walk to freedom. And I think I might e-mail her now and ask her if she could do with a niece.”


Me (Frankie)

In Seven Stages: A Flying Trip Around the World by Elizabeth Bisland

While researching the story of Nellie Bly for a work project recently I stumbled upon the story of Elisabeth Bisland, and subsequently her memoir of her travels around the world in 76 days, a challenge she reluctantly undertook at the insistence of her newspaper editor who was keen to have one of his own female journalists take on the challenge that Bly was very publicly doing, i.e. to make Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days a reality. While Bly is a much-documented, much talked about and indeed pioneering journalist of her time, due to Bisland arriving back in New York four days later and “losing” the challenge, little is known about “the other woman” and this book, her memoir of the trip, suggests she was an intelligent and modestly brave woman.

Eloquent and elegant, yet equally self-deprecating and openly humbled by her experience – one that she was honestly petrified by – following a young woman on her journey around the world, travelling solo, in the 1880s was like stepping back in time and understanding a period of history and travel that has long gone. And yet many of Bisland’s observations rang true to me, recalling my own observations of the tropics, the colour of the sea and the feeling of being a million miles from home and yet very close to where you should be in life.

Findings by Kathleen Jamie

Award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie explores the beauty, wildness and sweetest stories of Scotland. I’m not a fan of nature books or nature writing, but this is a collection of essays that willingly transported me to the rugged outdoor beauty of Scotland.

Night Bus


And if you’re coming to London this year, I’ve just published a short story called Night Bus, which is all about the weird things that happen on the number 94 night bus in London. Get it for just 99p, $0.99 or €0.99 now.

Happy reading!!


Photos of what you’re reading from the #dailytravelette challenge, in rough order of appearence!

Collage 1: @redbohemia, @cambriatours, @so_bello, @leighlwilson, @claudiaaaaha, @sandra_kide, @marvelousalexa, @tenpennydreams

Collage 2: @nadinesiddre, @monisssima, @noparamosquietos, @sheandhem, @kathryntallis, @yumandmore, @carotravels, @ms.fairy_t

Collage 3: @kikan21, @petiteannna99, @phillicen, @alphawithani, @miss_ri, @alexsaint13, @ksenijajagger, @soundwaveontheroad



This post was written by Frankie Thompson who was a Travelette from 2012 – 2015. Originally from London, UK, Frankie was nomadic for several years before settling in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she lives with her Australian partner and baby boy. She spends her time buying vintage dresses, riding a rusty old bike around the canals and writing books inspired by her travels. Frankie blogs about travel, writing and motherhood at As the Bird flies blog.