Ultimate Travel Reading List – Part One

I’m so excited to leave for my trip! I honestly can’t believe how close it is, it doesn’t really feel real yet. On the 12th of June I’m heading to Cambodia and Vietnam for a total of six weeks, with my best friend and then with my sister, and I really can’t wait to get out there.

When I travel, I often find that leaving behind the crazy busy-ness of my everyday life gives me so much headspace and allows me to think creatively, make big plans, and stock up on good vibes (yes, I just used the word ‘vibes’ #GapYah). I’m also so so excited to have time to read what I want to read, and not what I have to read! I’ve put together a reading list full of books that I’ve been dying to read (or re read), and I’ve downloaded them all to my Kindle. Fifteen hour plane ride? Come at me. Seven hour layover? Bring. It. On.

1. Bossy Pants – Tina Fey


‘Why is this book called Bossypants? […] Because ever since I became an executive producer of 30 Rock people have asked me, “Is it hard for you, being the boss?” and “Is it uncomfortable for you to be the person in charge?” You know, in that same way they say, “Gosh, Mr. Trump, is it awkward for you to be the boss of all these people?” I can’t answer for Mr Trump, but in my case – it is not’

I straight up love Tina Fey. She is successful, courageous, sassy, clever, and hilarious – and what’s more, she is all these things totally unapologetically. Just reading the sample chapter of this book on Amazon had me laughing out loud, while also feeling that Fey is addressing something hugely important with a comic effortlessness which, for me, borders on genius. I seriously can’t wait to get started on this book!

2. Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

I’m about to say the most cliched thing ever – are you ready? … This book changed my life.

I know, I know, that sounds incredibly dramatic for a novel which is, shall we say, Orwell at his finest (i.e. unrelentingly depressing), but I actually don’t mind a good old bit of Orwellian doom ‘n’ gloom. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a novel about fighting the man and refusing to be enslaved by the need for money, it challenges our consumerist culture, questions the value of our relationships, and ends… well, no spoilers, but remember how 1984 ends? Not well.

With all of that in mind, is it any wonder that when I read it for the first time at the age of fifteen, I enthusiastically adopted it as my personal manifesto? I actually refused to buy any new clothes for at least two years afterwards, so horrified was I by the social injustice of modern consumerism! Nowadays, mostly because I can no longer wear the clothes I owned when I was fifteen (although I frequently try to do so), I have slightly relaxed my policies, but I’m excited to read this book again. It’s a truly great novel, full of sensitivity and truth and sadness, and it’s a definite favourite of mine.

3. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath

After being forced to read Of Mice and Men (out loud and with a Southern accent) in Secondary School, I have never been overly keen to pick up another Steinbeck novel. That said (and memories of awkward group reading somewhat softened by time), Of Mice and Men is actually a novel which I really, really enjoyed, and I thought that it was about time I got around to Steinbeck’s ‘Great American Novel’ – The Grapes of Wrath. Apart from that it is set during the Great Depression, and possibly in a Vineyard (just kidding) I don’t know anything about this book, so I’m very excited to jump in (silently, and with no particular accent).

4. Maze Runner – James Dashner

Maze Runner

This book looks amazing! Even just looking at the cover makes me want to start reading it right this second. I absolutely love this kind of YA fiction, and this book, which has been compared to The Hunger Games, looks insane! I end up getting really into these kinds of novels – while reading The Hunger Games I began to devise my own plan of survival (the good old ‘hide-until-everyone-else-is-dead technique) – and from the cover of this book, it looks like I might have to plan a whole new method of escape.

There are three sequels already, and a film (starring the frighteningly youthful Thomas Sangster) and because I’m taking my kindle with me, I can always download the next book when I’ve finished this one. Perfect.

5. Titus Andronicus – William Shakespeare

Titus Andronicus

Shall I make the joke that every reviewer since the dawn of time has made about Shakespeare’s most gruesome play? Really? Oh okay then – you asked for this…

Titus Andronicus is bloody good. (I hope you’re happy).

Really, really bloody, and really really good. While it might at first seem like a bit of a chaotic bloodbath, I honestly think that some of the speeches in this play (especially those performed by Titus himself) are some of Shakespeare’s finest. But don’t worry, it is also a chaotic bloodbath – heads, hands and tongues are separated from their owners at an impressive rate, and deadly revenge is sworn about twenty times over before the first act has even properly begun. I’ve only ever seen this play performed (in an incredible but very interactive performance), so I’m excited to be able to read it and appreciate all of Shakespeare’s good words without being inconvenienced by the stabbing to death of a substantial portion of the cast.

If you loved Hamlet, Othello, and all the darkness of Lady Macbeth‘s murderous intentions, give this a read. It’s great. Bloody great (I’m not even sorry).

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 2.19.59 pm

I hope some of these caught your eye – they can all be purchased from the Kindle store at very reasonable prices (almost all below £5 and some of them are free), or Amazon does great deals on secondhand paperbacks. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for part two of my epic summer reading list! (and let me know if you’ve read any of these! What did you think of them?)

PV x