19 Books I’ve Recently Read That You Should Read Too

Nomadic Matt reading a travel book at a desk
Posted: 8/16/21 | August 16th, 2021

One of the things I did a lot of this past year was read. (I mean for a while there wasn’t much to do anyway). When I finally hit the road, I read just as much. Buses, ferries, trains — they’re all perfect places to read a book. Happy hour at some random bar in a random city? Another great opportunity to read! Give me a glass of wine and a book and I’m a happy camper.

Since it’s been a while since I last give a list of some of my favorite books, I’d thought I’d share what I’ve read this year that I really loved. (If you want regular updates, we have a monthly book club that you can join, with even more suggestions!)

1. Take More Vacations, by Scott Keyes

Take More Vacations book coverTravel expert Scott Keyes. of Scott’s Cheap Flights. explains how to score bargain airfare and improve your trips, so this book is half practical tips and half travel philosophy. Keyes demystifies the entire process of how airfare pricing works, and his strategies for getting cheap flights will apply to you regardless of where you live.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

2. Circe, by Madeline Miller

Circe book coverThis novel follows the fictionalized life of the Greek goddess Circe. It is a well-written page-turner that spans Greek history. The author really brings Circe to life and creates a complex tale of becoming who you were always meant to be. I highly, highly, highly recommend it! I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

3. The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey

The Expanse book coverThis hit Amazon TV show is actually based on a book series. This eight part series (with the ninth and final one coming out in November) follow humans (fractured in people living on Earth, Mar, and “The Belt”) in the near future after discovering an alien portal to systems around the universe. If you love sci-fi and are looking for a good series to pick up, pick this one up. It’s fantastic.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

4. Land of Love and Drowning, by Tiphanie Yanique

Land of Love and Drowning book coverSet in the US Virgin Islands and taking place through most of the 20th century, this book uses the author’s own family history as well as island history to tell a story that features a lot of magical realism. It took me a few pages to get into it, but it really picks up after the first 20-30 pages. It’s a vibrant, layered read, and I can see why the author won so many awards for it.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

5. Breath, by James Nestor

Breath book coverBreath is about how we breathe and how we can improve the quality of our breathing. The book argues that proper breathing can literally solve pretty much all of our health problems. While I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, there’s still a lot of good information in here on how improving your breathing can reduce allergies (something I struggle with), increase energy, and reduce sleep apnea and snoring.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

6. Less, by Andrew Sean Greer

Less book coverThis nonfiction, Pulitzer Prize–winning book follows writer Arthur Less on the eve of his fiftieth birthday. After finding out his lover is getting married to another man, he says yes to number of business trips and workshops and goes traveling the world. (So, I guess, kind of a travel book maybe?) The more I read this book, the more I fell in love with it. And the twist at the end? Wow! You never see it coming!

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

7. What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness, by Tessa Miller

What Doesn't Kill You book coverThis book — part personal story, part resource for others with chronic illness — chronicles the author’s sudden battle with IBD and Crohn’s. It’s smartly written, informative, and an eye-opening look at the gaping holes and systemic failures of the US medical system. Three in five Americans have some kind of chronic illness and this book goes a long way at understanding their struggies.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

8. Deep Work, by Cal Newport

Deep Work book coverThis book is about how to avoid distractions and produce deeper work. While repetitive in some parts (like we get it, avoid distractions), the book does have a lot of great tips on how to do “deep work” and live a less distracted life. Whether you’re looking to improve your workflow, make more time for friends and family, or deepen your hobbies, this book has lots of tips and insights that can help.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

9. How I Built This, by Guy Raz

How I Built This book coverGuy Raz is famous for his podcast How I Built This where he interviews entrepreneurs about how they built their companies. (Check out the one with the founders of Lonely Planet. It’s excellent.) Normally, I hate business books but this one was actually really interesting. Following the “hero’s journey” arc, Raz compiles all the lessons he’s learned into a single book about business. It’s insightful.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

10. Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime book coverWhen Austin’s Snowpocalypse cut the power, I couldn’t work. So I picked up this book by Trevor Noah about his life in South Africa and ended up reading the entire thing in one day. I found it insightful and educational to read about growing up as apartheid was ending. It gave me a lot of perspective on growing up in South Africa and a deeper appreciation for Trevor Noah himself.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

11. The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger book coverNetflix made a movie about this book by Aravind Adiga (which I haven’t seen). At first, I couldn’t get into this book. I didn’t like the format. Then, suddenly, a day had passed and I was almost done with it. The book grew on me! I The main character, Balram, is an antihero who revels in his self-serving ways as he works to get out of his village in India to become a powerful man.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

12. Scotland Beyond the Bagpipes, by Helen Ochyra

Scotland Beyond the Bagpipes book coverOchyra is a UK travel writer who realized that, despite many visits to Scotland for work, she had never really seen the country. She’d only had been there for quick visits. So, supured by the loss of her monther, she hops in a car and heads off to explore Scotland in depth to get a better sense of the country. This book is funny, easy to read, and full of insights into Scotland (a place I love immensely).

Buy it on Amazon

13. The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Signature of All Things book coverThis tale of Alma, a woman living in the 1800s, was so captivating that I couldn’t put it down. It follows her life from birth to old age. The characters are complex, the story of finding one’s place in the world has a few good plot twists, and, obviously, it’s super well written. I loved it.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

14. The Queen’s Gambit, by Walter Tevis

The Queen's Gambit book coverAfter falling in love with the Netflix miniseries (I watched it twice), I decided to pick up the book. It’s a quick and easy read. The show followed the book pretty closely, so if you watched the show, you know what happens. There’s not a lot of differences. But, again, if you liked it on the small screen, you’re also going to love the book.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

15. The Yellow House, by Sarah Broom

The Yellow House book coverThis memoir traces Broom’s family history in New Orleans, far from Bourbon Street, diving into life in its poor parts and what it was like growing up Black in a city defined by race. She delves into her upbringing, and how Katerina changed not only NOLA but her and her family. It gave me a lot of perspective on the Crescent City.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

16. American Kingpin, by Nick Bilton

American Kingpin book coverThis book is about Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road, a dark-web site that sold drugs, organs, and weapons before being broken up by the FBI. I could not put this book down. Bilton immediately captivates you and draws you into this story of greed, murder, and delusions of grandeur. It’s amazing story of a genius kid who uses his intellgence for evil as well as a story about the power of ego and hubris.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

17. L’Appart, by David Lebovitz

L'Appart book coverLebovitz is a well-known travel writer who writes prolifically about Paris (and I had the pleasure of meeting while I lived there). In this humorously written, insightful book, he uses his apartment renovation to look at various aspects of French life. He’s like a Parisian Bill Bryson and is able to really peel back the layers of life in Paris.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

18. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah book coverThis is the story of an immigrant who moves back to Nigeria after studying in the United States. It follows her story, as well that of her college boyfriend, shifting perspectives between them and between life in the US and in Nigeria. It was 600 pages of incredible prose and storytelling that highlights the challenges of moving to a new country and then returning home and trying to fit back in.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

19. Mad Travelers, by David Seminera

The Mad Travelers book coverMad Travelers follows perpetual nomads — people who try to be the most traveled person in the world and hit every obscure place there is (aka “mad travelers”). The book is also the tale of how one pathological liar conned some of these folks and goes into the psychology of what makes people want to travel the world forever. I enjoyed it a lot; it made me think of what drives me to travel so much.

Buy it on Amazon | Buy it on Bookshop

While the pandemic has been incredibly stressful and challenging for many of us, one of the few silver linings for me is that I’ve been able to read a lot and, for that, I am thankful. So, if you’re looking to pick up a new book, here are some wonderful ones to read!

And, finally, on September 1st, we’re talking to Mark Adams about his phenomenal book Turn Right at Machu Picchu. It’s a free event and part of our monthly book club series. Come join us as we interview him and take your questions (even if you haven’t read the book yet, though there’s time to read it before the event!).

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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

The post 19 Books I’ve Recently Read That You Should Read Too appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

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