A common issue we have when traveling is learning about the history and present context of a place, country or city. Yes, we can do a quick Wikipedia search, but textbook history is, let’s face it, boring or confusing. With this in mind I created a few books that have made me fall in love with a city/country, know a little bit more about their culture and, in many cases, discover knew hidden gems in places I had already been.
“100 years of solitude” by Gabriel García Marquez
About: Narrates the story of a family through 100 years, set in a tropical town, and part of Magical Realism Literature it shares how those who don’t learn from our family’s past mistakes are bound to repeat it.
Mint Reason: For me it was a window into small town Colombian life.
“Stolen Lives” by Malika Oufkir
About: An autobiography that tells the story of a family torn apart and incarcerated when a coup d’état takes place against the current regime. It talks about traditions, the new world vs. the old and the fear to survive.
Mint Reason: Although this a book not for everyone, it is a great read to understand the historical context and culture of such a complex country
“Midnight Blue” by Simone Van Der Vlugt.
About: A novel during the Dutch Golden Age. It follows the story of a humble woman whose life’s decisions take her to an incredible journey of self discovery and Blue Porcelain.
Mint Reason: it shows Dutch life through different social classes and styles: farming, housekeeping and craft.
“Tell me who I am” by Julia Navarro
About: the story of finding oneself by looking into the past. It tells the story a woman who looks into her family’s past, specifically an aunt whose ideas had taken her away on a political and ideological journey.
Mint Reason: Julia Navarro shows two sides from Spain, the Spain before the civil war and after. How truly connected Europe is, and the power of ideas that can end lives.
“The Luxe” by Anna Godbersen
About: for all Gossip Girl lovers, The Luxe is set in 1899 and follows the story of 4 Manhattan girls. Surrounded by intrigue, fashion and love, it is a very easy and entertaining read for all New York lovers.
Mint Reason: I had already been a couple of times before to New York City, but following the tales of this four girls made me see New York City in a whole new light, and discover one of my favorite neighborhoods Gramercy Park.
There are many stories, that have inspire me to travel. I would love to hear what books have taken you on a journey both fictionally and in reality.