Top ten books to inspire a midwinter retreat

With winter settling in and the holidays upon us, the lucky (or maybe just wise?) among us are planning a little getaway. In January or February it’s nice to carve out a little time to escape from our harsh climate and recharge after the hustle and bustle of the end of the year. Maybe you’d like to go somewhere warm or tropical, or maybe you’d rather cuddle up in a cabin in front of a crackling fire for a few days. This is the time to plan it! And whether you’ll actually get to have a mid-winter vacay or not (my odds aren’t looking great), here are ten great reads to fuel your winter trip imagination.

content-chilifreshIn a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson: Bryson does Australia. It’s hard to imagine a better book about this amazing country. The reader learns and laughs together.

The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Survival and Obsession among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey: Fascinating description of marine biologists studying great white sharks around California’s Farralone Islands. You end up thinking sharks might be likable.

Galen Rowell’s Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography by Galen Rowell: Climber, nature photographer, environmentalist, Rowell tells stories about how he gets his great pictures.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad: Reporter moves in with Afghan family and recounts their lives. Deals with treatment of women and children; provocative survey of cultural differences.

Siberian Dawn: A Journey across the New Russia by Jeffrey Tayler: Tayler travels by train and by truck across the width of the Russian continent.

In the Mountains of Heaven: Tales of Adventure on Six Continents by Mike Tidwell: An absolutely superb travel book for all the right reasons: fine writing, amazing settings, memorable insights.

The Geography of Blisscontent.chilifresh.jpg by Eric Weiner: Grumpy foreign correspondent travels the world trying to figure out what makes some locales happier, or un-unhappier, than others.

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell: Vassar Spore has a very controlled life plan all mapped out at 17 until a trip with Grandma to Southeast Asia opens her eyes to new possibilities, surprising romance, and family secrets.

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain: Travel humor, old-school. We’re throwing it way back to 1867 when Twain took a trip to the Holy Land, sending back missives chronicling his impressions to be published in the paper. His tone ranges from lighthearted humor to biting parody, and it’s a travel classic.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone content-chilifreshby Laini Taylor: This one makes the list because IAMDYING to visit Prague. It’s a fantasy set in that beautiful city, and the vivid descriptions of Prague will make you want to go there, too. Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.


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