Three books that transport you to a different place

June is one of the best seasons for university students to travel. First of all, we are free from assignments and examinations. Secondly, since primary and secondary school students are still having lessons, destinations will not be packed with travellers. However, as we are in the middle of a global pandemic, it is almost impossible to travel. Yet, Facebook seems to ignore my frustration and keeps reminding me that I have memories to look back on.

Okay, Facebook, I was spending my one-month holiday in Chile, but now I am stuck at home!

After whining for a while, I realised that I could actually “travel” without leaving home. Remember how I make different recipes from around the world to feel like travelling? We can also do this with various books! Here are several books that enable you to explore the world:

The Chinese Bell Murders by Robert van Gulik

This historical mystery novel is set in the Tang Dynasty and mainly features Di Renjie, a magistrate of the Tang Court in the 7th century. It has provided a good channel for foreigners to have new insight into Chinese culture and traditions. Through different cases mentioned in the novel, the lives of people in the Tang Dynasty are depicted. Also, the importance of religion, the status of different social classes and women are clearly illustrated. If you are interested in Chinese history or culture, don’t forget to give it a read!

Pole to Pole by Michael Palin

This travelogue recorded Palin’s five-and-a-half-month journey from the North Pole to the South Pole following the 30-degree east line of longitude. A documentary of the same name was also broadcast on BBC. After his first travel programme Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin, Palin embarked on his journey exploring the two Poles with various transportation means including like Ski-Doos, barges and balloons. Apart from the vivid description of his journey, colourful photos are also attached in the book. Get ready to learn more about different culture around the world to readers and join Palin’s adventurous trip!

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute

This book reveals the hardships in war and how people can get through all these with love. Undeniably, food is of the uttermost importance above all. However, apart from keeping oneself physically healthy, one also has to take care of one’s well-being. While reading this book, readers go back to Australia and Malaya during World War II. Social inequality is observed in the book – the indigenous population were not allowed to use the same shop as the Whites did, women were subordinate to men. These illustrations have provided a good opportunity to reflect upon whether core values like “equality” and “equity” are being upheld in society.

Here are just a few suggestions that let you travel in the comfort of your own home. If reading is not your thing, try audiobooks, travel blogs or even documentaries. Sometimes, visuals are more appealing and would give you greater pleasure. If you have any other ideas, don’t forget to comment below and share them with other readers!