Reading Recommendations For Your Next Commute Abroad

I’m an avid reader. My Goodreads account can prove it. I also identify as a world traveler. Long plane rides, for instance, intersect my two favorite hobbies: reading and traveling. This list covers titles I’ve read in transit, on the go. Although these recommendations aren’t all focused primarily on traveling alone, I guarantee you’ll be entertained during your next commute abroad.

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman: I originally stumbled upon this title during a layover at JFK in New York. Although I’m honestly stingy when it comes to airport purchases, I made the right decision to invest in this paperback. Newman, a screenwriter for That 70s Show, discusses her international travels (including men) in conjunction with buying dresses to wear at friend’s weddings and baby showers. If you intend to travel the world before settling down like me, this is my personal recommendation to you.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Live and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed: Strayed’s most popular book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, was made into an award-winning film last year, starring Reese Witherspoon. (You’ll most likely find that title in airport bookstores.) That film compelled me to pick up Tiny Beautiful Things. Strayed runs an advice column called Dear Sugar, in which this title compiles a series of letters and replies from the column. Particularly, the best piece of advice that resonated with me was: “go.” In a letter to three young women consumed by their romantic relationships, Strayed encourages them to leave “because wanting to leave is enough.” if you’re ready for an emotional but worthwhile upheaval, this one’s for you.

Hind Swaraj by Mahatma Gandhi: It should be a rule to read Gandhi when you travel to India. His face is on every paper rupee. There are statues of him all over the country. On a weekend trip to H.D. Kote (a municipal district outside of Mysore, Karnataka, India), I read his monumental work that ignited a revolution. In the style of Socratic dialogue, the Reader and Editor engage in an intense intellectual discourse. The Reader argues his opinions of Indian independence while the Editor begs to disagree. Although I still can’t claim to understand the entire of Indian culture and history, Gandhi helped provide context to my experience in India. I strongly encourage all travelers to engage themselves with local culture through a prominent text. Therefore, if you’re in India, pick up a Gandhi; if you’re in France, pick up Victor Hugo; and so forth.

Ignorance by Milan Kundera: Warning: this is a love story. I’m the farthest from a hopeless romantic, but the narrative of two lovers meeting while returning to their homeland (the Czech Republic) struck me. While documenting a new love interest, the story touched upon the aspects of ignorance itself, such as avoiding the truth. Check this title out if you’re in the mood for a charming and whimsical romance novel that challenges your perspective.

How To Be Good by Nick Hornby: I found this hidden inside a bookcase that touched the ceiling at a used bookstore in Bangalore, India. Though I was familiar with Hornby’s more popular work, High Fidelity, I was shocked I hadn’t discovered this story before. The following afternoon, snuggled in a hammock, I read this book from front to back. Once Katie Carr’s husband undergoes a spiritual revelation, she inevitably learns how to “be good” for better (or worse). In a world of inequality, violence,  and climate change, I struggle to practice good habits consistently in my life. This story helped me laugh about it and find unlikely inspiration to improve myself. Pick up How To Be Good if you’re in search of constructive humor to revive your inner Leslie Knope.

Me, Myself & Prague: An Unreliable Guide to Bohemia by Rachael Weiss: Similar to Hind Swaraj, this book reflects its national origin. However, the plot encompasses the experience of an expat moving to her homeland. The text describes her three years in Prague before she is forced to leave the country. I dream about moving to Prague, and this story undoubtedly impacted me. Weiss gave me insight on the expat experience in the Czech Republic. Consider reading Me, Myself & Prague if you’re considering moving abroad.

Did I miss your favorite pick? Mention @decorcione in a tweet. Safe travels!

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