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‘Cat in the Stax: Cure the Travel Blues

  • Posted by: Jenna Renaud
  • Posted Date: August 26, 2020
  • Filed Under: Library News

I’m Jenna Newman, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your newest ‘Cat in Falvey’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the  Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!


With summer ending it’s clear that those trips you keep on postponing thinking “next month will be better” most likely aren’t going to happen in 2020. But that’s okay, because these five books will take you to places you’ve never been before.

(1) The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo 

Book cover of "The Alchemist"

I’m pretty sure this book was at the top of almost all of the lists I looked at prepping this article, which makes sense because it is such a magical classic. Paul Coehlo instantly transports the reader to a new world taking them on their own journey of self-discovery. From the boy’s hometown in Spain to the markets of Tangiers to the far side of the Egyptian desert, everyone can learn how to follow their dreams.


(2) A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (place an online order to borrow this cover of "A Walk in the Woods"book right off of Falvey’s very own shelves)

Anyone who has ever roamed the travel section at Barnes and Noble has probably seen the whole section dedicated to Bill Bryson’s travel writing, so I had to throw at least one of his books onto the list, right? Bryson describes not only the history of the Appalachian Trail, but the real-life characters they meet along the trail and the joys and trials of being an amateur  hiker taking on 2,100 miles of trail.

Bonus Book: Also check out Wild by Cheryl Strayed for another true story about a young-women on a self-discovery, healing journey along the Pacific Crest Trail… with no training  or experience.

(3) Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (place an online order to borrow this book right cover of "Into Thin Air"off of Falvey’s very own shelves)

If you had to read Into the Wild in your high school English class (or even if you didn’t) the next  step is to read Jon Krauker’s personal account of the May 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy. His account provides history of Mount Everest, the climbers, the industry, and the incredibly real dangers that face even the most experienced climbers. Krakauer provides a balanced, unbiased account of the events despite being left in a guilt-ridden disarray following the tragedy.

(4) The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinancover of "The Yellow Envelope"

Have you ever thought about quitting your job and traveling the world? Well, that’s what Kim Dinan and her husband did (Just their jobs! Remember – stay in school kids!); however, before leaving they received a yellow envelope, a check, and instructions. The book draws you into their adventures while also demonstrating the importance of giving yourself to others.

(5) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

cover of “Eat, Pray, Love”

Maybe you’ve seen the  movie, but I still strongly recommend you read the book, because let’s be honest – the book is almost always better than the movie. Elizabeth Gilbert provides us with  another story about changing up your life and exploring new places. Follow her journey as she eats, prays, and loves all over the world to a new self.

To make these places and more come to life, check out “Projecting the World: An Audio Tour of the John F. Smith, III and Susan B. Smith  Antique Map Collection.”  This collection of antique maps are accompanied by audio commentaries directly from their collector, John Smith.

For other book recommendations check out these lists that I used for inspiration.

Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Adding Airbnbs to my new ‘stay-cation’ list because I’m that desperate to travel.




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  1. Comment by Teresa Gerke — August 26, 2020 @ 11:40 AM

    These reviews are a staycation for my spirit. Eat Pray Love is a definite read. So much so I have it displayed in my bedroom to remind me travel dreams are uplifting in these unprecedented times. Article well done!

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Last Modified: August 26, 2020

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