5 Women’s Literature & Travel Books to Enjoy During the Feast Holidays

Friday July 31, 2020
By: Dr. Abeer Mostafa Elgamal

If you are reading this article now, you are most probably not spending your feast holiday in the Bahamas or Nice of the French Riviera. Yes, it is the Feast and it is hot, and you are entitled to have some fun. You wish to have your fair share of summertime travel and be somewhere else, to go on a ride to lovely places and there is nothing wrong with that.

If you happen to be a working woman, your need to escape the routine and the heat; your escape would certainly be wilder and more justified.   You have spent the spring working from home, crouching on your computer, taking full responsibility of entertaining your kids at home and making lots and lots of cakes to beat the corona virus despair. When the quarantine was lift off, you started the summer running between your full-time job and home with a face mask on. And now it is the feast; you need to get out of the rut and have some fun, and you so deserve it.   

The problem is that you have no energy to travel since you have to go back to work in three days and, above all, it will cost you a fortune to go to a decent north coast beach during the high season. Do not worry dear!  The magic wand is right here and all you need to do is pick it up and Abracadabra the place you wish to go without having to lift a finger.  You will sit comfortably in your favorite chair or sofa; you get to take up as much armrest space as you please while you’re getting to your destination, and you don’t have to wait for a little red light to turn off before you’re free to move around from one country to the other. The snacks are probably a lot better too when they come out of your own fridge whenever you wish.  Grab one of the following books- all light and joyful- and off you go…. Enjoy your feast travels.

1-The Streets of Paris: A Guide to the City of Light Following in the Footsteps of Famous Parisians Through History by Susan Cahill

Take my word for it: there really are few places in the world more beautiful than Paris, and through Susan Cahill’s The Streets of Paris: A Guide to the City of Light Following in the Footsteps of Famous Parisians through History, you’ll be able to travel there by simply flipping pages. Part history and part travel guide, each chapter opens with beautiful color photographs and starts at a different Paris metro stop, before taking readers through the homes of historical Parisian figures, the places that iconic Parisians frequented and found inspiration, and the scenes of their lives’ triumphs and tragedies.

2- Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson

One thing is for certain: Robyn Davidson is the Queen of solo-female travelers. Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback is Davidson’s account of her journey through the Australian desert to the continent’s coast, with four camels and one dog in tow. Along the way she falls in love with the landscape that challenges her body, mind, and spirit more than anything she’d ever experienced before, and she experiences the depths of her own strength and courage — which is exactly what all solo female travelers should hope for, even if you skip the wilderness for now.

3- The Captain’s Daughter: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore

Take yourself to the rocky coast of Maine this summer with The Captain’s Daughter, a novel by Meg Mitchell Moore. Growing up in Little Harbor, Maine, Eliza Barnes could swim and row and catch lobster alongside the toughest of lobstermen — she was the daughter of one, after all. But then she left that life behind for the Massachusetts suburbs. Now that her aging father has had an accident, the prodigal daughter returns to the land of her blood where friendship, humor, heartbreak, salty breezes, and gorgeous sunsets await her. And await you too.

4- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

As someone who has never herself traveled quite a way through the Amazon jungle, I can personally attest to the desire that it is definitely somewhere I would love to spend my summer — although I would require far less bug repellent if I go there with Ann Patchett.  Patchett’s novel, State of Wonder, introduces readers to Dr. Marina Singh, a woman who is about to venture into the lush, dark, mysterious Amazon alone, in search of her mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug.

5- Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World by Nell Stevens

I wish I had half the determination of that young novelist when I was her age.  In this book, get ready to venture somewhere you probably never expected to go — in life, or in literature. At 27-years-old, Nell Stevens was determined to finish her novel. That determination led her to the far-flung Bleaker Island, a freezing, windy, penguin-filled pile of rock in the Falkland Islands. Without distractions or internet, for that matter, Stevens is sure Bleaker Island will be the perfect place to hunker down and write. It is also the perfect place to get really, really familiar with oneself — which is exactly what Stevens discovers, as her novel and the book that would become this memoir, Bleaker House, begin to meld into one whimsical, good-humored, thought-provoking read.

Happy feast all over the world!


Dr. Abeer Elgamal, Associate Professor of English Literature, Department of Foreign Languages, Mansoura University.

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