Posted by: kimberlysullivan | August 2, 2013

Summer Holiday Reading

2012_July_liebster2Since I adore travel and reading in equal measure, it’s not odd that I love to combine the two. When I visit a place, I always try to have a novel set in that destination tucked away in my suitcase.

Some of my most vivid impressions I’ve experienced while reading books have been for books I’ve read that take place in the location I’m visiting.

I wrote about my penchant for context reading in an earlier post.

This summer, I’m headed to Asia and I look forward to reading the books I’ve set aside to read in my destinations.

In Taiwan:

Taipei- Tao LinTaipei – by Tao Lin

This book was just released. I’m not sure I would have otherwise read a work by this critically acclaimed young author, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to read a book set in Taipei. Lin himself, born in America of Taiwanese parents, described the book’s style as a mixture between Lorrie Moore and Bret Easton Ellis, which seems intriguing.

“Hipster lit” is not likely to become my new favorite genre, nor am I generally drawn to a protagonist who seems to dedicate his life to reading e-mails and ingesting drugs, but I still look forward to reading Tao Lin when travelling in Taiwan. Like the cool cover, too!

In Bali:

The Paradise Guest House - SussmanThe Paradise Guesthouse – Ellen Sussman

I read an author interview when this book was released, and I’ve always meant to read Sussman’s work. The book blurb describes it as: A riveting and poignant novel of one woman’s journey to Bali in search of love, renewal, and a place to call home.

Sounds like a perfect holiday read, maybe with the slight danger that I might want to stay myself. Although, since I’ll be with my kids, the real danger is that they might refuse to leave.

Other suggestions for Bali books? I don’t really enjoy books like Eat, Pray, Love and I’ve already read Claire Messud’s debut novel, When the World Was Steady, but I welcome any other suggestions.

And speaking about novels set in your destinations, I just discovered a useful web site if you’re looking for books to read on your next holiday. Take a look at the Trip Fiction web site.

And you, readers (and reading travelers)?

Do you have favorite books you read about a destination when you were there? Books you’d love to reread in a particular place? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. The best companions, books and travel – absolutely LOVE to explore by books, my most recent sojourn was to Istanbul and couldn’t read a page while I was there, it was so all consuming and interesting, but bought books there and followed up by reading about five books afterwards in a row, as you may recall🙂 from the corresponding blog posts!

    Have a fabulous visit and I look forward to hearing about the books and Taiwan and Bali!

    • Hi Clare! Yes, I remember you commenting this on your posts about Turkey. But you’re right that reading after is half the fun. And somehow lengthens your holiday, too. : )

  2. I haven’t prepared my books for our camping trip to Corsica next week, where I usually get through four or five books (I stay in the shade in the afternoon). Bali books? How about The Year of Living Dangerously? It’s set in Jakarta though, around the time Sukarno was deposed. I haven’t read a lot set in Asia recently, I realise. I can think of The Piano Tuner, set in colonial Burma, by Daniel Mason. Or what about A Little Javanese, a small press story collection by André Mangeot which I really enjoyed.
    I have too much to choose from on my shelves – not sure what to take away! Enjoy your trip.

    • Thanks for the tips, Catherine. Will have to pick up the Year of Living Dangerously. Enjoy Corsica! Look forward to catching up in September!

  3. What a great idea, Kimberly! These books look interesting.
    One question for you: what sources did you use to get to them?

    • Hi Julia! For these books, I saw reviews and saw them on Goodreads. But I was also happy to discover the Trip Fiction web site. Happy summer reading!

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