I don't know about anyone else out there, but I'm in the mood for adventure. I yearn for travel, from exploring the unknown to visiting friends. Though I've been lucky enough to be able to explore my immediate surroundings, I'm craving the thrill of the wider world.
For those in the mood to take a trip, here are a few epic journeys that will take you to India, Chile, Montana, Barbados, Australia and a place that only a booklover could dream of. Most of these novels are editor favorites—whether Best Books of the Month picks or Best Books of the Year, so pack your bags and off we go!
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
Sea of Poppies is one of my favorites—set in the 19th century, the novel follows the crew and passengers of the trade schooner Ibis. From India to China, they weather the seas as each character falls more and more under the spell of opium—whether taking it, trading it, or manufacturing it. And if you enjoy this novel, you're in luck, Sea of Poppies is just the beginning of the Ibis trilogy.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
One of our Best Books of 2018, Edugyan's novel catapults readers from hot air balloons in Barbados to North Pole igloos, and from London to Morocco as a young boy comes of age and is granted freedom. An enthralling portrait of a Black man who travels the world in search of his true self, as Chris Schluep wrote in his Best of the Month Review “there is so much to digest here, and so much to enjoy, that readers may well be tempted to read this book twice.” I was one of those readers.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. From Antarctica to a prison in Ireland, Australia to Galway, Franny traverses the world and with every turn of the page, you learn more about why she’s always on the move. It’s one of my favorite books of 2020 and why we named it a Best Book of the Month.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Have I told you I love westerns? I do, I really do. Get ready for adventure and mischief, heroes and outlaws, as two aging Texas Rangers embark on one last cattle drive from Texas to Montana in Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. Like most adventures, it might take a minute to get used to your new surroundings, but putting in the time is well worth the investment for this American epic.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
After discovering a book in the library that includes his own childhood memory, Zachary Rawlins goes in search of clues to understand how his life came to be printed and bound. And what he discovers is otherworldly: where stories slide from the page into real life, where pirates lurk and time is just a construct, where crowded ballrooms collapse into darkened staircases, and a wispy woman, often in a white fur coat, leads the way. Full of stories within stories (and swords, bees, and keys), The Starless Sea, is a magnificent tribute to the tales of the imagination and truly magical. It also was one of our Best Books of 2019.
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
In her most recent work, A Long Petal of the Sea, the bestselling and award-winning author Isabel Allende charts the lives of a young married couple as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home. From Europe to Chile, from dodging gun fire to boarding a ship, this is epic story of love (though perhaps not like you imagined) and survival across continents.
Here are some of our favorite novels that will you transport you across continents and oceans.