Book choice: 5 great books that take you places

Book choice: 5 great books that take you places

Do you love reading books that take you places? Read on to find five fabulous book choices that will transport you to different countries, eras and cultures.

Books that take you places

The Wind from the East – Almudena Grandes

Set in Andalusia in the South West of Spain this book takes you on a journey into the lives of two strangers who are both escaping their past. It’s a fascinating insight into the lives of the characters Juan Olmedo and Sara Gomez and the province of Cadiz, exploring themes of class, duty, family, love and relationships all mixed in with the effects of the infamous Levante (east) wind common to this area of Spain. A must for anyone travelling to the Costa de la Luz.

Buy it here: Blackwells

Ancestor Stones by Aminatta Forna

Set in Africa, Ancestor Stones takes you on a journey through the lives of several generations of women who were brought up on a coffee plantation. Starting in 2003 with Abie who travels from London to Africa to inherit the plantation, the novel goes back to 1926 with the story of Asana and takes us full circle through the stories, minds and history of Abie’s aunts, all born on the plantation, until we come back to Abie in 2003. Beautifully told with exquisite use of language.

Buy it here: Bookshop.org or here: Blackwells

The Locust and the Bird by Hanan Al-Shaykh

Starting in 1932 Hanan Al-Shayak tells us the story of her mother growing up in Lebanon. The Locust and the Bird provides us with a powerful insight into the fragile lives of women as nine-year old Kamila is uprooted from her life when her father abandons her mother and leaves them destitute. Kamila’s mother takes her to to live in Beirut where not only are they controlled by the male members of the family but Kamila is secretly betrothed to her brother in law. A powerful story of love and pain and a woman who refuses to be crushed.

Buy it here: Bookshop.org or here: Blackwells

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

This compelling novel set in India tells the story of the two-egg twins Rahel and Esta and the complexities of their family relationships from their grandmother who owns the pickle factory to their single mother and their cousin Sophie Mol who visits from London. I particularly loved Arundhati Roy’s clever use of language and punctuation in this deep and powerful narrative. From the beginning, we are aware that fate will take its course but we can’t avoid being pulled in to the story. Winner of the 1997 Booker Prize.

Buy it here: Bookshop.org or here: Blackwells

In the Blink of an Eye by Ali Bacon

This beautifully written novel takes us back in time to the 1800s and the Scottish city of Edinburgh. Weaving in stories from different perspectives, Ali Bacon skilfully guides us through the emerging world of photography, combining science, art and Edinburgh society in a stunning and accomplished story of friendship.

Buy it here: Bookshop.org

So, here are five of my favourite books that take you places. What would you add to the list?

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4 thoughts on “Book choice: 5 great books that take you places

  1. I would add: –
    ‘Celestial Bodies’ by Jokha Alharthi, the story of 3 sisters, their marriages and their families as they move from a slave owning past, through colonial changes to the modern day. It shows the sometimes painful transition from a very traditional lifestyle to a more modern way of life. Winner of the International Mann Booker prize 2019.
    Also, ‘A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush’ by Eric Newby, published in 1958.
    Be prepared for a culture shock, both by the rather upper class ‘British’ way of doing things in those days, but more importantly by reading about the lives and geography of people in Afghanistan, in the days before the current war started. An evocative tale, easy to read, describing one of the most beautiful wildernesses on earth, and one which is now effectively out of bounds.

    1. Stella, thank you so much for your recommendations. I haven’t read either of them, so I will add them both to my list. Thanks!

  2. I like the way that everything is set out very clearly, with the use of different coloured inks to emphasize certain points. The photography at the beginning of the book is excellent especially the open book.

    The books suggested seem very interesting, and I’m sure I’ll try one of them when I get through the enormous pile of books beside my bed.
    Regards Sally

    1. Thank you Sally. I am glad you liked it. The photograph was taken by Maria Pino Gomez who is the official photographer at Sierra Alta Apartments where we hold our writing retreats.

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