Spending the summer
backpacking through Europe is a dream for many young people. But it's also a dream that requires a lot of privilege to make a reality. If you can't make that trip happen this year — for whatever reason — you can do your best to journey to the continent through a good book. After all, there's no plane ticket necessary for a trip to your local library.
Of course, you won't be able to meet and talk to the people of these countries through books. You won't be able to eat the food of their culture, or experience the sights and smells of the location. But you can experience a little bit of the joy of getting away.
From Amsterdam to Paris to Dublin to Madrid, the destinations in these books are some of the most beautiful places in Europe. Sail down the river Seine in the arms of a summer fling. Stomp through the bustling streets of London. Catch a train from Amsterdam to Prague. Whatever your dream European vacay is, you're sure to find it in one of these books.
Just because you're reading in the park doesn't mean you can't experience some of the joy of a trip. As Proust once wrote: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
So, this summer, treat your library card like a passport and let these wonderful books take you on a tour of Europe:
'Love & Luck' by Jenna Evans Welch
From the author of
Love & Gelato, this book will whisk you off to the gorgeous landscapes of Ireland. Addie is visiting the country for her aunt's wedding, but fights with her brother have her yearning to get away. So when she discovers a book called Ireland for the Heartbroken, Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle with her brother — and his cute Irish friend. Click here to buy. 'Wanderlost' by Jen Malone
After her twin sister gets in trouble, Aubree decides to pose as her and take over her summer job of leading a group of senior citizens throughout Europe. But she doesn't have any experience... and she's falling for the tour operator's cute son, who doesn't know her true identity.
Click here to buy. 'Lessons in French' by Hilary Reyl
It's 1989, and Kate has just graduated from Yale with dreams of becoming a painter. She accepts a dream job as the assistant to a famous American photographer. Now she's in the dazzling world of Paris for the first time since she was a kid.
Click here to buy. 'I See London, I See France' by Sarah Mlynowski
BFFs Sydney and Leela have the perfect summer planned: They're traveling Europe, taking selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower, and making out with hot strangers, naturally. But then Leela's ex shows up on their flight to London and Sydney's mother has a mental health breakdown back home. Can their friendship survive a summer of adventure
and heartache? Click here to buy. 'Apricot Kisses' by Claudia Winter
Food writer Hanna has a dream job: traveling throughout Europe and writing about food. But when a restaurant owner dies from a heart attack after reading one of Hanna's scathing reviews, her boss sends her back to Tuscany to convince the owner's grandson to drop his lawsuit. But Hanna soon discovers more than she was expecting: The will stipulates that the grandson, Fabrizio, will only inherit the restaurant if he's married. So Fabrizio offers Hanna deal: He'll drop the lawsuit, if she agrees to marry him.
Click here to buy. 'The Summer of Us' by Cecilia Vinesse
It's the last summer before BFFs Aubrey and Rae are heading to university, and they're finally jetting off on the European adventure of their dreams. But things are a tad complicated: Aubrey accidentally kissed her boyfriend's best friend, and Rae has a major crush on a girl who is not into girls. It's certainly going to be a summer they won't forget.
Click here to buy. 'Just One Day' by Gayle Forman
Allyson is cautious — but that suddenly changes when she meets Dutch actor Willem, and she decides to runaway to Paris with him. Over the course of one day, the two experience the majesty and romance of the French city — but will it last beyond those 24 hours?
Click here to buy. '13 Little Blue Envelopes' by Maureen Johnson
When Aunt Peg dies, she leaves Ginny a series of mysterious blue envelopes. In the first envelope is $1000, instructions to buy a plane ticket, and a note that Ginny should open each envelope at a pre-determined spot. As she travels Europe, guided by the envelopes, Ginny finds herself on a whirlwind of a scavenger hunt.
Click here to buy. 'The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue' by Mackenzi Lee
Set in the 19th century,
A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue follows Monty, who traveling the Continent with his sister Felicity and his best friend (and secret crush), Percy. But as they make their way through Europe, the friends' plans are thrown into chaos by an attack by highwaymen. As a result, they find themselves on an adventure wilder than they could have possibly imagined. Click here to buy. 'Notes from a Small Island' by Bill Bryson
This travelogue is an absolute classic, and anyone with a case of wanderlust should pick it up. In this book, Bill Bryson details his farewell to the UK journey. It's the perfect book for anyone who loves to travel off-the-beaten path.
Click here to buy. 'The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries' by Jessa Crispin
In this fascinating travelogue, Jessa Crispin recounts her journey following in the footsteps of famous writers throughout Europe. She visits Berlin and reminisces about William James, and travels to Dublin where she reflects on Maud Gonne, and finds herself in many places that shaped and defined the work of her literary icons. Along the way, she also tries to come to terms with her own uncertain future.
Click here to buy. 'Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love and Spain' by Lori L. Tharps
In this memoir, Lori L. Tharps tells the story of how she followed her dreams and moved to Spain, despite the fact that she had never been there and didn't speak Spanish. Her story is one that will make you think about the privileges of travel and feel so many things.
Click here to buy.
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