BY SCENE SHANG
IT'S SUMMER, and some are itching for a holiday. But travelling doesn’t always mean you have to leave home. You can visit new, secret worlds from the comfort of your armchair.
Here are some reads that will get you travelling with little time and effort.
1. One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Deep within a Colombian rainforest lies Macondo, an imaginary town founded by the patriarch of the Buendía family. The multigenerational story details the family’s restless history while echoing that of Latin America, with elements such as violence and unrest intermingling with hope and magic.
2. A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
16-year-old American-born Nao Yasutani lives in Tokyo and writes in her diary. Thousands of miles away, Ruth is a writer who lives on an isolated island off the coast of British Columbia. A Hello Kitty lunchbox, a diary and a Zen Buddhist nun somehow creates a link between the two in this story about time, space and multiple fates.
3. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Decadence springs forth in this classic American novel based on the Roaring Twenties era of New York. Set in the fictional towns of East and West Egg on Long Island, the book centres around the mysterious protagonist Jay Gatsby and his love interest, Daisy Buchanan. Amidst a glorious historical trip with jazz, flapper girls and general hedonism, is a commentary on the American dream.
4. Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie crafts a complex and compelling tale that centres around five lives and the events of the Nigerian Civil War. Ngozi Adichie’s writing is evocative, and a necessary reminder of the tragic reality of the state of Biafra in West Africa. The eponymous half sun is a reference to the Biafran flag.
5. Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho
Travel back in time to 1800s England, with this fantastical story of witches, romance, politics and power. This fun debut novel by Malaysian fantasy author Zen Cho feels both new and familiar, with world that traverses both England’s Regency era and the fictional island of Janda Baik in the Malay Archipelago.
6. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Reading Invisible Cities is like having a master key to a house with a hundred rooms, it is impossible not to explore and open yourself up to the possibilities. The book contains short poetic prose about 55 imaginary cities, such as Isaura, “city of the thousand wells” and Leonia, which “refashions itself every day”.
7. Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Upon reading the news of the opening of a new railway line in India, British gentlemen Phileas Fogg embarks on a world tour in an attempt to win a bet that he can travel the world in 80 days. The adventure novel includes stops in cities such as Calcutta, Shanghai and San Francisco, and keeps the reader’s interest with its cat-and-mouse set-up, romance and many obstacles.
What are you reading today? We'd love for you to share any interesting reads with us.