Bookish Wanderlust for January Blues

bookish travels.png

Well, I don’t know about you this month, but I’m definitely experiencing the January blues. It’s still pretty grim out, my reading slump is only just beginning to shift and I’ve got another cold (wtf is wrong with my immune system lately?!). Which is why I think it’s the perfect time to start thinking about a quick getaway… and by getaway, for us shall-we-say financially strapped bookworms, I mean rushing to the bookstore and reading about some lovely and impossible farflung places. And to make this even more fun, I’ve picked books with some real world locations you can actually visit. So hold on tight and here we g-o-o-o….

daughter of smoke and bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– as you might be able to tell from my review the other day, this book has some *wonderful* descriptions of real world places, starting with Prague. What I didn’t mention, however, is that this book has *tons more* locations and the story spins across planets. Yup- that’s right, this book can take you out of this world! (and you won’t have to wait for Virgin’s space programme to get going 😉 )

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the Nightingale– *one day* I will go to Russia (I just want the opportunity to sing “St Petersburg is gloomy, St Petersburg is bleak…”- who’s with me?!) but if you’re like me and can’t exactly do that right now- NEVER FEAR- this book can transport you in both time and place. And the second one, Girl in the Tower, involves far more excursions. This is a trip perfect for the historically minded (fairy tale obsessed) traveller 😉 Speaking of fairy tales…

a song for summer

A Song for Summer– In my opinion, Eva Ibbotson was *the queen* at making history fairytale-esque and transporting the reader to faraway lands. One rather neglected book I’d recommend is A Song for Summer which takes you to the Austrian countryside, at the brink of WW2. It’s a wonderfully romantic story and if you fancy feeling like you’re somewhere else, this is perfect.

shadow of the wind

Shadow of the Wind– ahh Barcelona- one of the most beautiful cities in the world- that’s the glorious setting of Zafon’s remarkable series and boy does he bring it to life! With evocative description, a mysterious story and an eerie sense of the supernatural lurking, this book is what I recommend for anyone feeling restless for some sun, yet doesn’t mind a few chills along the way. But of course, if sun is all you’re looking for…


Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– as the title suggests there’s some different locations in this and some girl friendship and a little bit of magic 😉 I’d recommend this for anyone looking to just rock up on a beach for a book and whose down for a summer fling 😉 Still, if it’s romance you crave, there’s something even better on offer…

return of the native

Return of the Native– one of Hardy’s more romantic works and often his most popular novel. What makes this even more perfect for this list is Hardy’s remarkable ability to characterise the landscape of his Wessex (dubbed after the Medieval term for the area of Southwest England). This is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of that. What’s even better is if you visit Hardy’s Wessex you can tread a lot of the same paths as the characters and even see where Hardy’s mad wife lived (in an attic, as per her request, she was a bit bonkers- read some of her diary if you don’t believe me 😉 ) Here you can stay with one foot in the real world and another just on the brink of imagination. If you want to go *full on magic*, well then look no further than…


Harry Potter– not only is the wizarding world *amazing* but there’s also some wonderful real life places you can go. I’m not gonna pretend I get the whole “let’s go to King’s Cross and pose by a random wall” thing (sorry, I’ve been there loads to catch a train and don’t find it particularly glamorous) BUT I used to live in Edinburgh and let me tell you, there was clear inspiration for JK up there- everything from Teviot (the student union) to Greyfriars Bobby Cemetery ( ❤ ) with some very famous residents… Side note, if you ever do find yourself up there, do go to the Elephant House cos it’s beautiful and niche (though a little pricey) not for the HP graffitied toilet- please.



Inkheart series– okay when it comes to trying to make this real world setting, this one is pushing it. HOWEVER I think this is such a fun book to put on the list, because it’s a book about stories coming to life and as the series progresses it becomes about entering stories. How awesome is that? If you fancy a trip somewhere completely unique then book your ticket today 😉

six of crows

Six of Crows– again, this is stretching the rules a bit, because this isn’t a real world destination. BUT it is based on Amsterdam and that certainly comes across in the books. I loved the way Bardugo brought the location to life in her books, incorporated elements of the trading and canals and generally made it feel true to the real world, but with a twist. It also involves a heist in Scandinavia- which is probably more dramatic than a lot of book travellers are expecting. More for the adventurous tourist I’d say 😉 Speaking of more daredevil types…

city of masks

City of Masks– VENICE, HISTORY, ADVENTURE- need I say more? I think this is a pretty underrated series to be honest and the first is one of my favourite books set in Venice. Well, an alternative Venice 500 years before our time, where silver is more valuable than gold- interesting right? Not exactly for history buffs, but you’ll get more than you bargained for out of this- it’s quite the journey.

Now we’ve come to the end of the road 😉 Do you fancy a trip to any of these bookish worlds? And do you have any bookish locations to recommend me? Let me know in the comments!

87 thoughts on “Bookish Wanderlust for January Blues

  1. I loved Hardy’s “Return of the Native” because I love just about anything to do with England, town or country. Which is why Rowling always reels me in as well, because to spin a magical fantasy out of the place is to scratch my itch.

    I had to think a little bit, because I’ve read so many books that put me RIGHT THERE. But I think a book that surprised me on this count was James Galvin’s “The Meadow”. He writes so descriptively that I swear I have visited those western borders. It was like taking a vacation without leaving my house. Good stuff.

    Another great post OG!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is great for Wanderlust! And City of Masks sounds awesome. I adore Venice. Its nice to know that my immune system isn’t the only one that took a vacation. I feel like I’ve been sick all month!
    Hope you feel better soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting…I did not know Six of Crows was based on Amsterdam, and being Dutch, I ofcourse have to check this out now 😊😊
    I am not much of a traveller myself I’m afraid. I’m more content at staying home abd travelling to far away non existent worlds that I find through my books and movies and animes. That for me, is the ultimate trip 😊
    Hope you will feel better soon with your cold: those can be seriously annoying. And of course as always : terrific post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I didn’t know that about you- now you definitely have to read it! (and you can tell me all the bits she got wrong- and I’ll have to defend her, since it’s only supposed to be loosely based lol 😉 )
      Fair enough- then these can definitely help with that 😉
      Thank you very much! hehe yeah it is a bit 😉 Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have actually gone to Prague, but it was quite a few years ago. When I read Laini Taylor’s book, it really made the city vivid for me again. Your post also reminds me that I need to read the second book in that series still! Lol. Nice post and very creative!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, what a magical post! I love love love all your mentions, as I love love love books that transport us to other locations. Some authors are so incredibly skilled at it, you feel physically detached from your reading nook and thrust into a different place. Pure magic!
    I had no idea SoC was based in Amsterdam? That’s so awesome! Yet another place I’d love to visit, along with Russia and Prague 😉
    Lovely idea! Also, I have to ask, do you create your own orangutan illustrations? They always look so on point!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so so much!!! Yes what a beautiful way to put it- you’re so right!!!
      Yes- I think I realised a little when I was reading, so I looked it up to confirm my suspicions 😉
      Thank you very much!! hehe yes I do- I can imagine it’d be pretty hard to find all the different poses otherwise 😉


  6. What a great post idea! There is no greater escape than through a book! I just finished the Bear and the Nightingale a few minutes ago and it was absolute beautiful. I did not want the journey to end!

    Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is a great book for this too! I loved the parts set in Greece!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think most of Eva Ibbotson’s historical romances have either different covers in the US or different titles (or both). But regardless, they are lovely. I wish she’d written a few more of them!

    I loved Shadow of the Wind, Return of the Native, and of course Harry Potter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great post. I would love to visit Russia. I have to put The Bear and the Nightingale on my list. I love reading Outlander because of the Scottish setting. Nothing beats the Scottish Highlands. But if you are after warmer weather then perhaps read something set in Australia. We’re sweltering at the moment. Feel better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much1! Ah yes me too and I highly recommend the book!! Oh yes that’s a good choice!! Oh good idea!! Thanks very much for the tip (and I’m seriously craving the warm weather right about now 😉 )


  9. I really feel like travelling now!!! I love the descriptions in DOSAB, I remember reading it and just wanting to drop everything and fly to Prague. I would really love to do a Harry Potter tour one day. I am hoping to go to Scotland next year so maybe I might be able to stop in England first *fingers crossed*. This is such an awesome post!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this post, I wish I had the time and funds to travel around the world and am eternally thankful for books that give me the chance to at least imagine it. The only books on this list that I had read were Harry Potter and The Bear and the Nightingale – which my god the setting in Bear was marvelous! I’ll definitely need to check out the other books you listed – thank you!


  11. This is such a great post!! January blues are definitely a thing and I totally get it… I’m normally then more inclined to read fantasies, adventures, more upbeat things… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Awww, do you have some kind of monkey virus? I’d recommend Tales of the City for some escapist San Francisco chill, Bill Bryson for just about anywhere or, as discussed, Lord of the Rings where you can either visit the Midlands/Worcestershire for locations in the books or New Zealand for the films. I hope you feel better soon! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ugh yes, I am feeling the January blues as well, so thank you for this post! Daughter of Smoke and Bone REALLY made me want to visit Prague someday and I loved the Barcelona setting of Shadow in the Wind, it was amazing. Inkheart…. oh, the memories, I read that book when I was young, you’re making me all nostalgic now 😛
    Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fun post! I totally agree with Daughter of Smoke and Bone (the worldbuilding was pretty awesome in that book), Harry Potter (because duh), and I like you put Inkheart on the list: “book your tickets today…” haha that one made me laugh. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I would literary love to visit all of those worlds as well! Even though I haven’t read most of them, the way you described them sounds simply wonderful. Great choices! 😀 Out of those at the top of my list are Prague and Venice. (Probably because I have wanted to visit those places for ages already.)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I did completely miss this post but yes this is one of my favorite things about reading, visiting those unique places that books take us to. I don’t mind if it’s exotic locales or simply other cities around the U.S, as long as the author brings them to life in the story I’m all in. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

              1. Doesn’t help I don’t like airplanes and you can’t get on a boat to go across country. LOL I have family in Oregon I’d love to visit but we’re talking days to drive out there.

                Liked by 1 person

  17. I love this post, books and travel are two of my favourite things so I love anything that combines the two like you’ve done in this post! 🙂 Daughter of Smoke and Bone is always a main one for me simply because of how Laini Taylor wrote Prague (I WISH I could write my worlds half as well as she does), and seeing The Bear and the Nightingale on this list has made me want to get around to it ASAP. 🙂
    I’ve had City of Masks recommended to me a few times so hopefully I’ll be able to get around to it soon (I say that about a lot of books, soon means something very different to me than most people it seems.)
    Again great post, and you have some brilliant books on this list as well! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I completely forgot about Inkheart, I read the first one in highschool, really enjoyed it and then completely forgot about that series. Now I feel like I need to go back to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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