Don’t forget to put “trip to the bookstore/library” on your packing list!

I listen to a lot of podcasts while I travel, but I also love to pass the time with a good book. I love the feeling of the paper, the smell of a freshly printed book and the possibility of marking the pages with dog-ears to go back to my favourite parts later. I never leave my apartment without a book and always carefully select a few to go on holidays. Making this choice is never easy, so I thought I would share some titles from my personal library that strongly recommend reading. I will also be reading some of them so we can share thoughts!

People laying and reading by the pond in Tivoli Park in Ljubljana
Ljubljana © Marion Dautry

All of the stories I have chosen this year are powerful books written by strong women about women. A journey is at the centre of every story, taking women to new places in the world but also in their own inner self to (re) discover their strength and sense of worth.

Around the World in 72 Days by Nellie Bly

A classic to be devoured in a short trip. I read half of it just on the train from my hometown of Orléans to Paris! In 1889, famous journalist Nellie Bly set out on an incredible circumnavigation. She wants to prove that one can travel even faster than Jules Verne’s fictional character Phileas Fogg. Even when “one” is a woman travelling by herself!

As I pointed out in my review, the book and Nellie Bly are not without fault, especially when it comes to racism. However, “Around The World in 72 Days” remains a valuable insight into the life and mind of one of the most intrepid women of the 19th century.

The Sun and her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Not a light read but one that will take you to unexpected and undiscovered (inner) places. Any woman should always carry one of Rupi Kaur’s poetry books with her. You never know when you will need her careful, wise words to help you navigate the world and your feminity. Men should read it too, to understand better the pain we feel and the troubles we go through only because we are women.

In The Sund and Her Flower, the poetess dedicates an entire part of her creation to the theme of migration and what it means to leave everything behind with only hope of a better life lighting the way. She also writes a vibrant tribute to her mother, the one who crossed the world to give her daughters a better life.

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The Sun and Her Flowers is Rupi Kaur’s second book and a powerful sequel to her first creation, Milk and Honey. Both have had a huge impact on me. They made me smile and cry and interrogate my way of coping with pain and life in general. Rupi Kaur’s words showed me the way to better understand myself and pay attention to my well-being.

Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina

Pouring some ice on this burning summer. Zuleikha is the story of a young Tatar woman trying to find solace and happiness in the harsh circumstances given to her. Married too young and exploited by her husband’s family, Zulheika finds herself on a train to a colony in icy Siberia. Her violent husband has been murdered and his family expropriated as a result of Stalin’s campaign of dekulakization. Pregnant, alone, Zulheika must find a strength she didn’t know she possessed to survive.

Brilliant Russian writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya described the story as “imbued with authenticity, veracity and charm that are rarely found in the Russian prose of the last couple of decades”.

I am reading this book upon the recommendation of a member of my book club in Belgrade, my lovely home where it is so easy to meet fellow book lovers or just sit outside at a terrace with a good novel and a cup of coffee. We are due to talk about it at the end of August and I’m truly excited to start!

Girls burn brighter by Shobha Rao

Indian-born writer Shobha Rao tells a cross-continental story of the strongest friendship between two girls who will never give up on each other. From a poor village in India to an apartment complex in Seattle, Savitha and Poornima never lose hope to be reunited. The title itself feels me with excitation!

Tackling gender-based violence through the eyes of her two heroines, Shobha Rao signed a debut novel that ravished critics and caught the attention of the huge Girl Gone International community. All the GGI book clubs are reading Girls Burn Brighter this year! I am looking forward to starting this book very much and planning to do so by the end of August (#girlonamission).

Sur Les Chemins de Chine by Clara Arnaud

This one is for those of us reading French. I am hoping this book will have the chance to be translated into English because Clara Arnaud’s travel diary is a masterpiece following the path of great explorers like Nicolas Bouvier. When she was 21, Clara Arnaud decided to travel solo to China and Tibet with for constant company only two horses. She travels by foot, slowly, focused on taking in as much as possible from this new, foreign and deeply-moving land.

Sur Les Chemins de Chine/On the Paths of China is an incredible adventure told by an inspiring woman who found the right words to take us with her on the road. She interrogates her own choices and asks a question many of us are trying to find the answer to: why do we travel?

What are you reading this summer? Share your TBR with me!

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