Armchair Travel

Georgetown LibraryStaff Picks

Armchair Travel

Travel with a Book During the Pandemic

Travel and vacations are unlikely at the moment. But luckily, with a book you can travel across the globe without a mask or a million sanitizing wipes. Below are books that are guaranteed to provide an engrossing armchair trip without any of the worries of travel right now. Just sit back and let the words journey for you. 

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin 

In this book, Larkin brings us along on her extensive travels and studies of Burma and its connection to the author George Orwell and his famous dystopian work, 1984. Orwell not only worked in Burma with the British Imperial police but his mother was also born there. Larkin chronicles the history of the tense and claustrophobic political situation and how Orwell’s experiences there may have influenced the writing of the story of 1984. Through rich cultural descriptions of the teahouses, the landscape and the people, Larkin brings alive a complex country and its history with a lot of textural background. 

The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah

Tahir Shah gathers up his family and moves from London to a historic mansion in Morocco, inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood. The house is believed to be the home of jinns, invisible spirits in the Islamic world. The jinn and other cultural aspects prove to make Shah’s attempted renovation of the home to be challenging. This travel memoir is full of rich descriptions of Morocco and its inhabitants. The mansion becomes almost a character itself with hidden depths around every corner. For anyone that wishes to escape the cloudy skies of the upcoming fall and winter, this book will take you to sun-dapped halls and colorful markets, a vibrant escape of a read. 

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Arthur Less faces a great problem. A wedding invitation. To be more specific, a wedding invitation from his boyfriend of the past nine years. Who is not getting married to him. To avoid the whole situation, Arthur accepts invitations for author events all over the world. Even though his author career has never taken off, he’s determined to travel the world and leave the problem of his broken heart behind him. Through Paris, Morocco, Berlin and India, Arthur is forced to take a closer look at himself and what he’s really running away from. This enjoyable literary journey which won a Pulitzer Prize will take you to many destinations and explore the depths of an amazing character. 

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

While Ernest Hemingway isn’t known for rich, detailed descriptions, A Moveable Feast is an engrossing portrait of Paris during the 1920’s. Hemingway manages to pick a few significant details that paint a vivid picture of the city and life there. Many characters make passing appearances, some well-known such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and others less known but just as striking. A Moveable Feast was published after Hemingway’s death, and this edition included added sketches and changes from the original version that place it closer to Hemingway’s original intention. An excellent book to savor in spurts for the individual vignettes, or all at once. 

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country by Helen Russell
A journalist at a glossy magazine and resident of London, Helen is getting tired of the relentless grind of her working life and dreaming of a “Jessica Fletcher” like retirement. So when her husband unexpectedly gets a job with Lego in Denmark, she agrees to the move to try something new and hopes to spend her year living abroad discovering what makes Denmark the happiest place on earth. She relays her discoveries with wit and humor for an enjoyable and relaxing reading experience. 

From Scratch by Tembi Locke

This engaging memoir tells the story of Tembi’s journey to Italy as part of a college exchange program, where she eventually met her husband, Saro, a Sicilian and professional chef. Saro’s family did not approve of him marrying a black American woman, so the pair started a new life away from them in Los Angeles and adopted a baby girl. But when tragedy strikes, it takes Tembi back to Italy with her daughter to make sense of her new life in the wake of the trauma. A story of strength and finding solace in the oddest of places.