DESTINATION BOOKS: A Reading List For This Season's Coolest Travel Destinations

Whether you're off to these places on your holidays or fancy a visit from your armchair, here are some reads to help you escape.



Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This debut novel was inspired by the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830. A haunting read that matches the savagely beautiful landscapes of Iceland.

Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was by Sjón

This Icelandic poet and writer is a big deal in his home country and frequently collaborates with Björk. Sjón's new novel is set in 1918 Reykjavik as 16-year-old misfit Mani's life is changed irreversibly by the arrival of the Spanish flu.


 Names For The Sea by Sarah Moss

A wry memoir about a family who move to Iceland for a year in the aftermath of the financial crash. Moss discovers as much about herself as she does the Icelanders she writes about.


The Gun Room by Georgina Harding

A moving story about the trauma that a young Vietnam war photographer experiences, who struggles to return to everyday life after witnessing so many atrocities.


The Last Photographyby Emma Chapman 

Another novel exploring the idea of war through photography. Chapman was so inspired by her research that she set up a charity, Vietnam Volunteer Teachers, that takes tutors to remote areas of the country.

The Outside Landsby Hannah Kohler

The lives of American siblings Jeannie and Kip are ripped apart by the war in Vietnam. This is British writer Kohler's first novel but you'd never tell from the gorgeous storytelling.


The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

The UK debut by a prize-winning African writer. Cape Town residents Hortensia and Marion are neighbours in their eighties and sworn enemies until an unforeseen event forces them together.

Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee 

Arguably one of the best-known South African novels, Coetzee won the 1999 Man Booker Prize for this story of a Cape Town university lecturer accused of sexual misconduct.

October by Zoë Wicomb

Wicomb explores the ideas of home and exile, gender and race in this literary novel about a professor travelling from Glasgow to her hometown in Namaqualand after her lover abandons her.


Ways To Disappear by Idra Novey

This playful debut from the American poet and translator focuses around a novelist and translator, adding a pleasing meta layer to the story. Translator Emma sets out to discover what really happened to Brazilian novelist Beatriz after her disappearance.

Nemesis by Misha Glenny

A true-crime book set in Rio de Janiero about a man who ended up as Brazil's most wanted criminal. Think Breaking Bad meets City Of God.

In Brazil by Fran Bryson 

Bryson spent seven years travelling through Brazil and this memoir is the end result. A wise and deeply personal look at the beauty and extremes of the country, from religious towns to Rio Carnival. 

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