We may dream of hopping on a plane to Rome, swimming in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean, or boarding a ship and cruising to Alaska, but chances are we’ll be sticking closer to home this summer.
That doesn’t mean we can’t escape.
Find a comfortable, shady spot in your backyard garden; under a tree or on a bench in a quiet park; or under an umbrella on a secluded stretch of beach. Drape your Shoo for Good wrap over your shoulders, grab a great book, and head outside.
Consider “getting away” with these three recommendations:
Visit New York City, Brussels, and Nigeria with:
Open City By Teju Cole
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past.
But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.
Visit Paris with:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
One of my favorite books, The Elegance of the Hedgehog takes place in a Parisian apartment building. Like us nowadays, the characters don't get out much, but life inside the building is rich. The cantankerous concierge, a young girl, and a wealthy foreign apartment owner develop unexpected friendships and learn a lot from one another.
Visit Kerala, India with:
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.