100+ Great Books for the Armchair Travel You Need Right Now

100+ Great Books for the Armchair Travel You Need Right Now

Tuesday, 24 March, 2020

It seems like just about everyone is tucked away in their homes with pets, kids, spouses, and computers — except for the brave and tenacious people out there doing essential jobs, and to them, we send our most heartfelt gratitude.

In addition to our cat Smudge, we’ve picked up two unwelcome roommates at Strong Sense of Place HQ: Fear and Anxiety. But we’ve found that those ghosts of negativity disappear when we open the pages of a great book (and also, if we’re totally honest, eat some yummy snacks).

All of the books on our website have vivid settings and will transport you to a new place via your imagination. You can see everything we’ve reviewed so far on our books page, and get a random recommendation if choosing is too much right now. (We get it!)

If you’d like an escape to somewhere specific, our podcast show notes include all our book recommendations set in each destination, plus fun extras like videos, audio files, and tons of web links to amuse and inform you.

Finally, listed below are all the roundups of books we’ve published on our blog so far. Wishing you safe and happy armchair travels!

colorful globes lined up on a table
photo courtesy of Joao Silas

Around the Globe

7 Novels That Celebrate the Culture and the Beaches of Mexico: Tropical coasts, lush jungles, ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins, majestic colonial architecture, fresh margaritas — Mexico is an inspired background for all kinds of stories about sun, fun, friendship, and family.

15 Novels That Capture the Magic and Mystery of Prague: Prague’s stunning architecture and magical atmosphere make it one of Europe’s must-visit cities. But we love it because it’s full of stories. Everywhere you look, there’s a tale to be told, a mystery to unravel.

8 Books That Will Transport You Directly to Japan: From the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the bucolic countryside, and contemporary plots to tales from history, Japan’s culture — and pop culture — are inspiration for stories that move, inform, entertain, and surprise us.

7 Great Novels That Go Behind the Scenes at Restaurants: The heat of a restaurant kitchen is a delicious catalyst for the drama inherent in professional rivalry, found family, true love, and everything in between. There’s nothing quite like food to bring people together.

8 Thrilling Books Set on the Sea: It’s anchors aweigh on these literary voyages that promise excitement of both the physical and emotional variety. You’ll meet a lady pirate, a WWII freighter captain, the passengers of a luxury liner, Ishmael, and more.

6 Books That Will Transport You to the Deserts and Medinas of Morocco: Have you ever daydreamed about riding a camel across the Sahara with the wind in your hair? Or strolling through the market in the old town of Marrakech? These six books will take you there asap, no passport required.

Weekend Getaways: Every week, we recommend one great book that will transport you to somewhere and sometime in the world: see the sights, meet remarkable people, go on exciting adventures, and feel big feelings.

british people dressed in hunting clothes
photo courtesy of Jan Saudek

Manor House

5 Thrilling Manor House Novels with Modern Settings and Ties to the Past: Set in Sweden, Scotland, England, Canada, and Salem, Massachusetts, these stories place memorable characters in dire circumstances so we can live vicariously — and safely — through them.

7 Manor House Novels Set in the 20th Century: These books — set between the two world wars — feature houses that could be a safe haven for the characters, if it weren’t for all the tension, the close quarters, the haunted feelings, and oh, yeah… muuuurder.

6 Classic Novels Set in Memorable Manor Houses: In literature (and life), a home is often seen as a reflection of a person’s status, motivation, and values — a nifty shorthand for conveying character. The stately manors in these six classics speak volumes.

5 Gothic Novels That Feature Moody Houses and Haunted Heroines: From classics Jane Eyre and Northanger Abbey to Agatha Christie and Tana French, the creaky halls and haunted histories of manor houses are the ideal backdrop for secrets, ghosts, betrayal, and romance.

spooky house in the fog

Eerie Escapes

6 of Our Favorite Literary Vampires: We’ve selected our favorite literary vampires according to a very sharply honed list of criteria. They’re all remarkable versions of this ancient creature, and they populate stories worthy of their dangerous charms.

7 Eerie Audiobooks to Fill Your Ears with Spooky Fun: The only thing better than reading a scary story is when someone TELLS you a scary story. Light a candle, grab someone you trust to share the terror, and let these stories take you to a completely different place.


Top image courtesy of Paolo Nicolello.

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Imagine it: a day devoted to reading one great book. Squishy clothes, comfort food, and page after page of an utterly involving story. You can make it happen with just a little prep work; we'll show you how.
We love this sweet poem that perfectly captures the magic of getting lost in a great book. If you think you don't 'get' poetry, give this one a try.
When your day has demanded too much of you or your list of household chores is just too long, let an experienced storyteller work their magic. You'll turn your day around and take a virtual journey to somewhere else.

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