travel books.

When I left for Europe last summer, I was faced with the enormous challenge of packing books. Until recently, I've never bought books. Most of the time, I borrow them from the library or friends. Which is all well and good, except for those few books that I couldn't envision not having for an entire month. That list of books has varied a little bit since last summer, with the most notable addition of John Green's newest book, the Fault in Our Stars.

Here's a short list of books that I bring with me whenever I leave the country.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. 

This book makes the list because it's about writing. It's incredibly funny and well written. I like writing about the places I go, and this book makes me want to write. There aren't a lot of books that make me more enthusiastic about writing than about reading, and this is one of them. I've highlighted and underlined half of this book. It's brilliant.

Through Painted Deserts, by Donald Miller

When I was fifteen, I climbed on a plane to Jordan. On the last leg of the journey, the flight directly to Jordan, I pulled out his book Blue Like Jazz. The American girl next to me, a college student, I'd guess, glanced over and saw what I was reading. She started gushing about Donald Miller, and told me that I needed to read Through Painted Deserts. I bought it last year, and I've read it four or five times. It's the ultimate roadtrip book. In it, Donald and his friend Paul travel from Texas to Oregon, and this book is about their journey. You'll love it.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Rather than list the numerous reasons why you should read this book, I'll just tell you two of the reasons why it's on the list. The novel takes place in two locations that are very dear to my heart. (Well, one is more dear than the other.) (Slight spoiler alert, for those of you who haven't read it.) Hazel and Augustus, the two main characters, are able to spend a few days in Amsterdam. Ammmmmsterdam. I love that city more than a lot of things in life. (Also, John Green loves it too. He once told me that he was jealous of me because I've traveled a lot, and I forgot to tell him that I used to live near Amsterdam.) So yes, his description of Amsterdam was beautiful. It's about time to go back. Hazel and Augustus actually live in Indianapolis, which is an hour and a half drive from home. It's so fun to read a book and recognize all the places.

Also on this list but not pictured: The Book Thief/ anything else written by Markus Zusak. His books are just incredible.

What are some books that you can't live without?

xo, katie


  1. ted dekker all the way. he inspires me in ways that i never though possible, with his tricky scenarios and the way he sucks you in right from the beginning.

    but, when i travel, i take my anthology of poems that i have collected over the years, some c.s. lewis, some jane austen, and some good old nancy drew. mysteries are what keep me excited for the turns ahead.

    great post :))
    -jocee <3

  2. I can't live without the Chronicles of Narnia or Jane Austen (especially P&P).

    I don't travel much, but when I do I take a stack of books. Some of them are just what I'm into at the time, and others are connected to where I'm going. When we went to the Florida Keys in October, I took Hemingway.


  3. Oh, yes, darlin'. The Book Thief makes me cry everytime.

  4. The Chronicles of Narnia. And this past summer I discovered The Fiddler's Gun and Fiddler's Green by A.S.Peterson. I cried and cried...

  5. Katie, I saw The Fault in our Stars in your photo, and I knew this post was from you. (: I saw John Green's video where he read the first chapter, and now I'm intrigued.

    hmm, a book I can't live without? well, I have yet to own it, but Victor Hugo's Les Misérables may just be the most epic piece of literature ever written. I want it to hold dearly forever.

  6. Hm, I'll have to look a few of those books up. :) A book a definitely can't live without is the Bible. Then there's Jane Eyre. I need a dose of it quite frequently.

  7. Hey wait a sec...John Green! I used to love his YouTube channel! That's funny! Maybe I'll have to read that book now!

  8. I just read Through Painted Desserts. I love it! Such a great travel book.

    A couple of books I can't live without . . . Such a tough question. I generally come back to Louisia May Alcott's works, Jane Austen's works, and Gene Stratton Porter's works.

  9. The Fault in Our Stars, yes. The Book Thief, of course. And I believe you've heard my story about reading Bird by Bird on the airplane? :) The other book sounds good, too -- I'll have to add it to my ever-growing list.

    I don't have a set of books I take with me; rather, whatever I'm reading at the time or have checked out from the library is what comes. It's fun because I associate certain books with where I read them for the first time -- Looking for Alaska was in California, for example.

  10. Anything by LM Montgomery immediately draws me in and never lets go. Her vivid descriptions and flawless character portrayals always make for an amazing read.

  11. Atonement my Ian McEwan. It is, in my opinion, the most beautifully written modern book I've read. The writing style is fantastic.

    I still haven't read the Fault in Our Stars, but I have it, and I'm expecting it will be fantastic.