Because of my heritage, Europe occupies a special place in my heart. Whenever I have the opportunity to visit, I like to bring reading material that agrees with my surroundings. Side note: does anyone else do this?
There’s just something about reading a novel in the right environment. Surely the characters in Jane Eyre are more charming when introduced in England. The drama in Death in Venice more powerful when experienced in Italy, the images from In Search of Lost Time more vivid when conjured up in France…and so on. Alas, reading in this way is a rare luxury. Thankfully though, books are born and bred for the imagination.
If you care to escape to Europe with me (but without the plane ticket), then pick up one of these reads. Each is sure to transport you to far-away and exciting corners of the world.
1. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. A pleasurable read for any Francophile at heart, A Year in Provence follows Mayle through his first year living in southern France. Endearing, quirky, and delightfully captivating, this book is the perfect way to escape the everyday and, instead, catch a glimpse into a charmed and picturesque Provencal life.
2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises is a Hemingway classic. If you’re a fan of the modernist writer and haven’t read this gem yet, you most likely should. A novel that definitely lands on my list of most-loved books, this pick follows a group of expats who travel to Pamplona for the Festival of San Fermín. Typical Hemingway antics ensue as they watch the running of the bulls and marvel at extravagant bullfights. It’s best enjoyed on a relaxing day outside with a glass of Spanish red wine in hand.
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Anna Karenina is a big-time classic. Declared by some as the greatest novel ever written, it follows the well-known heroine through a tragic story set in nineteenth-century Russia. Tolstoy closely examines themes of love, marriage, society, and family all in under a thousand pages. Is it a lengthy read? Yes. But, a work of art is worth it.
What are some of your favorite European destination novels? Share your picks here! I’d love to read them and possibly recommend your choices next time. Safe travels.