Travel Reading List was founded by Mary Jo Manzanares out of a love of reading and curiosity for the world – as a means of exploring new topics, writers, and points of view, as well as a means to find something to read next.
It’s a reading challenge designed for those who love travel – those who have a curiosity about the world around them, those who are always looking for their next great read (whether picking it up in an airport bookstore or finding wi-fi to download to their Kindle), those who want more ideas about what to read, and those who want to explore the world in person or through a good book.
The basic reading challenge has a pace of two books per month, for a yearly total of 24 books. The advanced portion of the reading challenge adds on another six books, bringing the yearly total to 30 books.
The challenge is self-paced. Read what you want, when you want it, there’s no order you must follow. Feel free to interpret the list in any way you wish, choosing the type of books that you enjoy. However, we also hope you’ll be encouraged to try some new authors, genres, and add new voices to your reading list – that’s part of the fun of the challenge.
2019 is the second year of this year-long reading challenge, featuring 24 reading prompts on the basic list and an additional six prompts on the advanced list.
Your guides for the 2019 reading challenge are:
Mary Jo Manzanares – Mary Jo is an avid traveler and reader. With a bag always packed, and a Kindle always full of books to read, she and her husband travel the world in search of value luxury destinations and experiences. She loves a good legal novel – John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Richard North Patterson are favorite authors – as well an eclectic mix of historical fiction, biography, chick lit, and random topics that catch her eye. Mary Jo’s goal for the reading challenge is to discover new authors and genres from fellow challenge participants. Mary Jo blogs at Traveling with MJ.
Mary Jo will be start off the challenge reading: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (for the advanced prompt a book set in a war or conflict zone).
Carol Guttery – Carol is the chief wordsmith for the travel website Wayfaring Views where she helps her readers explore beyond the obvious. She is also a first-class book nerd and a recovering bookseller. For Carol, travel and reading are intrinsically connected and all her trips are paired with a reading list. She’s a big fan of fiction and loves dystopic stories like Station Eleven, hacker fiction like Alif the Unseen, and books about bookstores like The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. Carol’s goal for the reading challenge is to stretch into some new genres and get ideas for her ever-expanding TBR list.
Carol will be starting the challenge reading: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
Amanda Ponzio Mouttaki – Amanda is the blogger behind the website MarocMama, a fearless guide to food and travel. She lives in Marrakech, Morocco with her extended family and loves to share culinary experiences and unique destinations around the world with her readers. When she’s not eating her way through a destination she’s got a book in her hand! Amanda’s favorite novels are historical fiction that combine her love of new places and moments in history. Her goal for the reading challenge is to try new genres while also sharing some of her favorite books.
Amanda will be start off the challenge reading: My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Tamason Gamble – Tam not only enjoys reading she has become obsessed with literature. Her love of books is interchangeable with her passion for travel. Tam’s desire to undercover new writers means that her reading preferences frequently change, and it is not unusual to find her reading an intense crime thriller at the same time as a new travel memoir with an occasional chick lit novel thrown in. For the reading challenge Tam is hoping to discover new exciting genres as well as uncovering some more demanding, thought-provoking reads that will leave their mark. Tam blogs at Travelling Book Junkie.
Tam will be starting off the reading challenge reading Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (A book with a one word title).
Ruby Escalona – Ruby is a travel addict and always packs her weekends and vacation days with visits to various cities and countries. She has had the chance to live on 3 different continents, and blogs about her weekend trips and other destinations on her blog, A Journey We Love. Whenever she’s not traveling, she spends her time reading non-fiction books, listening to audiobooks on her commute to work or while running errands, playing video games, and running multiple side-hustles as she tries to become financially independent. Ruby’s goal for the challenge is to try and discover some other genres.
The 2019 Reading List Challenge is below.
Click through each of the challenges to find what each member of the 2019 reading team chose for each of the selections. We’ll offer up a few thoughts about each of our selections to help you decide if it’s a book you might enjoy. Like you, we’re starting from scratch and tackling the challenge right along with you. We will be updating our selections here throughout the year, so check back often.
Comments are turned off on this site. For suggestions of what to read, lively discussions about our favorite books, and recommendations of what to take along on your next trip, please join our Facebook Group. We are directing all discussion, comments, and questions about the reading challenge to that group. Please join us!
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Basic Challenge (an average of two books per month)
- A book by an author of a different nationality than you
- A book with a destination in the title (country, city, state, geographic area)
- A book about food
- A book published in 2019
- A book set in a destination you want to visit
- A book about a controversial topic
- A book that inspires you to travel
- A book where the main character is female
- A book on the New York Times Best Seller List
- A book that is a debut novel
- A book that is the first in a series
- A best seller from 2018
- A book written by a person of color
- A book with a one-word title
- A book about a historical event that happened in your lifetime
- A travelogue
- A book published by a small press
- A book set on the continent of Africa
- A book about a quest
- A book on one of your hobbies
- A true crime story
- A book about books (bookstores and/or libraries)
- A book with a red cover
- A book that is next in a series you enjoy
Advanced Challenge: (an additional six books)
- A book with a Muslim main character
- A book published before 1900
- A book set in a war or conflict zone
- A book set in or about a natural disaster
- A book that won a literary award
- A book in the humor genre
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