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Top 10 Best Novels to Read When Travelling

Travelling is exciting, eye-opening, exhilarating... and exhausting! Relax and escape into one of these beautiful novels for a while, all of which feature incredible journeys of both body and mind in a range of locations. See below for the best novels to read when travelling.

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1. The Beach

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Alex Garland

Richard lands in East Asia in search of an earthly utopia. In Thailand, he is given a map by a stranger which promises an unknown island, a hidden lagoon, a secluded beach and a new way of life. What Richard finds when he arrives is breath-taking: more extraordinary and more terrifying than his wildest dreams. But how long can paradise survive here on Earth - and to what lengths will Richard go in order to save it?


2. Life of Pi

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Yann Martel

This is the story of one boy, one boat, and one tiger, in the middle of the wild, azure Pacific. The only survivors of a shipwreck are 16-year-old Pi, a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orang-utan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. This sets the scene for the extraordinary adventure in this much-loved work of fiction.


3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

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Douglas Adams

One Thursday lunchtime, the Earth gets demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. It's the final straw for Arthur Dent, who already had his house bulldozed that same morning. But for Arthur, this is only the beginning. Seconds before global obliteration, Arthur is plucked from the planet by his friend, Ford Prefect, and together, the pair must venture out across the galaxy on the wackiest, weirdest road trip ever. This fantastically funny and futuristic story features a truly enlightening journey.


4. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

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Alexander McCall Smith

The first of a series of wonderful reads, the adventures of Mma Ramotswe are sure to delight and enthral. If you've got a problem and no-one else can help you, pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. With warmth, wit and sharp intuition on her side, she's sure to solve the most mysterious cases, including wayward daughters, missing husbands, philandering partners and curious conmen. Discover the vibrant Botswanan culture whilst enjoying the heart-warming and gripping story of Precious Ramotswe.


5. Eat, Pray, Love

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Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth has the life everyone wants in their thirties: a husband, a house, trying for a baby... her life should be perfect. But it's not. Following a bitter divorce and a turbulent affair, Elizabeth sets off on a journey around the world, determined to care for herself for once. She travels to Italy, India and Bali on a journey that will present her with incredible adventures, novel experiences, and the true path to inner peace and happiness. This is the ultimate book for travelling booklovers.


6. All the Light We Cannot See

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Anthony Doerr

This stunning novel takes place during the devastating years of World War II. It follows Marie-Laure, who, at the age of six, goes blind. Her father builds her a model of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorise it with her fingers. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast to join Marie-Laure's agoraphobic uncle in a tall, narrow house. In another world in Germany, Werner, an orphan boy, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master in building and fixing radios, a talent that ultimately makes him a highly-specialised tracker of the Resistance. His travels finally lead him to Saint-Malo, where his path collides with Marie-Laure's...


7. Shantaram

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Gregory David Roberts

In 1978, gifted student and writer Greg Roberts turned to heroin when his marriage collapsed, feeding his addiction with a string of robberies. When he was caught, he was given a 19-year sentence - but after two years, he escaped. He spent the next 10 years on the run as Australia's most wanted man. Hiding in Bombay, he established a medical clinic for slum-dwellers, worked in the Bollywood film industry and served time in the notorious Arthur Road prison. In the Bombay mafia, he worked as a forger, counterfeiter and smuggler, and fought alongside a unit of guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. His debut novel is based on the 10-year period of his life in Bombay. The result is an epic tale of slums, hotels, romance, adventure and torture, and a book that presents a vivid portrayal of Bombay life.


8. The Fault in Our Stars

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John Green

Full of poignant observations about life, death, illness and love, this book follows Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers who meet at a cancer support group. The two develop a friendship that 'slowly, and then all at once' becomes love, peaking with an eventful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this beautiful tale will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.


9. Half of a Yellow Sun

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This powerful novel tells a shocking tale of war and peace in the author's homeland of Nigeria, swinging back and forth between the early and late 1960s. It is told through the interweaving viewpoints of three characters: Ugwu, a village boy who gets a job as a houseboy for university professor Odenigbo; Olanna, a privileged young woman from Lagos, who leaves her luxurious life behind to live with Odenigbo; and Richard, an English journalist. But life will take a turbulent turn as these three characters are drawn into the heart of the Nigerian Civil War - and the consequences will be life-changing...


10. The Buried Giant

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Kazuo Ishiguro

The Romans have long since departed and Britain is gradually fading into ruin. Axl and Beatrice set off across a troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they haven't seen for years. They expect to face many dangers - some strange and otherworldly - but they could never have foreseen that their journey would reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Fierce, gripping, and intensely moving, this stunning novel is about lost memories, revenge, war, and love.


Want more novels to explore? Check out our full range of the best fiction novels.