Tag: world travel


8 Real Literary Locations You’ve Read About in Novels!

I know it’s the end of summer vacation, yet I still want to share this combo of traveling and literature with you, maybe for your next vacation plans. Here are eight beautiful places that have been set in the world of words!




Thanks to Tim Pile’s recommendation, plus one of my pocket list, here’s the eight literary books:

  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (1994) by Louis de Bernieres
  • The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • River of Time (1995) by Jon Swain
  • Our Man in Havana (1958) by Graham Greene 
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) by Thomas Hardy
  • Out of Africa (1937) by Karen Blixen
  • The God of Small Things (1997) by Arundhati Roy
  • The Stolen Bicycle (2017) by Wu Ming-yi






Images Via Amazon, Amazon UK, lickr.comText Book Centreand The Tough Guy Book Club



Have read these yet? Let’s see the pictures first!



1. Kefalonia in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin


Image Via scmp



The Greek Island of Kefalonia is the soul in both Bernieres’ novel and 2001 cinema. In the story, a young officer came to the island with the Italian army and fell in love with a local doctor’s daughter. However, the woman he thinks is the one is already engaged to someone else. In the real word, the beaches on the island are incredibly beautiful without much contamination of tourism.



2. The Oheka Castle in The Great Gatsby


Image Via scmp



In Gatsby’s world, there’s a mansion called West Egg where Gatsby lives in search of his lost love of Daisy. Though it’s a fictional place, there’s a spot which inspired Fitzgerald in the real world. Located in Long Island, New York, the Oheka Castle is a place where literary New Yorkers should visit.



3. The Mekong River in River of Time


Image Via scmp



Jon Swain’s memoir describes the fall of Phnom Penh to the Khmer Rouge in 1975. The Mekong River is the soul in Vietnam. Sampans in the picture allow visitors to explore the beauty of the Mekong.



4. The Havana streets in Our Man in Havana


Image Via scmp


It’s a story about a vacuum cleaner salesman living in Havana, Cuba, who agrees to moonlight as a secret agent and recruit local spies for the British government. If you visit the streets in Havana, you can jump directly into the novel as Tim Pile suggests because the view has never changed.



5. Dorest inTess of the D’Urbervilles


Image Via scmp



One of the most famous villages for every English majors: Dorest in England’s southwest aka Hardy Country. It’s a beautiful village with “thatched cottages, grand manor houses, rolling hills and dramatic seascapes.”



6. Kenya’s Malindi beach in Out of Africa


Image Via Rhino Africa Blog


British East Africa, or Kenya, has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!!! Look at the transparent water! You can swim as if you’re in the center of the world and think of the story of Karen Blixen.



7. Kerala in The God of Small Things


Image Via scmp



Kerala is always a mysteriously attractive place to visit. In the jungle, would you find your god of small things?



8. Taipei in The Stolen Bicycle


Image Via Travel Wire Asia


Longlisted in 2018 for Man Booker’s International novel, Wu’s The Stolen Bicycle tells of stories interweaved in this beautiful island called Taiwan. The capital Taipei is a wonderful place to visit. You can find unbelievably delicious food here! 




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Featured Image Via ThurstonTalk

Cat in bookshop

7 Perfect Independent Bookstores from Across the Globe

If there’s one thing I love more than books it’s bookstores. And, if there’s one thing I love more than bookstores, it’s independent bookstores. Independent bookstores act as a sort of home. They’re the places you go when you want to get out of the house, but you also still want to sort of be alone.


And this is why it’s so very vital that we stand by, support, and shop at our independent bookstores. Our independent bookstores are small business that are constantly being threatened by the bigger, fortune 500 corporations; it’s up to us to keep ensuring that the corporations don’t win and that the independent stores are able to stay in business.


So, pop into your local indie bookshop this week and pick up that novel you’ve been dying to read!


And, check out these seven super-rad independent bookstores from all across the globe; who knows, maybe you’ll see your local shop on the list?


Housing Works – NYC


Housing Works

Image Via Boo York City


Housing Works is a beautiful place because, on top of offering every book under the sun within their shop, they are also an organization that helps provide housing, healthcare, and treatment to those affected with HIV/AIDS. (You can also rent out the bookstore for your wedding!)


Daunt Books – London


Daunt Books

Image Via Voyage Collective

This breathtaking shop opened in 1990 with one objective in mind; organize books by country rather than genre, so the reader can walk through the shop all the while traveling the world.


Women & Children First – Chicago


Women & Children First

Image Via Afar


This friendly feminist bookshop opened in 1979 and specializes in books by female-identifying and LGBTQ+ authors in all forms. They are one of the largest feminist bookstores in the world, containing more than 30,000 books!


The Book Lounge – Cape Town, South Africa


The Book Lounge

Image Via Your Local Book Shelf


This incredible little shop opened in 2007 and contains the most unique, eclectic selection of books. They also host story time every Saturday morning!


Leaping Windows – Mumbai, India


Leaping Windows

Image Via Homegrown


Leaping Windows was born of the idea to connect comic book lovers with all the books their hearts could possibly desire. They believe in the connection books cause between fellow readers, the power of imagination, and the ability to create a space for all to feel welcome.


Type Books – Toronto, Ontario


Type Books

Image Via Type Books


This adorable little shop believes in the written word, hosts events for authors and artists, and offers a wide variety of books under all genres. Check out their insanely beautifully curated window displays!


Flow Books – Hong Kong


Flow Books

Image via Hong Kong Free Press


This book shop opened in 1997 and, in the past twenty-one years, have seen more than half-a-million books flow through! 







Featured Image via The Book Man


Writers In a New York Airport are Writing Stories For Flyers

When I think of reading in airports I think of Dan Brown novels, the latest thriller book, and very limited options when it comes to deciding what to pickup at the terminal’s book and magazine shop. Writers Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith are about to change all of that. 


The two writers set up shop at what used to be a Hudson News kiosk in Terminal A of New York’s La Guardia Airport, offering flyers a writing nook stacked with books, decorated with wooden furniture and rugs, and adorned with a vintage typewriter. In their nooks, they’re writing short stories for fliers.


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Image Via The New York Times


The writing initiative, named Landing Pages, is a part of a residency program by the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Jacobs and Smith are just two out of many artists who have taken up residency at the terminal, taking over for three months to experiment and share their mediums. 


To receive a story from the authors, passengers just have to provide their flight number and contact information. Jacobs and Smith then go to work while passengers are in the air, texting them their completed stories before they arrive at their destination. 


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Image Via Hyperallergic


Together, the duo write about six stories a day with a goal of completing fifty by the end of June. With the end goal in mind, they plan on compiling all the stories they’ve written and self-publish them in an anthology. Until then, all the stories they’ve written so far are available to read online


Featured Image Via The New York Post. 


11 Literary Festivals to Attend and Rejoice with Fellow Bookworms

Sleep, eat and breathe literature by attending these eleven literary festivals around the world. Whether you are a public speaker, an author or just someone with a passion for anything literary, these festivals are the perfect opportunity to hang out with fellow literati (bookworms) and immerse yourself in discussions, debates, workshops and other cultural and arts events that will blow your mind.


1. Shanghai International Literary Festival, China.


Having grown from small beginnings, this is now China’s leading English language literary festival, at which all genres are celebrated and discussed in order to create a taste for the current literary landscape. Each March, you can attend literary lunches, panel discussions, workshops, live events and readings, as well as watch some of the world’s greatest writers in conversation with one another. With a focus on fiction, literary non-fiction, poetry and children’s writing, activities also include interactive forums and sessions in other languages such as Mandarin, Italian and French, including sessions with well-known writers and Man Booker Prize winners. 




Image Via SmartShanghai


2. Kosmopolis, The Amplified Literature Fest, Barcelona, Catalonia.


Born in March 2002, Kosmopolis showcases the wild literary scene of Barcelona right from its heart at the Center de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in the beautiful El Raval neighbourhood. Literary history runs deep through this region of Spain, which is why many of its most successful publishing houses are located here today. Barcelona’s literary brand of Gothic mystique and historical weightiness has, for eons, produced some of the best works of romance, love, betrayal, adventure, friendship, familial conflict and mystery. The city feeds the imaginations of emerging writers and those who are just passing through. Around 9,000 people attended the festival this past March and Festival director Juan Insua explained that “the goal is to think of literature as a big house with many doors; the ‘amplified’ concept relates to the fact that you can enter from a television series, a video game, a graphic novel or scientific developments”.



Image Via Culture 360


3. Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, United Kingdom.



Image Via WeekendNotes


Hay-on-Wye is considered to be the Glastonbury of book festivals, and England’s most well-known. It began in 1988 in the small English-Welsh border town of Hay-on-Wye and has since gained a powerful reputation playing host to a rich line up of novelists, poets, dramatists, biographers, historians, artists, chefs and many more influential creatives each year around the end of May. People in attendance can kick off the Summer either by camping in some of the U.K.s most beautiful stretch of countryside or stay in one of the book-town’s many B&Bs. To top it all off, this town is also home to Hay castle, a medieval fortification built  in the 16th century, which has an outdoor public library wrapping around the castle walls.


4. Small Wonder, Charleston, Sussex, United Kingdom.


Small WOnder

Image Via Bede’s


Small Wonder is another prime example of book festivals which thrive when hosted in small, pretty towns. Ledbury hosts this ten day long festival with a heavy focus on short story and poetry writers. With an international line-up to enjoy, many days are spent at the fabled setting of Charleston House, the previous home of Victoria Bell and Duncan Grant reading, listening and making friends with fellow book lovers who are all there to share the properties significant literary heritage and the voices that travel to it each year.


5. Brooklyn Book Festival, Downtown Brooklyn, New York, United States.



Image Via LA Now


Originally established to shine the spotlight on Brooklyn’s many homegrown writers, today the BKBF has become an international literary event and is NYC’s largest free literary festival. With hundreds of book-related events for new and emerging authors to showcase their work, a lively children’s day and a festival day, the outdoor marketplace which hosts it creates a hip, urban vibe which thousands of people visit each year to hear the “Brooklyn voice.”


6. Sydney Book Festival, Australia.



Image Via City of Tongues

Beginning in 1997, this festival has expanded, now drawing a crowd of 80,000 people each year, in mid to late March. The festival involves 400 participants and presents over 300 events in renovated piers in Walsh Bay, Sydney. 



7. Berlin Book Festival, Mitte, Berlin, Germany.



Image Via Exberliner.com


Berlin is internationally recognised as a lively cultural hotspot. Its festival of literature boasts a program in which people can attend a multitude of events with a contemporary focus, such as “reflections” in which authors, journalists and international experts from various specialist areas will all be voicing their opinions in discussions that takes on current political, social and cultural topics. ‘Science and the Humanities’ is also on the list in which scientific insights, approaches and potential solutions are discussed. Other programs include ‘Literatures of the World’, ‘Speak’, ‘Memory’ and ‘Specials’ which foregrounds new German voices. All texts presented at this festival are done so in their mother tongue, yet with presenters and translators available, discussions between presenter, author and even audience are all made possible.


8. Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, India.



Image Via Livemint.com


This is the largest free festival in the world. Last year, 350,000 people attended in the Northern Indian city of Jaipur. Sanjoy Roy, founder of Teamwork Arts, the festival’s organizer says “This kind of energy is difficult to reproduce because it comes from the young participants and the array of conversation on topics from cookery to math, ancient literature to modern writing. It is all about the discovery of new voices.” As the tally of literary festivals across India continues to rise, the JLF remains “magnificent and chaotic and marvellous.”


9. Miami Book Fair, Florida, United States. 



Image Via Miamiallround


The Miami Book Fair has gained quite the reputation for itself as being more of a “literary party” than anything else. This fair takes place over the course of eight days at the Watson Campus at Miami-Dade College every year in November. 250,000 people on average attend. Complete with live music and delicious food vendors, there is also a great selection of new and used books on sale and an engaging panel discussion.


10. World Voices Festival of International Literature, New York, United States. 




PEN World Voices is a week-long literary festival in New York City. The Festival was founded by Esther Allen and Michael Roberts under then PEN President Salman Rushdie. The Festival is composed of programs, readings, conversations, and debates that showcase international literature and new writers. It is produced by PEN America, a nonprofit organization that works to advance literature, promote free expression, and foster international literary fellowship. It runs for a week in April and has a focus on human rights. 


11. Wordstock, Portland, Oregon, United States



Image Via Literary Arts


In November each year, the literary arts annual celebration of books is where you can pick up information about MFA programs and writing classes, get book recommendations from your favourite authors and and attend events and talks such as ‘Border Crossing: Poetry and Place’ and ‘If You Can Make it Here: Art and Artists in New York City.’


Featured Image Via Pinterest

Rocket Room

Sleeping is a Waste of Time at These Literary Inspired Hotels

Some people love reading so much that they try and sleep surrounded by as many as possible. Luckily, there are people out there designing and building such places of sorcery just for them. Bookstr has compiled a lovely list of 9 hotels where you can have a unique literary experience for as long as your bank account lets you. Sleep surrounded by books, sleep under them, have a bookshelf for a door, sleep in a Virginia Woolf themed room, we don’t really care. Just do you. 


1. Book and Bed, Tokyo.


Book and bed

Image Via Pinterest

Book and Bed

Image Via Pinterest


The atmosphere of this small, 30 bed hostel is optimized for rest, relaxation and reflection. It’s grounded in the heart of bustling Asakusa, the entertainment and shopping district of Tokyo where book lovers can come and be surrounded by their favorite pass time. Comfortable lounge areas to read and write dot the property and from reading up on reviews, guests have coined it an extraordinary experience where sleeping almost seems like a waste of time. You sleep in snug little cubbies hidden behind bookshelves, laden with over 3,000 books.



2. Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore.



Image Via WanderlustHotel


Image Via Pinterest


A member of Design Hotels and located in Singapore’s Little India, this hotel was built with unique retro accents and has something for everyone to enjoy. This spot has a freakin indoor treehouse and spaceship, not to mention a bedroom decorated to resemble the inside of a type writer. Whether you’re an old-school typist or a modern day Macbook user, Wanderlust will certainly inspire your inner writer, having housed many curious voyagers to its old ethic enclave in the city. At Wanderlust, the hotel staff want you to “walk the unconventional path where a radical hotel experience awaits.” We’re so down.


3. Hotel Not Hotel, Amsterdam


Hotel not Hotel

Image Via hotelnothotel.com

Hotel not Hotel

Image hotelnothotel.com


Hotel Not Hotel doesn’t just attract guests from all over the world, it is also a trendy place for locals to hang out due to the open floor plan and inviting nature of the building. The Kevin Bacon Bar serves as the hotel’s watering hole, cooking mainly Thai food for dinner and directly connected to the two story trendy communal space in the center of the building, complete with long drawing tables and sofas – perfect for chilling with a book and a glass of wine. There are less than 20 hotel rooms in the property, most of which are upstairs and are accessed through the floor to ceiling bookshelves that wrap around the upper mezzanine. Deep leather seats are dotted along the balconies, complete with green bankers lamps and old chess boards for an antique feel. Rooms are not just rooms in the establishment either, each is thematically different to the next and has its own creator, story, and identity. For instance, the room photographed above is the tram bedroom, whereas its neighbor is an elaborate islamic archway intricately carved out of wood. Located in an up and coming part of town, in Amsterdam’s Old West neighborhood, the hotel is a delight for book lovers and artists and designers of any form to come and have a look at.


4. The Library Hotel, New York City


Library Hotel

Image Via Facebook


library hotel

Image Via Facebook


Located not too far from the New York Public Library in Midtown Manhattan, this boutique hotel is home to 10 floors of bedrooms based off of the Dewey Decimal System. This means there are bedrooms inspired by Mythology, Technology and Oceanography, which is a pretty sweet idea. The hotel is complete with a writer’s den, a fully stocked reading room and a poetry garden which also serves as a rooftop bar with a view of downtown Manhattan. The reading room is open 24 hours a day. There is something for every type of reader here, for you can stay in the Zoology room, the Fairy Tales room, or the Astrology room, all of which are stocked with books of their genre. Perfect for all you categorical fiends. 


5. The Ambassade Hotel, Amsterdam



Image Via Meetings Booker


Library Bar

Image Via Ambassade Hotel


This establishment is a literary retreat located on Herengracht and rises above a canal of the same name. With a guest list that includes names such as Umberto Eco, Zadie Smith, Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabelle Allende, the Ambassade Hotel is a very special place that pays proper homage to Amsterdam’s somewhat overlooked literary scene. It is home to a vibrant community of book lovers and this location hosts up to 4,000 books, signed by authors who have stayed here. The guestbook is also a delight to flick through for it was written by actors, musicians, architects and philosophers who all came to this place to enjoy a cocktail at the award winning Library Bar, photographed above.


6. Sylvia Beach Hotel, Newport, Oregon


Sylvia Beach

Image Via SylviaBeachHotel.com



Image Via Pinterest


Sylvia Beach

Image Via Pinterest


The coolest thing about Sylvia Beach Hotel, formerly the Cliff House Hotel, is that its rooms are inspired by popular authors like Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, Mark Twain, and as pictured above, the Steinbeck Room and the Oscar Wilde Room. Here you can really lose yourself to the world of literature and catch your breath sitting on a deck chair facing the Pacific Ocean. The Sylvia Beach hotel is located in Newport, Oregon on the central Oregon coast on a bluff above Nye Beach. It is owned by the famous expatriate American bookseller and publisher, Sylvia Beach who opened the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris in 1919. This location was built in 1912 and renovated in the 80s to become a 21 room literary themed bed and breakfast. It is listed on the U.S National Register of Historic Places and also on the Emer’s Goal list.


7. Il Salviatino, Florence


Il Salviatino

Image Via Travel Channel


El Salvatino

Image Via Travel Channel


Yes, you will be staying in the rolling hills above Florence and yes, you will be in a 15th century villa in the beautiful town of Fiesole, surrounded by frescoes, a museums worth of art, and twelve acres of impeccably landscaped gardens. And obviously, you will be eating lots of tortellini and reading lots of books in the oaky library. Need we go on..


8. The Heathman Hotel, Portland


Heathman Hotel

Image Via Pinterest



Image Via HeathmanHotel.com


This location has an on-site literary curator for the properties’ ever-growing collection of books, complete with a library that specializes in autographed editions signed by Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. Poet Laureates, former presidents and authors who have stayed at the Hotel. It is located in the heart of downtown Portland and is said to be getting a multi million dollar face lift later this year. It also hosts a dumpling night in its restaurant each month… yes dumplings.



9. The Gladstone, Flintshire, North Wales



Image Via Place North West



Image Via Shelley Harris


This historical location is less of a hotel and more of a library that supplies bedrooms for those people who just need to read ALL DAY LONG AND ALL NIGHT LONG TOO. Home to 250,000 volumes, the illustrious reading rooms, leather armchairs you can curl up in with a fat stack of books for the weekend or start your novel at the appointed desks where 250 novels are said to have been completed. The Gladstone is one of those places where you feel regal AF with its creepy Hogwartsian feel and Medieval aura.


Cover Image Via Twitter.