Airports are hectic, car rides are boring, and there is sure to be a weirdo initiating unrequited conversation on any given train you board. The best way to lose track of time is cooped up with a good book, tuning out your uneventful surroundings en route to your destination. Here is my list of some of the best books for long trips.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
A tragic romance focused on love, pain, war, and illusion, Hemingway's five part novel set during World War I was inspired by his own experience as a soldier. The language, the global circumstances, the style of courtship . . . A Farewell to Arms will transport you to the roaring twenties, filled with taboo and excitement amidst the abysmal albeit monotonous circumstances of the world. This story raises questions of love versus passion, loyalty versus abandonment, and loneliness versus alcoholism. To sum this book up: War is boring, and love is heartbreak.
How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style , and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas
These four Parisian women have created a masterlist of all that you want to be, especially on vacation. Recipes to master, style secrets to steal, and dating advice you'll probably be too bashful to attempt, this is a lighthearted read with lots of one liners you'll want to cut out and pin to your vision board.
A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain
I carry this book with me on every trip. Mark Twain is hilarious even 130+ years later, and much less sophisticated than his famous name is often construed. This book beautifully depicts the thoughts your inner ugly American may have while exploring the Old World. Serving as a journal for his globetrot through Europe, Twain's free thinking illustrates the juxtaposition of culture shock in a clever and witty dialect sure to keep you entertained and hungry for travel.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Insanely relevant during these times of scientific advances, Brave New World warns of a future controlled by technology. This book will have you appreciating The Now and fearing for The Future. Enjoy every minute you've got left before the government regulates your emotions and implements the "feelies."
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
This one, I will admit, can be perceived as a little pretentious. Rule #1 of Jack Kerouac: stop trying to understand Jack Kerouac. I have been tragically in love with this man since I was a teenager, but I don't understand half of what this beautifully twisted soul has written. On The Road is funny, insulting, playful, and terrifying, all wrapped up into one 300 page run-on sentence.
** If you are a fan of this book, this man, or the Beat Generation collectively, do yourself a favor and check out Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson. Johnson was a long time girlfriend of Kerouac, and often a fly on the wall during the adventures of the infamous ratpack of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Carr. Her memoir brings to life the unseen faces, namely women, who inspired the greatest writers of the Beat Generation.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
A requirement of most junior high English classes, this book brings forth an entirely new array of emotions that come with age. The Giver is a simple read that evokes complex thinking of individuality and expression, loss and humanity. Wonderfully written and devastatingly conscious,this is one that will leave you lost in deep thought during that 12 hour roadtrip.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert, also known as Mother Wanderlust. Obviously this book made the list. Elizabeth Gilbert has inspired an abundance of women to cut the toxic ties of every day life and experience a spiritual rebirth. Wildly popular without being too cliché, Gilbert's memoir on love, life, and lessons will move you to find beauty in grievance, and success in failure. And start doing yoga.
Gardens of Awe and Folly by Vivian Swift
Recommended by Mother Wanderlust herself, Gardens is a beautifully illustrated travel journal of a beautiful mind's favorite gardens. Equal parts diary and coffee table book, Vivian Swifts writes of the nature walk of my dreams, and her illustrations bring the covetable experience to life in a blissfully vivid haze.
“But that’s the wonderful thing about foreign travel, suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most basic sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross the street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.”
Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe