Are you scratching your head about what gift to give the traveler in your life this holiday season? No more stress. Next to the plane ticket itself (or a TripIt Pro subscription –Hint, hint), the book is the perfect gift to help inspire new adventures – and satiate a love of travel between trips.
Here are 18 books to give to the traveler(s) in your life. (And maybe one for yourself, too.)
1. Crying at H-Mart by Michael Zoner
Michelle Zoner grapples with the loss of her mother and reflects on their difficult relationship (often shaped through food), their trips to Korea, and what she knows about someone only after they go through in this powerful memoir.
2. Traveling the world: an irreverent guide by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Wooliver
Given the late great Anthony Bourdain’s final word on travel, this travel guide sheds light on the places I love — and why you should visit or avoid them. The guide also contains many of Bourdain’s closest circle, with articles and tales from those who knew him well.
3. of women and salt by Gabriela Garcia
Set in Cuba and Miami, it is a tale of resilience, resistance, and sacrifices that generations of immigrant women made (and continue to make) for their families and themselves.
4. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia
Set in rural Mexico, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia weaves Mexican folklore with the story of an unexpected heroine tasked with rescuing her cousin from her new husband’s dark past – and the horrors caused by a haunted house.
5. Phone booth on the edge of the world by Laura Imai Messina
Brilliant, heartbreaking, and shaping hope, Laura Imai Messina’s gently narrated tale details how we deal with grief, loss, and love–and find the will to keep going. Based on a true story about a phone booth in Japan, locals used to call their loved ones after the 2011 tsunami.
6. On All Fronts: Journalist Education by Clarissa Ward
In her memoirs, acclaimed journalist Clarissa Ward pulls the curtain on her personal life and career, giving readers a first-hand account of what it takes to balance being a woman, mother, and journalist in a war zone.
7. The secret of the lives of the women of the Church by Disha Filio
Featuring four generations of characters grappling with sexuality, misogyny, hypocrisy – and who they want to be in the world – The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the multifaceted contemporary lives of black women in Appalachia.
8. stranger from home by Diana Gabaldon
The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s hugely popular series is perfect for fans of all things Scotland, historical fiction, and vibrant romance.
9. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
A love story of India at its core, this epic novel by Gregory David Roberts details Lynn’s turbulent life – one filled with love, loss, torture, and triumph.
10. pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Beautifully told, Pachinko depicts four generations of a Korean immigrant family struggling to live – and make a living – for themselves in Japan.
11. Paris wife by Paula McClain
This work of fiction gives readers a peek into the marriage of Hadley and Ernest Hemingway, from their budding romance in Chicago to the bohemian party scene in Paris. MacLean drew inspiration from written correspondence between the couple and details of how Hadley never stood a chance against the whirlwind of life that Ernst—along with his mistresses and colleagues—followed by abandonment.
12. A tale for the present by Ruth Ozeki
Ruth Ozeki’s novel stretches across the Pacific and features two characters – young Nao in Tokyo and Ruth on a remote island off Canada – who link time and geography.
13. this must be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
Set in County Donegal, Ireland, Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be the Place shares the human experience of two people who, after an unexpected encounter, find solace in each other.
14. food in cuba by Hannah Garth
This non-fiction work details the real-life struggles of Cuban families’ access to food – and a decent standard of living – in the post-Soviet welfare state.
15. Beekeeper in Aleppo by Kristi Liftery
Kristi Lifteri, the daughter of Cypriot refugees, weaves this fictitious description of the family’s journey through Syria, Turkey, Greece, and eventually the United Kingdom. The beekeeper Aleppo illuminates the strength of the human spirit in the face of tragedy and loss.
16. Reporters by Tim Murphy
New England born Rita Khoury is ambitious and worldly. When her journalistic career takes her to wartime Baghdad, she forges relationships that will shape and haunt her life back home.
17. Against a world without love by Suzanne Abulhawa
An all-encompassing show of Iraq, Jordan and Palestine, Against a World Without Love, explains the plight of the Palestinian woman who refuses to give up more of herself.
18. yellow house by Sarah M. Broome
2019 National Book Award winner Sarah Broome’s memoir, The Yellow House, tells the story of her family and their relationship to a home in a neglected area of New Orleans.