“An adventure awaits,” “an escape from the ordinary”— travel ads often promise journeyers a chance to leave the ennui of their normal lives. But did you know that you don’t have to board a plane reach an exotic, remote location? In escapist literature, writers create a rich, absorbing environment for their characters. Readers live vicariously in a captivating alternative reality. While the characters in the novel run for their lives or fall head over heels in love, the readers unwind and enjoy the experience from the safety of the real world. These books will enhance your relaxing getaway.
At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen
At the Water’s Edge, according to The Globe and Mail, is “a compelling comfort read with an odd plot.” The Hyde family emigrates from the United States to Scotland. Moving to a different country doesn’t sound too strange until you realize they do it to prove that the Loch Ness monster is real. Ellis, the young heir of the family, is not alone in this endeavor; cryptozoology is the study of creatures whose existence has not been proven (or disproven) by scientific evidence. However, for Ellis, uncovering the mystery of the Loch Ness monster equates to saving his family name from dishonor. The farther you follow the exploits of this dysfunctional family, the farther you will leave your cares behind.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Have you heard of newbie writer Robert Galbraith? As you read this mystery, you may notice that the so-called unknown author has some serious writing chops. The story follows Cormoran Strike, a veteran who lost a leg while on duty, who now makes his living as a private investigator. His newest case deals with the apparent suicide of a supermodel. Her brother John doesn’t think his sister killed herself, and it’s up to Cormoran to find out the truth. The Guardian reports that readers have “never met [a detective] quite like Strike.” In particular, he has an uncanny knowledge of women’s fashion and a keen nose. These two facts give a clue to the true identity of the author. Galbraith seems to know a lot about the ins and outs of film sets. Could it be that seven previous novels about a boy wizard published under his real name yielded eight major motion pictures? If you are still stumped, here’s a final clue: The author shares first and middle initials with an author-economist whose last name is also Galbraith.
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
It’s not easy to completely destroy your life when you begin with all the advantages. Fifteen-year-old Cat Marnell went to a fancy boarding school. She had access to the best things in life. She was miserable. Unable to provide for her emotional needs, her psychiatrist father did what he knew how to do—prescribe medicine. She quickly graduated from ADHD medicine to Xanax, Ecstasy, and beyond. Was her life completely in the gutter already? No, don’t forgot her connections. She landed a cushy high-profile job at Condè Nast as a magazine article editor. While most successful twenty-somethings were shopping for clothes and hi-tech gadgets, Cat was shopping for drugs. Of course, she couldn’t do it on the street—Condè Nast would have certainly frowned on that. She acquired them straight from the doctor’s office by pretending to have whatever mental illness necessary. Eventually her lifestyle did catch up with her, and her honest report of the aftermath will leave you counting your blessings. How to Murder Your Life is one of Glamour magazine’s Best Books of 2017. Will it make your list too?
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki
Goodreads describes I Am a Cat as “one of the most original and unforgettable works in Japanese literature.” Translated from its original Japanese into English, the novel retains its rich allegories and captivating prose. The story begins with a strangely observant stray kitty with no name. If you like to people watch, you will love to see how the world is interpreted through the eyes of a sneakily silent feline. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all a cute story; the author addresses deep issues about the social issues of the Meiji period, history, art, and Chinese philosophy in this unique satire.
Your travel adventures don’t have to end on the beach. Books can also provide “an escape from the ordinary.” Are you going on a vacation soon? If so, you have two things to do. First, decide where you want to go. Second, choose the books that will transport you to exotic locals as you relax. Enjoy your trip!