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The Next Somewhere's favorite books in 2016!Here are the ten best travel books of 2016 according to The Next Somewhere

A recent discovery of an Icelandic holiday tradition where books are gifted to one another on Christmas Eve prompted me to put together a reading list for those wanting to adopt this Scandinavian tradition. More on this festive exchange, apparently the cherished custom causes what is known as a Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,” due to the overwhelming number of books purchased between September and December in a lead-up to Christmas. Reading is one of my most cherished pastimes and for those looking for a quick getaway, there’s nothing simpler than picking up a book and getting lost.  Here are a list of travel books that I read and/or discovered this year that I’d like to share with you all. Happy reading (and an ever happier holiday season!!!)

my favorite books of 2016

THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS BY ERIC WEINER

Of all the books that were released this year, none had me more excited than this title. The Geography of Genius is the follow-up to Eric Weiner’s 2008 debut, The Geography of Bliss. In The Geography of Bliss, the former NPR correspondent’s dissatisfaction with life leads him on a personal odyssey around the world to find out what makes people happy. In the same vein, The Geography of Genius is another worldly sojourn, but this time charting genius over time. From the Athens of antiquity to Florence’s Rinascimento, the great artistic era known as the Renaissance, Weiner unpacks the origins of creative genius in concentrated spaces.

Status: Read. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

WHERE THE DEAD PAUSE AND THE JAPANESE SAY GOODBYE BY MARIE MUTSUKI MOCKETT

Five years have passed since my dad’s unexpected passing and only now do I find myself really trying to understand the depths of my grief. As I searched for answers, I cam across this book centered around a woman dealing with a profound loss of life. The author recounts the sorrows of being unable to bury her grandfather’s bones in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor explosion, while simultaneously grappling with the unexpected death of her father. This propels her on a journey about mortality and the afterlife, with Japan as the framework for this inquisition.

Status: Read. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD BY TREVOR NOAH

I blame my current obsession with comedian Trevor Noah’s charm and wit for this addition to the list. I was introduced to my man crush by way of his 2013 “African American” stand up special  (watch full show here) where he touches upon how his desire for acceptance as a mixed race child leads him to the USA. His new memoir, just released earlier this month and part of my holiday gift guide, focuses mainly on his complicated childhood in apartheid South Africa, being born to a white Swiss father and black Xhosa mother in a time when interracial couplings were a crime to the state. Beneath Noah’s sharp wit and candor is a story about finding one’s place in the world, a quest for belonging that all of us are bound to relate to.

Status: Read. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

COOK KOREAN! A COMIC BOOK WITH RECIPES BY ROBIN HA

Accompanying my newfound enthusiasm for cooking is a newfound enthusiasm for cookbooks. A longtime lover of graphic novels, this cookbook dispatches its instructions through comics. And it’s also about Korean food, a cuisine I am especially fond of given my brief stint as an English teacher in Korea. With the ingredients and recipes of sixty traditional dishes all drawn out (literally!) you’ll become a kimchi master in no time.

Status: Read. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

THE YOGA OF MAX’S DISCONTENT BY KARAN BAJAJ

This generation seems to be in a state of spiritual uprising. We continue to turn more and more inward for answers instead of listening to the antiquated scriptures of established religions. In this tale of transcendence, a disenchanted American travels to farthest reaches India on a quest for enlightenment. But it’s not your usual hippy-dippy trash; Max’s yearning to overcome his suffering requires him to test the limits of not only the mind, but the body and the soul.

 

my favorite books of 2016

LITTLE PRINCES BY CONOR GRENNAN

A personal favorite, Little Princes is an inspiring tale about one man’s determination to reunite the broken families of Nepal. I read this one right after a three-week visit to Nepal, which involved ten days volunteering at a homestay. It provided a great deal of context and reflection for me, while further proving the resilience of the Nepalese, which I had gotten a small preview of when visiting Nepal post-earthquake. If you need something to revive your belief in the goodness of humankind, check this out at your local library right now .

Status: Read. For longer review, click here. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

ATLAS OBSCURA BY JOSHUA FOER, DYLAN THURAS, AND ELLA MORTON

Atlas Obscura, one of the year’s biggest bestsellers, is an exploration into the bizarre. I love getting off-the-grid but not in the traditional sense of trekking into the wild. This is more of an excursion into the curious, a homage to 700 of this planet’s wondrous oddities. From the manmade to the natural, every remarkable peculiarity covered in this book will astonish even the most intrepid of spirits.

 

my favorite books of 2016

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE BY ANTHONY DOERR

The winner of 2015 Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category, All The Light We Cannot See is a haunting World War II novel about a blind French girl whose destiny collides with that of a young German boy.  The language is vividly intricate, so much so that it resembles poetry, and the magnitude of human emotion encapsulated in the tome’s 544 pages is enough to penetrate deep into the soul long after the words are read.

Status: Read. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

EATING VIET NAM: DISPATCHES FROM  A BLUE PLASTIC TABLE BY GRAHAM HOLLIDAY

Graham Holliday of the Noodle Pie fame is probably one of the most recognized bloggers-turned-authors. In his debut writing effort, Hollidays takes us on a journey through the backstreets of Hanoi and Saigon for a taste of Vietnam’s finest, yet overlooked, culinary displays. The gastronomic chronicles of Holliday are full of the strange and the sublime and offer insight into the culture most fail to recognize. I used this book as a bible for my own adventurous eating in Vietnam and it has yet to fail me.

Status: Read. For longer review, click here. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

my favorite books of 2016

THE EXPATRIATES BY JANICE Y.K. LEE

An expatriate myself, I could really understand the superficiality of the storyline, which is also used as device to explore the nuances of expatriation. This drama revolves around the lives of three despairing American women living in modern-day Hong Kong and how their personal tragedies force their paths to converge. With every chapter belonging to a single character, the novel paints an accurate portrait of the isolation those living abroad face, even in a community so closely intertwined and insular.

Status: Read. For longer review, click here. ✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪

👉 If you have any travel books to suggest, let me know in the comments below!

Give me a shout-out on Pinterest pretty please?

The Best Travel Books in 2016 via @The Next Somewhere

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Millette Pulido is a Bay Area-based, Boston-bred Filipina who loves to vagabond. At 29, the former expat has traded in her nomadic ways for a semi-grounded life in San Jose, CA. Recently married, she's focusing on balancing travel with a full-time job and a destination wedding side hustle, all while planning her honeymoon in 2020. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps. Find out her #wheretonext on Instagram @thenextsomewhere.

Comments:

  • December 26, 2016

    Certainly something for everyone on this list. I’m glad a South African book/writer made it onto your list! I too enjoy to read and a few of these will be added to my ever growing list of books to read. ( Geography of Genius and Atlas Obscura).

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  • December 26, 2016

    Some great suggestions there. I am a reader but I haven’t read any of these. I plan to definitely hunt down the one on Vietnam’s street food!

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  • December 26, 2016

    Lovely list Izzy! It’s interesting that you read more than one book at once. I also LOVE reading but cannot, for the life of me, do this. The Korean comic cooking book looks awesome! I’ll be on the lookout for a full review when you get to it. And, I must mention that I share the man crush on Trevor Noah. When I learned about him I went on a bit of an obsessive binge to watch all his stand up videos I could get my hands on haha.

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  • December 26, 2016

    What an awesome list of books! These all look like books I’d love to read!!! Especially the Trevor Noah book. I think he’s so funny! Thanks for putting together this list 🙂

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  • December 26, 2016

    What an awesome list! And what I liked most about it is that it’s mostly about Asia. I also like this Scandinavian tradition you mentioned. I wonder if the Filipinos will ever adopt something like it? Haha I’ve bookmarked the page since I plan to read more in the new year (plan anyway, haha) thank you for sharing! 🙂

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  • December 26, 2016

    Being almost in Scandinavia for Christmas this year (Finland for Christmas Eve and Tallinn for Christmas Day), this is a custom that I definitely want to adopt. Plus, you have recommended several books that I want to read. In fact, I want to read them all!

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  • December 26, 2016

    I got Atlas Obscura for Christmas too. Can’t wait to read it! Just read Hillbilly Elegy and it was as excellent as reviews said. I’m into Spitalfields 2000 years of English History next I saw the Expatriates at an airport book shop. Kicking myself for not having picked it up.

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  • December 26, 2016

    Thanks for these! Need to refresh my reading list for the holidays – a couple of coast trips coming up and I enjoy laying back in the hammock with a great travel book!

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  • December 26, 2016

    Cool list, I will need to check these out. We are heading down to the beach today with books in hand for some nice beach reading.

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  • December 26, 2016

    “Not your usual hippy-dippy trash” you took the words right out of my mouth! I think im always searching for answers from the universe so that might be a good one for me. The Vietnamese and Korean food books sound pretty rad too! I need to pick some books up while I’m in an English speaking country!

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  • December 26, 2016

    This is exactly what I needed as our next vacation fast approaches. You’ve come up with an impressive and extensive list of reading material for such a wide range of readers; I’m very impressed! Good thing we got amazon gift cards in our stockings this year! We’ll be looking into several of these for the upcoming year, but “All the Lights,” “Eating Vietnam,” and “Little Princes” will be at the top of our list.

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  • December 26, 2016

    What an amazing round up! Some of these have been on my list, but there were some I’ve never heard of. There was one that really caught my attention: Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye. This reminded me of the movie “Grave of the Fireflies”. Different story, but same era during the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor explosion.

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  • December 26, 2016

    I have not read any of these mentioned here. My favourite is Into Thin Air, Not without my daughter. Need to refresh my reading list with this list.

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  • December 26, 2016

    Hi Izzy! Just like you I love reading as well. So far, I have read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and “Eat, Pray, and Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Those 2 books are pretty popular. The book written by Paulo Coelho inspires me to travel because that has been my dream since I was a child. I am excited about your travel book club. This is something good to look forward to in your blog. 🙂

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  • December 27, 2016

    So many books to add to my reading list! I didn’t realize Trevor Noah had a book. I’ve been hearing a bit about him recently. Maybe I should check that one out though I think the Little Princes is probably more of what I would usually read. I love a good list though because I don’t have the time to compile them anymore. Thanks for the good reads!

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  • December 27, 2016

    This post is very timely for me! I was planning to buy a new book, and then I saw this. I’d love to read the book named, The Expatriates. I think it has the same genre with “How They Met, and Other Storie” by David Levithan.

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  • December 27, 2016

    Oh, I love a good book list!!! I’m always looking for new things to read so will defos be coming back to this! I’ve had All the Light We Cannot See sitting on my kindle for while but haven’t got around to reading it yet. I read Shantaram this year while I was in India and it was amazing. No other book can compare now. Such a great list, thanks for putting this together!

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  • December 27, 2016

    Wow, you must really enjoy reading if you’re reading at least three at the same time. When do you find the time?! Geography of Bliss and Geography of genius sound great! Thanks for the recommendations.

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  • December 27, 2016

    These are some very interesting titles. I’ve been wanting to read Trevor Noah’s book for a while. Cant wait to check out the new Atlas Obscura.

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  • December 27, 2016

    When I saw the title I was expecting to see travel books as one would expect them. But yeah, the term should not be limited to informative literature showcasing photos and the where and what of travelling. There is also travelling involved reading fictional and non-fiction stories of people and their lives. It just reminded me of reading Howard Fast’s series on the “Immigrants” ~ where I learned most about San Francisco that proved to be very useful when I was able to visit the city. that was almost three decades ago when I read it. How I wish I could find the time to read more ~

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  • December 27, 2016

    This is great! My boyfriend and I frequented a lot of bookshops throughout the travels in SE Asia and books are something we would recommend those traveling to have at all times. There’s really nothing like opening a book when you’re taking those long bus rides and places with no wifi. It really helped us get back into reading and it’s something we’ve been lacking to do since we returned to Korea (doesn’t help with wifi in every corner, sigh). We will definitely be getting our hands on “Born a Crime”, “Little Princes”, and “Eating Vietnam” to get us started again. Thanks for sharing Izzy!

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  • December 27, 2016

    I am enthralled by some of these selections and can’t wait to purchase them or download them on my kindle! I have always been an avid book lover as it allows us to experience more through a different perspective – much like traveling. Thanks for the recommendations!

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  • December 28, 2016

    What a great list! I’m also currently crushing on Trevor Noah. He’s so smart and funny. There are several books on this list I need to check out.

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  • January 1, 2017

    Wow, all of these books sound awesome! I’ll definitely have to check a couple of them out 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this!!

    -Jackie Taylor
    https://WanderlustAndBeyond.com/

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  • January 2, 2017

    i m not a big reader and like to read books very less. But this list looks perfect for any books lover.

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  • January 2, 2017

    Yes!!! I love all these suggestions, bring on 2017 with all these books! I love the idea of that Korean cook book! I also love Trevor Noah, he’s a charmer and so on point, gotta check it out! You always seem to know the best books!

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  • January 16, 2017

    2017 reading more books and will def try some from your list too. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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