books to read on a holiday

Top 11 books to read while on a holiday

A correlation between books and holidays has always existed. Every vacation is defined by a book that you could never let go off. Losing yourself in a good book while relaxing on the beach or sitting near a French window, overlooking the garden could be one of the most refreshing holiday experiences. From Missouri to Milan, authors help transport their readers to another realm without passports. Choosing the right set of books for your holiday can help evoke a sense of romance, thrill or revelation, to truly experience travel. So, here we go. We have put together a list of books to read on a holiday.

Caution: Be ready for the portkey!

  1. Eat, Pray, Love

To travel is to take a journey into yourself, they say. Eat, Pray, Love is Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir of self-discovery, filled with adventures and life notes.This book remained in the New York Times Best Seller list for 187 weeks, as many women readers grew fond of the plot and the profound impact it had on an avid reader. As the title suggests, the story is constructed in three sections as Ms. Gilbert sets to travel to three different destinations in search of everything.

Books to read on a holiday


  1. The Mistress

Holidaying at God’s own country this season? You may want to take this along. Mistress is a novel on art and adultery, penned by Anita Nair, the best-selling author of Ladies Coupe. The story revolves around three main characters – Christopher Stewart, a travel writer who visits Kerala to meet Radha’s uncle Koman, a famous Kathakali dancer.The author’s distinctive writing style and subject knowledge takes us into the fascinating world of Kathakali and highlights the complexities of characters & relationships. Interestingly, Ms. Nair uses Kathakali as a metaphor for life and has connected every emotion to an expression in this traditional art form.


books to read on a holiday


  1. Into the wild

This non-fiction book written by Jon Krakauer is an International bestseller and was adapted into a film by Sean Penn in 2007. This book captures the saga of a stubborn, idealistic young man from a well-do-to family, who abandons most of his possessions and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Based on the true story of Chris McCandless, the writer also discusses complex family relationships, societal dynamics and idealism.

books to read on a holiday

  1. Shantaram

A debut novel by Gregory David Roberts is set in the underworld of the most vibrant Mumbai. Narrated by Lindsay Ford (Robert’s false name), an escaped convict with a fake passport who makes his stopover city his home for the next few years. It is a semi-autobiographical journey that describes his escape from the Australian prison and his life adventures in Mumbai, one of the busiest and most iconic cities in India.

His enthralling personal history and search for redemption makes for an interesting, long read. Not to forget his lyrical and gripping writing style that best describes the true spirit of Mumbai and its people. Read it and you’ll want to book your next flight to Mumbai and revisit those defining moments.

books to read on a holiday


  1. The Beach

Based on his experiences as a backpacker, Alex Garland wrote his first ever novel ‘The Beach’ in 1996 which went on to become a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The story revolves around a young traveler in search of an idyllic and isolated beach untouched by tourism, somewhere in Southern Thailand. He, along with two other backpackers, find their way to this isolated paradise island and become a part of this self-sufficient community, which starts to degenerate. This book is an interesting take on the Utopian dream and how much of it can actually be a reality.

If you are an avid traveler whose next trip is to Bangkok or any of those islands in the Gulf of Thailand, do not forget to pack this book for interesting location references.  Some books are Books are guaranteed to make you laugh.

books to read on a holiday4


  1. The Motorcycle Diaries

This book offers an insightful perspective into the lively and highly inspirational travel diary of the young Che Guevara and his friend Alberto, who embark on an ambitious journey. They set out to explore the South American continent in their motorcycle and come across various social injustices prevalent at that time. The story briefly explains the heroic transformation of the young 23-year old medical student who goes on to become one of the most daring and charismatic guerilla leaders in the history, to topple the US-backed Cuban government. An eloquently penned book that throws light on injustice, compassion and political ideologies and makes for an impressive travel read.


books to read on a holiday



  1. Memoirs of a Geisha

A debut novel by Arthur Golden that tells the fictional story of a geisha – a high class counterpart of Japanese prostitute who lived in the city of Gion in the late 1930s. One can truly experience the Japanese social structure and the real geish culture in particular, which existed in Japan during the early 1900s. The narration beautifully describes love, jealousy and power through a woman’s journey into practicing and mastering the Geisha art form, amidst societal and political conditions.

This novel can easily be termed as a culture and history buffs best bet while holidaying.


books to read on a holiday

  1. Vagabonding

This one-of-a-kind handbook from veteran travel writer Rolf Potts guides us on world travel using interesting references and resource list. It is an inspirational piece of work that discusses travel philosophy and initiates a powerful thought-process on taking that incredible trip, which could change your life forever. It serves as a reminder to get away from our normal life routine and discover the world on our own terms.

Are you an adventurous soul looking for some inspiration to plan your next? Grab this one and you wouldn’t be disappointed.

books to read on a holiday


  1. A Room with a View

Written by E.M. Forster in 1908, this novel describes the story of a young lady from an upper middleclass background, confined by the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. While vacationing in Italy with her old cousin, she meets Mr. Emerson and his son George, a dashing and thoughtful gentleman whom she falls in love with. However, owing to societal pressure, she gets engaged to Cecil Vyse, a pretentious and chauvinistic Londoner, upon her return to England. What follows next is a classic struggle between true love and social acceptance and we all quite know who the winner is.

This book is listed as one of the greatest English-language novels of the 20th century and discusses romance, self-denial, societal class and cultural perspectives in an engaging dimension.

books to read on a holiday



  1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover


This popular novel by D.H. Lawrence, first published in 1928 is well-known for its vivid descriptions of sexual intercourse and was supposedly banned for its explicit content. The story revolves around Constance, a young woman who is married to Clifford Chatterley from an aristocratic background. Soon after the wedding, he leaves for World War I and returns paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to handle her sexual frustrations and personal needs, she resorts to Oliver Mellors, a gamekeeper who belongs to the lower, working class.


This literary piece of work brilliantly describes the sexual explorations of the two key characters. It paints a truly raw and authentic picture of relationship dynamics, physical passion and mutual respect, using a character-driven approach. If you are a lover of stories that explore human desires, this book is a must-have and makes for an intense, great read while holidaying.

books to read on a holiday

  1. On the road


Based on the travel stories of the writer Jack Kerouac and his friends across the North American continent, this book explores the behavioral and cultural phenomenon prevalent in the late 1900s.This book is referred to one of the most defining works of the Beat Generation, whose literature explored and influenced the American culture post World War II era. It urges you to take that trip you’ve been wanting to, and roam aimlessly to seek adventure and admiration.

books to read on a holiday

We hope you enjoyed our list of books. Here is a list of 5 popular T.V.series adapted from books. If you have any favorite book that you would like to read while on a holiday, let us know on the comments section.

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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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