Exploring the World One Page at a Time

Exploring the World One Page at a Time
These books will give you company in your alone time, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Books to help you get through the quaran-time

OT Staff
March 31 , 2020
08 Min Read

I had visited many parts of India, Paris, England and scoured through the United States of America by the age of thirteen. And I hadn’t even left my house to do so. A new book to devour every week; the pages flew me to parts of the world I had only seen on television, and some that were only accessible by walking through a closet.  

Usually when people talk of travel books, they refer to those spelling brightly-coloured words about the culture, heritage, and geography of a destination. The nuances of culture and history, however, are lost under the wraps of basic information. This list does not focus on sparkling vocabulary and experiences, but brings forth books that introduce you to the layered culture of a destination.  


Non Fiction

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Overground Railroad

Author: Candacy Taylor

The Green Book was known as the “black travel guide to America”. The violent history of racism in the country had given birth to the book that was published between 1936 and 1966. It listed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and businesses, where African-Americans could expect peace. Overground Railroad celebrates the stories of the brave who mentioned their names in the Green Book—a rather dangerous step then. The book takes you through the dark past of America and its historic fight against racism. 

Try to Get Lost: Essays on Travel and Place 

The River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize Awardee, Try to Get Lost answers philosophical questions about the definition and factors of a place. How politics, media and history affect our idea of geography or a home. The book documents the author’s travels in the United States and Europe.

The Adventurer’s Son

Author: Roman Dial

A spine-chilling thriller, the book records the journey of Scientist Roman Dial, as he sets out to find his missing son in the wild rainforests along Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The rainforests are home to poachers, miners and even drug smugglers. As he solves clues to search for his son, he recounts his life with his child, with whom he has travelled to far lands such as Alaska, Borneo, and Bhutan.

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The Lost Pianos of Siberia

Author: Sophy Roberts

The title of the book says it all. The grand instruments produced in the 19th century have washed onto the shores of Siberia over the years. The Lost Pianos of Siberia follows the journey of these pianos through snow and wilderness, as the author unfolds the history and landscape of the country. It’s not pretty, but it is eye-opening.

Spirit Run: A 6,000 Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land

Author: Noe Alvarez

A first generation Latin American college student on scholarship, Noe Alvarez struggles to fit in with the rest of the students. He soon drops out of school when he joins the Native American movement/ First Nations movement—they run marathons to connect with various cultural groups. The book is the four month journey of Alvarez’s marathon from Canada to Guatemala. An inspirational story, the book also brings out social issues in the country as the journey unfolds.  

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A Map Is Only One Story
Author: Nicole Chung (Editor), Mensah Demary (Editor)

The life of an immigrant can be nuanced. Living between two cultures brings about new factors to consider. This book documents stories by twenty writers about immigration and the meaning of home. Along with this, it discovers various cultures and nations—China, India, Pakistan, America, Nigeria, Iran, Japan and many more. 


The Lying Life of Adults (To be released)

Author: Elena Ferrante

The Lying Life of Adults is the story of a girl, Giovanna, in her adolescence. While she is trying to understand herself, she’s also doing so in a divided city. The Naples of the rich, which is veiled by refinement, and the Naples of the streets, which is considered to be a place of vulgarity. She shifts between the two as the story follows her journey.  

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The City we Became

Author: N.K. Jemisin

We say that every city has its own spirit, its own culture and soul. In this fictional account, the city is, in fact, a person. The author has personified the character of New York, and when an ancient evil threatens to destroy the city, the city’s five protectors must come together to stop it. In this unique format, N.K. Jemisin gives a nod to the city of New York.

Cartier’s Hope

Author: MJ Rose

Set in 1910 New York, Cartier’s Hope is the story of a journalist in her thirties trying to make a name for herself in a misogynistic society. When the famous jewel, the Hope Diamond, is brought into town, the journalist sees a jumpstart to her career and a means of revenge against her employer. The book unfolds the culture of New York in the beginning of the 20th century.  

Jaipur Journals 

Author: Namita Gokhale

As the title suggests, this book is a love letter to the pink city. Particularly, the Jaipur Literature Fest. The book unfurls the festival, partly as a tribute, and partly exposing a satire, via the pretense of some guests that visit it. It is also an ode to the writers that attend it. It’s a detailed fictional story spun around the festival.

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