Summer Travel Reading Guide: Part 1

Summers are normally that expanse of time that we university students travel homeward after a strenuous year, only to pack another bag and travel off to another edge of the world. Whether it’s flying to a different country or embarking on a train and commuting, everyone’s summer encompasses some sort of travel, so Impact Arts have devised a travel inspired reading guide for you to pass the time! So grab your coffee, snatch a copy, sink back and delve into another life and world, just as you trundle along that train carriage or ride the waves of turbulence and physically encounter somewhere new!!


Sink into Nairn’s London; published by Penguin, this is a gem of a read as you explore my favourite city. Whereas these days we have the internet and blogs to voice our opinion, delve into Nairn’s entries of every sector of London from the 1960s. Perfect to read whilst commuting to your desired stop- I’m sure you’ll find Nairn had something to say about it, and marvel at how different or remarkably similar the city seems now.

Quickly zooming through, or hopping from one station to the next, pick up ‘Poems On The Underground’ an anthology devoted to London, also published by Penguin. In addition to the book, look out for some of these selected poems on advertising spaces in train carriages all across London!

Want to read an outsider’s perspective on this city? Fall into Chris Cleave’s Little Bee and see for yourself how the opening resounds throughout the novel as you unfold a story that promises to stay long after the last page is turned…


Whether your summer plans include travelling to Tokyo, or you just wanted to know more about the Japanese culture and marvel at Murakami (whose work really will blow you away without a doubt) then there’s no time like the present! Murakami has been a constant throughout my summer, I couldn’t help but fall in love with his storylines and intricate events that shape his work. Norwegian Wood is where I started my Murakami obsession, it’s a great place to start. Take my word for it!


Then be sure to take this particular read as your literary companion: Alex Garland’s The Beach. And this way you can backpack on the beach! Follow a British backpackers’ search for paradise on earth, helping inspire gap year students to value the limitless value of travel and venture out to the Far East.

Alternatively you could try Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana. Not one that is widely known, this sneaky find can be our little secret. As you haul that backpack over as much land as you can possibly cross, these diary entries are considered to be the first example of great modern travel writing. Journey along with Byron during 1933/34 as he ventures through the Middle East via Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Teheran to Oxiana – the country of the Oxus, which formed part of the border between Afghanistan and what was then the Soviet Union. If you’re looking for an insight into this region of the world, which only the most intrepid travellers have seen, then this gripping yet humorous account of his adventures and episodes will safely transport you there and back!


Okay one of my all-time favourite reads, even after studying it during A-Level has to be Louis de Bernières Captain Correli’s Mandolin. Not many texts, once you’ve studied the essence out of it, can be recalled fondly. But this one can, whether you’re going to Greece, staying at home, or simply want to escape the life you’re in now and trade it for a 1941 Grecian feel, then this is for you. Escape to the war-stricken-remote-island of Cephallonia, laugh outwardly, fall in love unresistingly and cheer for Corelli as he steals your heart and becomes the hero of the island.

Still can’t find a read suited to your travels this summer? Never fear, Part Two of the guide is coming soon!

Radhika Chond

Image credit: Paul Bence via Flickr

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