Skip to Content

The 2019 Travel Reading List Challenge: Explore More Literary Territory

In addition to being a travel fanatic, I am an unrepentant book nerd and recovering bookseller. I believe strongly that books and travel go together. Books inspire travel and travel encourages reading.

Reading an atmospheric book invokes an acute sense of place, which can inspire travel. Conversely, traveling somewhere will give you that special insider knowledge about the place which is later rewarded when reading a book set there. It’s for that reason that I’m hosting the Travel Reading List Challenge and inviting you to participate.

Travel Reading List Challenge image

I’m joined in this challenge my several other travel bloggers who are also avid readers; Mary Jo at Traveling with MJ, Amanda from Maroc Mama, Tam from The Traveling Book Junkie and Ruby from A Journey We Love.

We’ve designed this challenge to encourage you to read more…and read more widely. The basic challenge has 24 book prompts and the advanced challenge adds another six for thirty total.

Join the Travel Reading List Challenge

Are you up for the challenge? Great! Here are four actions that you can take right now.

  1. Check out the challenges below. I’ve listed all thirty challenges and will help you get started with a few suggestions for each. Bookmark this page and come back often as I’ll be updating it monthly.
  2. Download this printable copy of the challenge. It’s designed as a check list with space for you to keep track of the books you’ve read.
  3. Sign up for the monthly Travel Reading List Challenge newsletter. It will tell you what we are reading and give you book ideas.
  4. Join our Travel Reading List Facebook group where you can engage with other book nerds and get book ideas for your challenges.
Books fall open, you fall in, delighted where you've never been. Book quote by David McCord. Bricks and leaves
That’s why travel and reading go together, Dave.

(This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase, I’ll make a small commission.)

The 2019 Basic Challenge List

Here is what I read during the 2019 Challenge.

1. A book by an author of a different nationality than you

Something Fresh (Blandings Castle #1), P.G. Wodehouse

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk

2. A book with a destination in the title (country, city, state, geographic region)

FKA USA, Reed King

3. A book about food

The Foragers, Sarah Dunham

4. A book published in 2019

The Glovemaker, Ann Weisgarber

5. A book set in a destination you want to visit

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman

Too Much Lip, Melissa Lucashenko

Star Wars Smugglers Guide, Daniel Wallace

6. A book about a controversial topic

Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg

Choose anything from the American Library Association’s list of books that have been challenged by uptight people who live in fear and hate creativity (emphasis all mine.)

7. A book that inspires you to travel

The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

8. A book where the main character is female

The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware

Transcription, Kate Atkinson

Cinderella Liberator, Rebecca Solnit

The Book Women of Troublesome Creek, Michele Kim Richardson

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo

9. A book on the New York Times bestseller list

Becoming, Michelle Obama

10. A book that is a debut novel

Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras

11. A book that is the first in a series

The Ultimatum (The Guardian book #1), Karen Robards

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1), Patrick Rothfuss

Illuminae (The Illumae Files), Amie Kaufman

Trail of Lightening (and then also Storm of Locusts), Rebecca Roanhorse

A Curious Beginning (and then A Treacherous Curse and A Perilous Undertaking), Deanna Raybourn

12. A best seller from 2018

The Friend, Singrid Nunez

13. A book written by a person of color

The Black God’s Drums, Djeli Clark

IQ and Righteous, Joe Ide

There There, Tommy Orange

The Wangs vs the World, Jane Chang

14. A book with a one-word title

Bannerless, Carrie Vaughn

Educated, Tara Westover

15. A book about a historical event that happened in your lifetime

Accidental Feminists, Jane Caro

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea, Alyssa Mastromonaco

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, Rebecca Traister

16. A travelogue

The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton

17. A book published by a small press

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, Kristin Newman

Geography of Bliss, One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, Eric Weiner

Check out this list of small presses for more ideas.

18. A book set on the continent of Africa

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

19. A book about a quest

A Long Way from Home, Peter Carey

20. A book on one of your hobbies

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Pamela Paul

21. A true crime story

The Map Thief, Michael Blanding

22. A book about books (bookstores and/or libraries)

Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

Scorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Matthew J. Sullivan

23. A book with a red cover

Shepherd’s Hut, Tim Winton

24. A book that is next in a series you enjoy

Null States and State Tectonics (Centenal Series), Malka Older

The Murder Bot Diaries series, Martha Wells

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island. Walt Disney book quote. Leaves and brick.
I agree Walt, especially since, (spoiler alert), that loot on Treasure Island caused no end of misery.

The 2019 Advanced Challenge List

Here’s the advanced challenge with an additional set of prompts.

1. A book with a Muslim main character

Internment, Samira Ahmed

The Bird King, G. Willow Wilson

City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper, S.A Chakraborty

2. A book published before 1900

The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

3. A book set in a war or conflict zone

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Mary Ann Shaffer

4. A book set in or about a natural disaster

Severance, Ling Ma

The Overstory, Richard Powers

5. A book that won a literary award

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

6. A book in the humor genre

The Witches are Coming, Lindy West

There is a land of magic folks and deeds. And anyone can visit there who reads and reads and reads. Book quote by Leland B. Jacobs
That’s what this challenge is all about L.

Read More: Take a virtual visit to some of the most stunning libraries in the world.

Get More Book Ideas


Start with this list of the very best travel books. It includes great reads about how travel is transformative, offering wacky tales of derring do, epic quests and stories of authentic travel.

You should also check out the following series of book lists for specific destinations:

Paris | Ireland | Iceland | Cuba | Scotland | Camino de Santiago | Sri Lanka | Australia | Jordan | Colombia | Spain | San Francisco

Follow my Books Worth Reading and Literary Travel boards on Pinterest.

Peruse my Good Reads profile for books that I’ve read and want to read.

Check out the Get Booked book recommendation podcast from Book Riot.

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter for Wayfaring Views for the latest on books and travel.

I cannot live without books. Book quote by Thomas Jefferson on bricks with leaves
Got that right Tom.

Kristin Henning

Saturday 12th of January 2019

Fun. I love sharing reading lists, and just published some of our past year's reading–travel related, mostly–as part of our Year in Review post. I'll pin and follow. Thanks.


Monday 7th of January 2019

Wow, what an amazing list. I'm bookmarking this to remind myself to read more, even though reading for pleasure seems to take a back seat these days to reading for business out of necessity. Maybe I should start with Becoming and go from there ;-)

Doreen Pendgracs

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Interesting list Carol! I don't have much time for reading right now as I am currently writing the second volume in my Chocolatour series. But will be happy to pin this post and share with my readers. Cheers and happy new year!

Karen Warren

Saturday 5th of January 2019

What a great idea - I love to read about the places I travel to. I've already got a very long reading list for 2019 but I'll check back on you occasonally to add to it!

Carol Guttery

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Me too. I'm hitting up several new countries this year and need to get reading.

Leyla Giray Alyanak

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Ack, I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner - I'm doing the Goodreads Challenge of 52 books for the year but I did find several I didn't know in your list and I think I'll add them to my challenge. Perhaps next year?

Carol Guttery

Saturday 5th of January 2019

Good Reads also has a great challenge. Join the Facebook group anyway- you'll find some good suggestions in there that will help you fulfill the Good Reads challenge.

Comments are closed.