Editor’s Picks: Summer Reading List
I know it sounds totally asocial – but I really do love traveling by myself. First off, I’m fussy (really selling myself here, right?). Second, I have certain travel routines. And third, I hate checking bags, so I’ll always travel as light as humanly possible. People who want to mess with my travel habits need to check themselves before they wreck themselves (I’ve given up pretending I’m a party vacay type).
Carryon essentials and travel basics aside, there’s one thing I never travel without... Yep. It's not rocket science, and the article title kinda gives it away: you won’t catch me wandering far-flung lands without a book. In fact, I’ll happily sacrifice (*gasp*) an extra pair of shoes to make room for a good read. Here are four (yes, four! The list could go on and on!) But here are my most precious recommendations...
It's probably a cliché – but it really is the quintessential traveler’s manual. It's written in "stream-of-consciousness" style: so get ready to throw everything you learned in school about grammar and punctuation out the window, as Kerouac remembers the wild road trips of Sal Paradise and his crew of social outcasts. Kerouac's often rambling style may not be for everyone (I have friends who have read the first page dozens of times to "get it"). But it’s a book that resonated with my own American dreams when interning in L.A. For a more trad Kerouac-style novel, try "The Town and the City".
"Cosmos: The Story of Cosmic Evolution, Science & Civilisation", Carl Sagan
Best for: Traveling the world
Anyone who knows me knows Carl Sagan's my hero (stick with me here). His eloquence describing the fragility and beauty of our planet, and its cosmic setting, is (seriously) romantic and humbling. Heading out on your own to explore the world? This little beauty will encourage you to appreciate everything you see a little more. Get ready for a (really light, I swear!) intro to quantum realms, physics, ancient philosophers, and just a little of the math that makes our cosmological clockwork tick. This is one of the best and most loved books I have ever read! Did I mention I love Carl Sagan...?
I think Murakami's an author just about anyone can get into. His casual style's accessible, but he manages to romanticize the everyday and lace it with a hint of the otherworldly. "South of the Border" is one of my faves because of the "lost love" theme throughout (I’m a big softie!). Also, I didn't know at first but this gorgeous tale of unshakable-but-forbidden attraction also influenced one of my fave film directors while he made the movie "In The Mood For Love", which is in my all-time Top 10 . So I guess it’s no surprise I totally heart this novel!
"Fluke: The Math And Myth Of Coincidence", Joseph Mazur
Best for: Solo travel
THIS BOOK. I literally can’t stop talking about it. I've recommended it to so many people (I know at least one person bought it just because I wouldn't shut up about it!). It'll make you question your perceptions, rethinking everyday occurrences and so-called "coincidences." Using math (I promise, it sounds way scarier than it is), Mazur peels back the mystery of the "accidental", making the seemingly-unexplainable beautiful and logical. Get ready to give your brain cells a workout, and to start mentally calculating probability the next time someone says "what are the chances?!".