Julie Travel Gear 6 Comments

Are you like me? Do you love to read? Books are entertaining, educational, inspiring, and just a great way to pass the time. Below is a list of our ten favorite books of 2016. Most of them are travel related and all of them are awesome. Here are some great books to put on your Amazon reading list.

Our Favorite Books of 2016

Iran Awakening: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country

Shirin Ebadi is the winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. Her memoir, Iran Awakening, tells the story about what it is like to live and work as woman in Iran. Shirin worked as a human-rights lawyer in Iran, speaking out against discrimination and injustice in Iranian society. During her life, she was imprisoned and she was the target of an assassination attempt. This book is a must-read if you want to learn more about Iran or read about a powerful, inspirational woman.


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is a joy to read. Meet Harold, a newly retired man who lives in a small English town with his wife. He lives a rather boring life where every day is exactly the same. One day, he gets a letter in the mail from a woman he has not spoken to in over 20 years. He writes a letter and goes out to put it in the mailbox. Instead of putting his letter in the mailbox, he keeps it in his pocket, deciding to walk a little farther. Harold’s quick errand turns into a journey over 600 miles. This is a very entertaining story about hope and transformation and going outside of your comfort zone. The Unlikely Pilgrimage is quick and easy to read, and uplifting in its message.

The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah tells the story of WWII in France. This story is historical fiction, telling the tale about what it was like to live in Nazi occupied France from a woman’s point of view. The Nightingale is told from the perspective of two sisters. Isabelle joins the resistance against the Nazis and Vianne stays at home with her daughter, trying to protect her from the dangers of war. This book is captivating, full of danger and sometimes heartache, and a great read for those with an interest in WWII history.


The Silo Series

The Silo Series by Hugh Howey is not travel related. These are science fiction books. I normally am not a big fan of science fiction, but these three books were some of the best books that I have ever read. All three kept me on the edge of my seat and I could not put them down.

Wool, the first book in the series, tells the story about a post-apocalyptic world where survivors live in a silo buried beneath the earth.

Shift tells the story about how “the world ended” and those who were behind the construction of the silos.

Finally, Dust concludes the series. Filled with plot twists, deception, and drama, these are action packed books to put on your reading list. I would not be surprised to see these books turned into a movie series one day.

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan

Beyond the Sky and the Earth, written by Jamie Zeppa, is a story about going outside of your comfort zone. Jamie, a very naive young adult, travels to Bhutan after graduating college to teach English. Instantly, she regrets her decision, with Bhutan being nothing she expected it to be. Within a week of arriving, Jamie strongly considers catching the next flight back to Canada. A string of events forces her to remain in Bhutan and after giving it a little time, Jamie falls in love with Bhutan.

This is not only a story about what it is like to live and work in Bhutan. It is also a story about stumbling onto the unexpected, going outside of your comfort zone to do something challenging, and having an experience that changes your life in so many ways. Having been to Bhutan, this book also gives a very accurate representation of the country.

The Rosie Project

I fell in love with this book. It is just so much fun to read! Don is a 40 year old man with Asperger’s Syndrome. He is brilliant but socially inept. Don decides it’s time to get married. Enter in the “Wife Project.” On his search to find the perfect match, he unexpectedly falls in love with Rosie, a woman much different than what he is looking for. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is hysterical, engaging, and very easy to read.



When Breath Becomes Air

I loved this book. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. In just three days, I finished it. Paul Kalanithi, 36 years old, just about to complete his training as a neurosurgeon, is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. As he goes through treatments, he asks the question, what makes life meaningful in the face of death? Not only was he a gifted surgeon, he was also a gifted writer. When Breath Becomes Air has become his memoir, as he died while writing this book. Heartbreaking, hopeful, and introspective, this is one of the best books I read this year.


Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

This is my favorite book of 2016. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick follows the lives of six defectors from North Korea in the 1990’s. Their stories are incredible. This is a fascinating look into what it is like to live under a totalitarian dictatorship. The horrors that these people have lived through…poverty, darkness, and famine…just when you think things can’t get any worse, somehow they do. Yes, this book is heartbreaking at times, but it also tells the tale of the extraordinary resilience of these people. This is an eye-opening, educational book that everyone should read.

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Best travel books 2016


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Comments 6

  1. Avatar for marusa

    Great list. Do you know of any other books which describe how people live in different cultures.? I would like to read about how they used to live in China for example and how the culture evolved there or some pieces from the Middle East. If you have any ideas that would be great!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  2. Avatar for Pat Stilwell
    Pat Stilwell

    Well, it looks like I can depend on you to find some really good books. I started with the Rosie Project, which I have referred to everyone I know and I am now reading Wool. I intend to finish the series and I don’t even like science fiction especially. Then I will try When Breath Becomes Air. Thanks for the great recommendations.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Sara

    Great recommendations! Of the above list, I’ve only read ‘When Breath Becomes Air’, which was so touching. I’ll have to try the rest!

    Another great read is ‘All the Light We Cannot See’.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Sara. I have not read “All the Light We Cannot See” but I have heard great things about it (and it’s on my list!). Happy Reading, Julie

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