When you go on a trip do you like to read books set in the location you are visiting? I know I do. I’ve been lucky enough to go to some great places around the world and as a consequence discover some of my favorite books. I read Nicholas and Alexandra in Russia. I read Romola in Florence. I read Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler, while sitting on Bethany Beach and proceeded to become convinced my mother was going to abandon me there. Don’t worry. She didn’t. So now that I’m preparing for a new trip, I’m looking for new books to bring along and enhance the experience.
In July I’m going to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest!!! I actually don’t know a lot about these cities, but as I hope my three exclamation points convey how excited I am. The trip kind of came out of nowhere, but I’m happy that I’m able to take advantage of this opportunity and spend some time with my sister, father, and stepmother. I’ve been looking around for books, but haven’t found anything that I feel strongly about so far. If you’ve read or heard anything about these books let me know.
Prague: All I’ve got is something by Kafka (I’ve read Metamorphose and The Trial) or something by Milan Kundera. Both of these authors seem like wonderful choices, but maybe a little heavy for vacation reading? I have always wanted to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being though.
Vienna: I was thinking there might be something about Marie Antoinette’s childhood that could be good, but I haven’t found one yet. Here’s what I have:
- The Reluctant Empress: A Biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, by Brigitte Hamann
- The Third Man, by Graham Greene
- Traveling with the Dead, by Barbara Hambly
Budapest: The two books I’ve found set in Budapest are the confusingly titled Prague by Arthur Phillips and The Good Master by Kate Seredy.
I’d love to hear if other people do this and learn about your favorite books about your favorite cities/locations. Also please comment if you have other suggestions! The trip is actually starting with a family wedding in Michigan, so books set there would be welcome as well.