How are you coping with the current unprecedented and distressing times? Your own health, and that of family and friends, is obviously of paramount importance, but we also have to deal with self-isolation and social distancing. And not being able to travel!
We’ve already seen some interesting and useful articles from the Silver Travel Advisor team:
And of course you can always carry on travelling through the pages of a book. Our Silver Travel Book Club partner TripFiction exists to let you find books – novels, memoirs and travelogues – with a strong sense of place, allowing you to explore a destination through an author’s eyes.
Have a look at the Silver Travel Book Club page to see where we’ve been with our monthly book choices since May 2017. And we thought we’d share with you a few other books that might help you to travel vicariously during lockdown, and to escape for just a little while. In our imaginations, at least.
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
Laurie Lee’s timeless memoir and travelogue about walking the length of Spain. An unsettling time, on the brink of Civil War in the 1930s, but the author’s prose and observations convey a country and its people with beautiful clarity.
Neither Here nor There
Bill Bryson brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia. Fluent in, oh, at least one language, he retraces his travels as a student twenty years before.
Meet Me at the Museum
Suffolk and Denmark
When Tina Hopgood writes a letter to a Danish museum about a famous antiquity, she doesn’t actually expect a reply. But a while later, she receives a letter from Professor Anders Larsen. And so, the unhappy farmer’s wife and the lonely widower professor begin an 18-month correspondence, during which the most meaningful conversations of their life take place. Anders and Tina examine their decisions and consider the possibility of change. The novel is uplifting, but so is the story behind the novel. Youngson became a debut novelist at age 70, after a long career in the motor industry.
On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American girl on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean Sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies. But when their seemingly simple plan to help Faoud unravels all must face the horrific consequences they have set in motion.
The Talented Mr Ripley
Tom Ripley is chosen by the wealthy Herbert Greenleaf to retrieve Greenleaf’s son, Dickie, from his overlong sojourn in Italy. Dickie, it seems, is held captive both by the Mediterranean climate and the attractions of his female companion, but Mr. Greenleaf needs him back in New York to help with the family business.
With an allowance and a new purpose, Tom leaves behind his dismal city apartment to begin his career as a return escort. But Tom, too, is captivated by Italy. He is also taken with the life and looks of Dickie Greenleaf. He insinuates himself into Dickie’s world and soon finds that his passion for a lifestyle of wealth and sophistication transcends all moral compunction. Tom will become Dickie Greenleaf – at all costs.
Where the Crawdads Sing
North Carolina, USA
For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Love & romance
The Little Theatre by the Sea
Faye has just completed her degree in interior design when she finds herself jobless and boyfriend-less. While debating what to do next she receives a surprise phone call from her old college friend Charlotte who now lives in Sardinia and is married to Italian hotelier, Fabio.
When Charlotte suggests that Faye relocate for a month to house-sit, Faye wonders if a summer break in sunny Sardinia might be the perfect way to recharge her batteries and think about her future. But then Charlotte tells Faye that there’s something more behind the sudden invitation: her friends Marisa and Alessandro are looking for a designer to renovate a crumbling old theatre they own in the scenic village of Deriu. The idea certainly sounds appealing to Faye, but little does she know what she’s letting herself in for if she accepts this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Love after Love
Trinidad & Tobago
Meet the Ramdin-Chetan family: forged through loneliness, broken by secrets, saved by love.
Brave and brilliant, steeped in affection, Love After Love asks us to consider what happens at the very brink of human forgiveness, and offers hope to anyone who has loved and lost and has yet to find their way back.
Lydia and Clem Davie arrive in an Igbo village in Nigeria in July 1967 just as civil war breaks out, but Lydia has trouble adjusting to life in West Africa: a place so unfamiliar and far away from everything she truly understands.
Initially, most of the locals are welcoming and friendly, until one or two begin a frightening campaign of anti-white protests. Lydia’s life is changed irrevocably after she meets enigmatic Igbo doctor, Kwemto, and war victim, Grace. Through them Lydia learns about independence, passion and personal identity. Conflict and romance create emotional highs and lows for Lydia, whose marriage and personal beliefs slowly begin to crumble.
Like Water for Chocolate
A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her.
For the next twenty-two years Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.
Afternoons in Ithaka
A charming memoir of self-discovery, family, connection and the power of a tomato. ‘I remember crusty just-baked bread, rubbed with juicy tomato flesh, swimming in a puddle of thick green olive oil. I am seven years old. I sit on a stool in my grandmother’s house. It is the height of summer in a seaside village in the south of Greece. We little Aussies devour ‘tomato sandwiches’ as the family chats and laughs and swats flies …’ From the first heady taste of tomatoes on home-baked bread in her mother’s village in Petalidi, to sitting at a taverna some 30 years later in Ithaka with her young family, Spiri Tsintziras goes on a culinary, creative and spiritual journey that propels her back and forth between Europe and Australia. These evocative, funny and poignant stories explore how food and culture, language and music, and people and their stories help to create a sense of meaning and identity.
The Food of Love
Laura Patterson is an American exchange student in Rome who, fed up with being inexpertly groped by her young Italian beaus, decides there’s only one sure-fire way to find a sensual man: date a chef. Then she meets Tomasso, who’s handsome, young and cooks in the exclusive Templi restaurant. Perfect. Except, unbeknownst to Laura – Tomasso is in fact only a waiter at Templi – it’s his shy friend Bruno who is the chef.
But Tomasso is the one who knows how to get the girls, and when Laura comes to dinner he persuades Bruno to help him with the charade. It works: the meal is a sensual feast, Laura is utterly seduced and Tomasso falls in lust. But it is Bruno, the real chef who has secretly prepared every dish Laura has eaten, who falls deeply and unrequitedly in love.
A delicious tale of Cyrano de Bergerac-style culinary seduction, but with sensual recipes instead of love poems.
We hope these books allow you to travel safely from the comfort of your own home during the current health crisis, and inspire you to think about some real travelling when restrictions are lifted.
In the meantime, stay safe and please let us know if there are any other specific destinations or genres that you would like to hear about for some literary wanderlust.