EW Gift Guide: Armchair Travelers
This year’s best books were full of heartfelt romances, weary travels, and through-provoking questions about our society. As 2015 comes to a close, EW will roll out gift guides for the very specific bookworms in your life. (Take a look at what to get teens, pop culture obsessives, history buffs, and those who love huge epics.) Next up, here’s what to get for the armchair traveler.
A Strangeness in My Mind byOrhan Pamuk
Why? Mevlut Karataş moves to Istanbul and begins selling boza, a traditional, mild Turkish alcohol, at age 12. He has high hopes for his life, but things just never seem to pan out. After writing love letters to a girl he only ever saw once for three years, he accidentally elopes with her sister. For years, Mevlut continues to sell boza and wonders why he feels so different from everyone else.
The Rocks by Peter Nichols
Why? Even a lackluster novel set in the Mediterranean can tug at heartstrings this time of year, so the mysterious history between former spouses Lulu and Gerald in The Rocks will make you want to catch a plane — or a sailboat — to the Spanish island of Majorca immediately. Read our review here.
The Star Side of Bird Hill byNaomi Jackson
Why? Two sisters, Phaedra and Dionne, leave Brooklyn in 1989 to spend the summer with their grandmother, Hyacinth. Dionne, the elder of the two, tests the limits and falls in with a questionable crowd, but Phaedra spends her vacation exploring Bird Hill and learning about her grandmother’s midwifery skills and her practice of obeah, a spiritual custom. Tragedy strikes and the girls must choose their next move — but there’s no questioning where you’ll want to go: Barbados. Read our review here.
Circling The Sun by Paula McLain
Why? Beryl Markham was raised by her father and the native Kipsigis tribe in Kenya. An aviator and a thrill-seeker, she was Kenya’s first female racehorse trainer before age 19. Her less-than-traditional upbringing as well as the mother than abandoned her as a child combine to form Beryl’s racing, adventurous spirit. Set against the African landscapes of the early 1900s, Beryl’s adventures will have readers searching for one of their own. Read our review here.
Villa America by Liza Klaussman
Why? Sara and Gerald Murphy leave New York City in hopes of finding beauty, and find it they do in the South of France with a group of expats that have last names like Hemingway, Picasso, and Fitzgerald. They build Villa America on the Riviera and become a bohemian community of affairs and ideas. A handsome stranger eventually shows up to test the limits of their new community, but your desire to immediately transport yourself to their oasis won’t be swayed in the slightest. Read our review here.