1. Beautiful Ruins | Jess Walter
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Beautiful Ruins travels through time and location between 1950s Italy and present-day Hollywood. This story unexpectedly brings together a group very different people in Cinque Terre, Rome, and Los Angeles, plus a few other places I won't mention so as not to spoil the story. I highly recommend this book, especially if you've been to Italy - or dream of stepping foot among the coastal towns of Vernazza and Monterosso.
2. In A Sunburned Country | Bill Bryson
Bryson's commentary on travels to Australia is both hilarious and informative, leaving you with insider knowledge beyond the average guidebook while at the same time making you laugh out loud. My wanderlust for Australia has grown immensely since reading this book.
3. The Alchemist | Paulo Cohelo
I don't care if it's cliche to have The Alchemist on such a list, because this list would not be complete without it. I've read it four times and every time it refreshes life inspiration as well as provides guidance if I'm ever feeling uncertain. If there's any book you should read next, it's this one.
4. Places To Go, People To See | Kate Spade
I got two copies of this book for Christmas last year, and it wasn't even on my list! My family just knows me a little too well: Kate Spade + travel + cool photos from around the world + neon colors. Yup. It's a great coffee table book and provides endless inspiration.
5. The Happiness of Pursuit | Chris Guillebeau
There's an inspiration theme with this list, but that's what travel is all about. This book, written by Chris Guillebeau (who has traveled to every country in the world), is a collection of fascinating case studies of people following their "quests." Guillebeau inserts short travel stories from his own "quest" of visiting every country in the world throughout the book.
6. Lonely Planet's Guide To Travel Photography | Lonely Planet
This is a practical book for both beginner photographers and those looking to learn new skills in terms of travel photography.
7. Crazy Rich Asians | Kevin Kwan
Not my favorite book, though there was a lot of insight into Singapore and Southeast Asian culture that I found very fascinating! There are a variety of settings in Crazy Rich Asians, including Singapore, New York, Indonesia, and Paris.
To-Do List - Reading These Books:
8. Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide | Peter Allison
This book was a Goodreads recommendation in a travel list! It's a collection of supposedly outrageously funny essays from African safaris - from a Botswana safari guide, no less.
9. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | Robert M. Pirsig
Like The Alchemist, this is another "travel book list cliche" for a reason. With numerous recommendations from friends and bloggers I'll have to read this book someday.
10. Secret Europe: 50 Truly Unforgettable Places For Your Next Trip | Lonely Planet
I've explored a decent amount of Europe (though there's so much I haven't seen!) and I'd love to learn more from this guide about the sides of Europe you don't easily come across.
11. Eat, Pray, Love | Elizabeth Gilbert
I paged through the first fifty pages or so of Eat, Pray, Love my sophomore year of college and couldn't get past the sad beginning. However, after hearing how good it is - and how good the movie is - one day I'll need to see it to the end. Especially now that I've been to Italy, I know I'll enjoy reading more about the Italian portion of the book!