For some reason, I read the most while traveling. Maybe it’s because I’m not working my 9am – 5pm [or 10pm] job at home, but I just find that I read furiously while traveling. And since I’m traveling so much this year, I ambitiously gave myself a goal for 100 books this year. And I can happily report, that not only am I on track but ahead of schedule to finish, with 70 books complete!
Here’s my top 10 books that I’ve read on the road this year, and where I read them!
10. The Other Typist by Suzanne Riddell – read in Thailand
I’ve been a 1920’s in New York reading kick lately, and this was my third undertaking in that “genre”, and it so exceeded my expectations. There was speakeasy and flapper glam, murder, intrigue, and psychological drama to make Gillan Flynn envious. It’s a non-stop read!
9. The Road Taken by Rona Jaffe – read in Thailand
This sprawling narrative is more than just 1920’s in New York, but an entire century in this great city. Following the main character Rose, and her daughters, we get to glimpse into an ever changing century and bonds of family.
8. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell – read in Thailand
Another fabulous book by Malcolm Gladwell that challenges us on how we see the world. In this book, Gladwell uses the Biblical story of David and Goliath, about underdogs overcoming giants, to explain how sometimes disadvantages can be our greatest advantages. In his usual blend of storytelling, statistics, and seemingly disconnected analogies, Gladwell makes a compelling case for the underground, making me hope that I have some setbacks in my own life.
7. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan – read in China
This book was a great surprise! I absolutely loved this sprawling story following the lives of 4 couples, and one beautiful diamond. Mixed with the couple’s stories was the true story of an advertising agency about to make history with one simple slogan: A Diamond is Forever.
6. Pivot Point/Split Second by Kasie West – read in Bali/Cambodia
Two books, one entry, because I can’t separate these two in my mind and heart. I loved them both, and they need each other. A young adult story of “what if”. Parallel lives lived out. Which would you choose if you knew how it all would end? Love, betrayal, teen angst, and super powers. What’s not to love?
5. Paint Chips by Susie Finkbeiner – read in China
Wow, this is a story that will stay with you for a long time. A beautifully broken mother/daughter relationship, separated by pain and time. A honest look at human trafficking in the United States, and a journey of redemption & forgiveness. Don’t miss this one.
4. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty – read in USA
This is the story that launched my obsession with 1920’s New York. It’s the story of a midwestern housewife, asked to chaperone a headstrong 15 year-old girl to New York City for a summer dance program. It’s a summer that neither expected, and it impacts the rest of their life.
3. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo – read in Bali/Nepal
Truth, I’ve only read the first two. But, oh my gah. It’s SO good. I was hesitant to do this series, with the overabundance of young adult paranormal fiction out there these days. But it kept coming up on book blogs, and comparisons of Harry Potter got my attention. Set in fictional Russia, Alina and Mal are swept up into a centuries long battle against good & evil. I have one more book to read in this captivating trilogy, and I’m pretty sure I won’t get much done while I’m in the middle of it. It’s that good.
2. Night Film by Marisha Pessl – read in China
This is a book I’d read again. And at 600 pages, that’s no easy task. I think it was the cover of this book that first grabbed me. And the story did not let me go. It’s the haunting story of a journalist following the story of his life, and an eclectic, reclusive horror filmmaker surrounded by legend & myths, and the shocking suicide of a young girl. I listened to this as an audio book during hours of public transportation in China. But I’m pretty sure I gave up conversation all together as I got more into this book. There’s media that goes with it, photos and news articles & blogs. It’s a cleverly written, multimedia enhanced, gripping story.
1. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – read in Cambodia
Again with the book blogs. This one is taking the charts by storm. I had to wait 2 months for a digital library checkout. I almost didn’t even read it, because I was rather underwhelmed with the last Kidd novel I read, The Secret Life of Bees. But I’m SO glad I took a chance on this one. It’s a historical novel in the 1800’s deep South about 2 sisters who defy cultural status quo and speak out against slavery, and the slaves that inspired their mission. And it’s based on true events, which is the most inspiring part of this. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. It’s beautiful.
Latest Addition! I read and LOVED this book after completing this blog post, and just had to add it! Like, this list isn’t complete without it.
Free to Fall by Lauren Miller – read in Nepal
What didn’t I love about this book?? It’s young adult dystopian-esque, or sci-chic as the author refers to it. Set in the not so distant future, everyone uses the app Lux to make decisions, from who to date or what kind of coffee to order. When you don’t have to think, you can’t fail. Or can you? A teen girl gains admittance to an elite prep school and learns more than she bargains for about her life, technology, love, family and faith. It’s just a fantastic fast read with real depth.
So there you have it! My top ten list of what I’ve been reading on the road this year. I love how reading expands adventures. Even when you are in one place, reading just takes you places. It’s such a grand & addicting experience.