Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. – P.J. O’Rourke
For me, books have always been the greatest gifts. I love to give and receive them because I know they are a reflection of the giver. I also believe books become something new with each life they pass through, and that none of us read the same book even when we read the same words because we bring a different story into the armchair with us.
I realized since our family left on this journey that books are also my way of learning about cultures I am heading toward, landscapes I am longing to return to, and most importantly books are my way of dreaming of new places I hope to set foot. They are my permission to daydream.
This is a list of just a few of the favorite books I read in 2015. They will educate, inspire, and most certainly ignite new dreams of foreign lands.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was the first book I read in 2015 from our cozy Tuscan apartment. Somehow the tapestry in this book captured what I love most about Europe – its history, people, and attention to detail.
In preparation for our trip to Ireland, I magically stumbled upon Frank Delaney’s Ireland. His tales followed me quietly through the Emerald Isle and brought history to life in a way only a great storyteller can.
There was no better way to kick-off our journey back to the USA than getting my hands on Ken Follet’s Edge of Eternity: Book Three of the Century Trilogy because his writing reminds me just how connected we are across landscapes, generations and cultures.
I knew as we planned our time in the USA, that there was no way to pick the perfect book so I closed my eyes and curled up with:
New York by Edward Rutherford is a sweeping tale of 350 years of this iconic city’s history and those who have loved and lost in the shadows of its changing tides.
The Widow’s War by Sally Gunning is about a whaling widow in Colonial Cape Cod with a resolve that still resonates with me. I also read The Rebellion of Jane Clark and Bound, by Sally Gunning which gave great insight into Revolutionary War-era Boston and the Colonial Northeast.
Nearly 70 years after her death, none other than Willa Cather could have seen me across the pioneer’s path. From My Antonia, O Pioneers, and The Song of the Lark, came voices from the past that truly led the way across the Great Plains and carried me forward on days that I wanted to stop and rest.
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd spoke to the complex character of America in the 1830s. As we were driving west, I had an urge to go south as Hetty’s voice rustled in my ears.
There is something about a flawless translation that brings the richness of the native language to life through English words. My two favorite translated books this year were:
During our time in Hawaii, we talked of many places we dream of going in the future and some of the books I read to explore those far off places were:
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. This book and the unforgettable heroine Beryl have added so much texture to my envisioned African safari adventures.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman allowed me a glimpse into the remote nature of the Australian landscape juxtaposed by the idea that we are never really alone.
The Visitors by Sally Beauman brought the Valley of the King’s and the intrigue surrounding the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb right to my beach chair. I have honored her characters, some historic and some fictional will be with me when I visit Egypt someday.
The last book I will read in 2015 is my own, Livology: A Global Guide to A Deliberate Life. Today, the gift of a lifetime arrived on my doorstep in New Zealand. If you order today, you or someone on your list will have it by December 25th!
Today’s Tweetable: Read The 2015 Top 15 Good Reads: Livology Travels.