Take a virtual vacation and get some book recommendations, too!
Vacation season looks a lot different this year, with most of us spending more time in backyard kiddie pools than at the beach. We put together a list of ten bookstagrammers who make you feel like you’re traveling, and asked them what books transport them! So grab your passport and check out these accounts if you need a break from quarantine life.
Paige (@paigerragerreads) frequently posts photos of her books at the beach in Maui, and honestly, what more can you ask for? She’s also a great advocate for libraries and thrifted books!She recommends Siracusa by Delia Ephron: “It’s a classic tale of people behaving badly (very badly) on vacation. Two couples, one of them joined by their precocious young daughter, Snow, decide to vacation together in Siracusa, a coastal Sicilian town. Their dream vacation quickly unravels as tensions surge to the surface, transgressions are revealed, and precious Snow is not at all who she seems. Mystery and mayhem unfold in this quick and delicious novel set under the Sicilian sun. Best enjoyed with a glass of chilled Vermentino.”
Cindy (@bookofcinz) describes herself as a Jamaican girl living in Trinidad & Tobago, and her love of the islands shines through her photos and extends to literature — she encourages people to diversify their TBR through #readcaribbean. And her glimpses into Carnival are amazing! She recommends Everything Inside: Stores by Edwidge Danticat: “I have a huge affinity for Haiti so I am always interested in reading stories set in Haiti and written by Haitian authors. When I read Edwidge Danticat’s collection of short stories Everything Inside, I felt like I got a very realistic look into what life is like for some Haitians. Danticat’s ability to write layered Haitian characters makes reading her collection truly enjoyable.”
Emily (@literaryviews) will make you feel like you’re in the middle of downtown Miami with her bright, aqua-themed feed. We can’t get enough of the bright skies and tall buildings in her photos! She said: “Born A Crime by Trevor Noah took me all the way to South Africa. In his memoir, Noah balances his witty humor with the realities of growing up during apartheid and gives us a glimpse of the experiences that defined the comedian we know from The Daily Show.”
Alix (@alix.k.reads) is a wonderful host to take you to the mountains and landscapes throughout Utah with her frequent hiking trips — though she freely admits adding books to her hiking bag is weighing her down a bit (#bookstagramlife). She recommends Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: “I actually read it while it was in Scotland and the scene descriptions of the beautiful hills and cliffs really makes you feel like you’re there. Plus you get to travel in time as well so another type of travel!”
Kiki (@ifthisisparadise) gives us glimpses into living in Jamaica, and seeing the beautiful beaches and lush flora makes it hard not to jump on a plane and travel there right now. She also reads a wide range of books, going well beyond what’s trendy, and has thoughtful and engaging captions. She said: “I could not think of another publication more transporting than the Arab Lit Quarterly. Each issue features short stories, poetry, interviews, essays, literary playlists—everything you could want and more than you could ever expect, which is a mark of the best journeys.”
Mel (@melannrosenthal) fills her stories with perfectly idyllic scenes from Connecticut — she even has daily views highlights if you need to ignore your current location and pretend to be somewhere else! She recommends: These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card. “Card’s debut proves she has a brilliant mind. Each chapter represents a different member of the extended Paisley clan as they grew up in and then fled Jamaica. The POVs change again and again, jumping backward and forward through time finding several characters at different life stages. At first, it seems like Abel, of the first chapter, is the protagonist and the family patriarch, but his life choices make for a much more complicated dissection of the plot. This is a perfect book to read with others because there is so much to discuss.”
Sara Lynn (@saralynnburnett) is a writer in Turks & Caicos Islands, and a self-proclaimed “beach snob” (we would be too if we lived somewhere that beautiful)! She takes her followers from the beach to the pool, along with her books, and you can almost feel the breeze blowing off the ocean through her pictures. She said: “Since I live and work in a Caribbean resort I always recommend Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn. It’s a story about the Caribbean that weaves in the influence of hotels on islands in the most realistic way.”
Shavonna (@smb_reads) features books with gorgeous backdrops — often the beach in Cape Cod, but also highlighting rocky paths, flowers and mossy forests. She said: I highly recommend The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern as a wonderful escape from reality. I have always been drawn to fantasy worlds that are based on our own, if only we could find the right door. It renews the childlike sense of wonder that first drew me into reading, and makes me want to go looking for magic or fairies in the woods again, as I did so often growing up after losing myself in a book.
Heidi (@butthebooksarebetter2) will take you on a tour of the craggy cliffs and sandy coasts of Western Australia. Her posts frequently feature her cute pup and well-thought out reviews. She said “my favourite armchair travel book this year would be Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin, which is set in rural France. It features the unusual locale of a small French cemetery run by Violette, a young woman with a tragic past. Brimming with a rich cast of interesting and well rounded characters, it broke my heart but also filled me with love and hope, which was especially welcome during this tumultuous year.”
Sarah (@booklempt.gyal) features bright, sunny beaches and stellar books — often examining them through a scholarly lens. She also is a tireless advocate for Caribbean lit. She recommends Beloved by Toni Morrison: “When we think of books that transport us we often speak with a measure of fondness and awe about distant, unfamiliar locales. We don’t often talk about the books that take us inward to a part of ourselves we’ve closed off for self-preservation. Reading this book was a painful but cathartic journey, not only to a past that bleeds into the present, but also to the innermost part of ourselves where healing is possible.”
Ellen Whitfield is senior publicist at Books Forward, an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.