Books are travel passes laced with magic, that take us on unforgettable journeys around the world. Escape on a literary voyage to unexplored and enchanting cityscapes bursting with culture and charm. Stretch your imagination to its limits and allow our captivating selection of books to transport you to the next city on your bucket list without leaving the comfort of your home.

A Moveable Feast written by Ernest Hemingway is the author’s memoir about the years he spent as a struggling expat journalist and writer in Paris during the 1920s. He reflects upon his stay in these cityscapes, the time he shared with his contemporaries like James Joyce and Zelda Fitzgerald and the romance of Paris. Hemingway says, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

Cityscopes through travel books

Dubliners written by James Joyce is a collection of short stories about the city-goers at the turn of the last century. The lives of the ordinary Dubliners come together to paint a portrait of the nation and its unromantic reality. Thought-provoking and rife with social commentary, this book is a realistic glimpse into Irish life and societal issues regarding class, caste and gender. Joyce is a masterful writer and this collection is the epitome of his craft.

After Dark written by Haruki Murakami tells the story of a cast of diverse characters over the course of a single night in the city of Tokyo. This book makes you feel as though you have lived through it. The vivid writing takes you through cityscapes as if you are the one out for a midnight stroll rather than the characters. It is a short, ambient and introspective read and is a perfect example of a city novel.

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 written by Cho Nam Joo is an intimate and unflinching account of a woman’s everyday life in Seoul. The author offers us a glimpse into the expectations, hardships and frustration that comes with being a woman against the backdrop of an advancing Korea. We follow Kim Jiyoung right from her childhood to her marriage and motherhood. The book accurately encapsulates the experience of nearly 50% of the population in Seoul.

Just Kids written by Patti Smith is a memoir that offers a glimpse into her life and relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe against the backdrop of New York City in the late sixties and seventies. We arrive with her to New York City and understand what it means to be a starving artist trying to get by. We are taken on a journey through the New York City arts scene and uncover information only privy to the people who have been there through this city novel.

Mrs. Dalloway written by Virginia Woolf is a thought-provoking modernist novel that takes place over the course of a single day in the city of London. We follow two characters as they take us through the city, bringing it to life as they go. Like most of Woolf’s novel it is beautifully written, captivating and a rewarding read.

The Lives of Other written by Neel Mukherjee is a book that explores the city of Kolkata during the Naxalite movement and other political changes. It is a saga of the Ghosh family and their large household, each member with their own story to tell. We are given a glimpse into the cracks Kolkata’s foundations and the power and importance of each individual within a society.

The Master and Margerita by Mikhail Bulgakov is satire set in Moscow exposing the harsh realities of Soviet life in the 1930s. Bulgakov takes you through the city of Moscow, using parts of the city he is well acquainted with for their symbolic significance. The novel was printed uncensored posthumously and remains to the day one of the most famous Russian novels and city novels ever.

travel books you can not miss

The Lying Life of Adults written by Elena Ferrante is a coming-of-age novel following a young Giovanna in a divided cityscapes of Naples. Alongside her, we explore both sides of Naples; the polished and refined Naples and the vulgar and indecorous side of Naples. It is a truly reflective and revealing city novel with hard-hitting portrayals of families, friendship and loyalty.

Books contain whole universes waiting to be explored and there is nothing like a story vivid enough to quench your wanderlust. This specially curated reading list allows you to travel the world, discover the richest landscapes and experience new cultures all with the turn of a page. What is your next literary destination?


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