The Best Travel Books of 2019
Here is a roundup of the best travel books of 2019!
Turn the page on this decade and welcome 2020 with 20 new travel books that will transport you to every corner of the globe. Swim with the fabled “mermaids” of Jeju Island, answer the call of the wild in Northern Canada, and rub shoulders with Delhi’s elite in a Jane Austen meets India dramedy. There are books that will help you plan that RTW (round-the-world) trip you always dreamed of and books that will teach you how to perfectly assemble a Croque Monsieur sandwich just like the French. From literary fiction to coffee table tomes, illustrated travelogues to haunting anthologies, the world is completely at your fingertips with these new travel books.
TWO LUCKY READERS WILL RECEIVE ANY BOOK OF THEIR CHOICE OFF THIS READING LIST. CONTEST ENDS THURSDAY, JANUARY 30TH AT 12 AM EST. WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED FRIDAY, JANUARY 31ST. ENTER NOW!
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Open to all residents worldwide. Winner receives either a hard copy or an electronic edition of book, subject to availability of Amazon.com in their respective countries and postal conditions. Multiple entries encouraged. Must be willing to offer valid mailing address to received hard copy. Prize is transferable. Cannot be exchanged for cash money. For any questions, please contact me here.
Let’s Eat France!
by François-Régis Gaudry
Named The Best Food Book of the Year and Best Book to Gift (for more gift ideas, click here), this encyclopedia of all things French cuisine is a must-have for any food lover. An actual behemoth, there are profiles of over 1,250 specialty foods and 260 culinary personalities, covering 350 food-related topics, as well 375 recipes of iconic dishes like coq au vin and ratatouille.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $23.27 (originally $50).
Into the Jungle
by Erica Ferencik
A cautionary tale set in the deep jungles of Bolivia, this epic thriller follows Lily Bushwold, a foster child-turned-backpacker who follows her heart rashly into the Bolivian wild. She discovers a lawless world filled with poisonous wildlife, villainous poachers, mystical shamans, and river-tribes on the brink of extinction, and is forced to rely on her resourcefulness and resilience to survive the treachery of the jungle.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $9.04 (originally $27.99).
Somewhere in the Middle: A journey to the Philippines in search of roots, belonging, and identity
Fil-Am writer Deborah Francisco Douglas’s memoir chronicles her time in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. As a half Filipina raised 100% American, Douglas’ assignment in the Philippines is a welcomed opportunity to explore her unfamiliar heritage. But she quickly learns that one’s sense of belonging is not automatically determined by biology, but rather earned as one adapts to the ways of a host culture. As someone who has lived abroad many a times, this is the most honest depiction you’ll get of what it’s like to live abroad.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $10.35 (originally $16.95).
by Mahesh Rao
A Bollywood retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved comedy Emma. The well-known character finds new life in the beautiful and slightly vapid Ania Khurana, whose cure to boredom is to play matchmaker to the loveless of Delhi’s glamorously wealthy. But the little matchmaker soon finds herself outmatched not only by the petty gossip of high society, but also the entrance of new players in the age-old game of love.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $18.69 (originally $26).
The Island of Sea Women
by Lisa See
A historical fiction based on the real life heroines of Jeju Island, known in their native tongue as haenyeos. For centuries, women on Jeju have carried out the tradition of freediving for crustaceans as a means of income. But today, the tradition has all but died out and only a few haenyeos remain. This tale revolves around two free-spirited friends, who become sea divers, and whose friendship ebbs and flows under the crashing tides of death, war, marriage, and even technology.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $12.89 (originally $26).
If They Come For Us: Poems
by Fatimah Asghar
One of my favorite travel books this year, Pakistani-American Fatimah Ashgar astounds in a haunting collection of poems that will resonate intimately with women of color, and strike a chord with all desi women. Her masterfully written verses bend time, recount hardship, and redeem transgressions, all while capturing the experience of being a Pakastani Muslim woman in contemporary America. If you are fan of understanding the nuances of identity, place, and belonging, this book is for you.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $9.99 (originally $16.00).
by Charmaine Craig
Author Charmaine Craig’s interpretation of her family history is a fascinating introduction into one of the world’s most turbulent political situations. The protagonists of this story are star-crossed lovers Benny, a British colonial, and Khin, a Karen woman whose ethnic tribe has long been persecuted by the Burmese government, and their daughter Louisa who becomes the country’s first beauty queen. Louisa’s loyalty to her kin is put to the test in the wake of her newfound fame and Burma’s descent into totalitarianism.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $8.79 (originally $16).
by Carolina De Robertis
Cantoras sits at the crossroads of politics and sexuality that is very relevant in this day and age, despite being set 40 years in the past in faraway Uruguay. In 1977, Uruguay’s authoritarian dictatorship has decreed homosexuality a punishable crime. Five queer women escape the violence and form a sanctuary in an isolated coastal village, becoming a makeshift family liberated in light of displacement. It’s all the more compellling given Uruguay’s current standing as Latin America’s most gay-friendly country.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $15.89 (originally $26.95).
Three Daughters of Eve
by Elif Shafak
One aging polaroid. Three Islamic women. A charming professor. And a scandal that rocked their idyllic way of life. At a dinner party, a beautiful Turkish woman named Peri must come to terms with the faces in the polaroid even when the world around her is on the brink of chaos from encroaching terrorist attacks. From one of Turkey’s most powerful literary voices comes a story about faith and femininity, where past and present violently collide in modern-day Istanbul.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $10.31 (originally $18).
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune
by Roselle Lim
A strained relationship finds reconciliation at the dinner table in Roselle Lim’s moving family saga. Seven years ago, Natalie Tan estranged herself from her agoraphobic mother to pursue her dreams of becoming a chef. But she is forced to return home to San Francisco’s Chinatown after her mother’s untimely death. Upon her return, she learns she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant and will be successful only after she’s cooked three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook that can help her once-vibrant neighborhood return to its former glory.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $8.65 (originally $16).
by Peter Heller
Part mystery, part thriller, The River will have you holding onto the edge of your seat as you paddle down the Muskwa River in the Canadian Rockies. Wynn and Hack are two college buddies with a thirst of adventure. Their idyllic summer canoeing trip is interrupted by a threatening wildfire and the voices of a mysterious couple in the night, signaling dangers on unexpected fronts in one of the most remote places in the world.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $23.36 (originally $25.95).
The Sweetest Fruits
by Monique Truong
Set in the 1800s, the reader follows wayfaring writer Lafcaido Hearn, whose circumnavigation of the world introduces him to three special women. Told via the women’s voices—a freed slave married to a reporter in America; a Greek woman with her fair share of heartache in Europe; and a samurai’s daughter who falls in love with an English teacher in Asia. They become the subject matter of his latest composition, but ultimately through their stories, become a reflection of his personal life story.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $15.19 (originally $26).
A Year Off: A Story about Traveling the World and How to Make It Happen for You
by Alexandra Brown
If you’ve ever asked, “how can I leave everything behind and travel?,” well, this is the book for you. Written by one part of a traveling duo, Alexandra Brown’s essays and photographs of her around-the-world trip is an actionable guide to wanderlusting. Everything you’d want to know—be it solid budgeting, packing lists, designing routes, and even how to leave your job—is seamlessly peppered into this travelogue.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $16.48 (originally $24.95).
Next Year in Havana
by Chanel Cleeton
Garnering Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club stamp of approval, Next Year in Havana is an alternating narrative between a granddaughter and grandmother, spanning space and time. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera travels back to Havana at the behest of her beloved grandmother, who fled the country during the Cuban Revolution in the 50s. What awaits her is a deeply buried family secret, accompanied by lessons about strength and sacrifice, and love and loss.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $9.59 (originally $15).
At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe
by Tsh Oxenreider
Americans Tsh and Kyle are former expats who’ve traded a life of leisure for stability, now parents of three kids in the United States. But the travel itch is one that doesn’t simply go away and with the kids now of age, the two decide to upend their comfy lives for a nine-month adventure, visiting places both old and new, with their youngins. Her family voyage reveals that you can be anchored in something real and meaningful, while being completely adrift.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $12.88 (originally $24.99).
Literary Paris: A Photographic Tour
by Nichole Robertson
From the writer of Paris in Color comes another bijou love letter to Paris. Follow the photographer as she shoots the places and spaces savored by bookworms—think: Orwell’s lipstick-tattooed grave, cozy cafes, and elegant biblioteques. An interplay of photos and quotes from beloved French writers, as well as locations to pen down will surely inspire a book-themed itinerary of Paris.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $10.35 (originally $16.95).
Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road
Kate Harris makes her brilliant debut with a travel memoir of her bike trip along the Silk Road, that reads as both a tribute to our nomadic birthright, as it does an existential investigation of all the borders in our life, real and imagined. In an effort to honor her teenage dreams to adventure, Harris sets off a yearlong expedition down the fabled route of Marco Polo with her friend Mel and to her surprise, discovers the remaining uncharted frontiers on the planet actually exist—within herself.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $13.99(originally $16.99).
The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas: Illustrated Adventures along the West Coast’s Historic Highways
by Chandler O’Leary
If you’re still on the fence about the west coast being the best coast, chances are you’ll know exactly where you stand after this graphic novel-esque guidebook, highlighting the West Coast’s most notable drives and more off-the-beaten-path backroading adventures through Washington, Oregon, and California. Every page is illustrated with an inexhaustible list of what to do and see during escapades on Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 101, and the lesser-known Highway 99, that will make boring family road trips a thing of the past.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $17.79 (originally $24.99).
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
What do you get when 17 of the world’s most prominent refugee writers join foces with Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen? The answer is an anthology of essays about struggle, hope, fear, joy, resilience, and courage in the face of dislocation. For those looking for a humanized look at arguably the 21st century’s most controversial global crisis, look no further than this anthology. 10% of the proceeds on each book will be donated to International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian aid and relief to war-displaced refugees.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $11.49(originally $16).
by Gina Apostol
Gina Apostol has crafted a masterful novel about two women, an American filmmaker and a Filipino translator, whose creative collaboration to write a film script about the Philippine-American War goes sour. Magsalin, a talented translator, reads Chiara’s script, and decides to rewrite the whole script from her perspective. Competing voices vy for attention, illuminating the deeply embedded bitterness among the psyche of the colonized in playful, yet powerful prose.
Buy on Amazon Prime for $11.59(originally $26).
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👉 If you have any other travel books from 2019 to discover, I’d love to hear your book recommendations in the comments section!
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