2.7: The Five Books You Meet Abroad!
Happy 2017 (yes, I’m still riding the New Year’s high. Yes, I know we’re basically in February). I still feel fired up from all of the planning I did in the last week of, and I’m still SUPER invigorated by the great convos I had with my mentees over the break. I made a point to meet with several young women (journos, recent or soon-to-be graduates) just to catch up and talk all things 2017. While meeting with the brilliant journalist and Tufts athlete Ellexa Thomas and hearing about her upcoming study abroad trip to Italy, I knew I had to do an episode about the books you meet while studying abroad, complete with book recommendations! I believe that studying abroad is the perfect opportunity to expand your mind through literature.
Being out of your element is a great way to establish new habits and inject the habit of reading into a chaotic and adventurous experience like studying abroad.
Today, a few touches on an iPhone can bring an entire world of reading to your fingertips via apps like Kindle. Even better, pop by a library or local bookstore before you leave to grab a paperback of an exciting title. Trust me, there will be a moment when you’ll want to kick back with a physical book, instead of staring at yet another screen. So, in honor of Ellexa and folks going on vacation, studying abroad, or just wanting to make the most of downtime while traveling from point A to B, here are the 5 books you meet abroad!
The Five Books You Meet Abroad
Good Fiction. This is a great piece of escapist lit, the book that you pick up and it makes time go by quickly. This book should be freeing, a chance to get into the mind of another person. I recommend “The Circle” by David Eggers, a tech thriller that hits too close to home when it comes to the Internet of Things in a “fictional” world where tech companies monitor, measure..and even control our behaviors and values. (#Protip: I did an epi all about “The Circle!” Listen here.) Another strong novel to “meet” abroad is “Land of Love and Drowning” by Tiphanie Yanique, set in the US Virgin Islands and spanning nearly a century in a family as the members grow together and fall apart.
Personal Development. To “meet’ this book abroad, pick a title that’s written by a founder or professional you’re interested in. Think of a few companies you admire (Amazon? Google? KIND bars?), and dig into their processes. A lot of large companies understand the importance of storytelling, so there should be something written about a company that’s been created in the last 30+ years. For this title, I recommend “What I Know for Sure” by Oprah. Reading the collection of columns she’s written in “O” magazine was very affirming. Of course, I did a podcast episode about the book.
Good Nonfiction. Make this book count! When you put this title down, you want to be armed with more information on something you care about. Whether it’s sports, religion, investment banking or history, find an author or title that really understands the context and history of a zeitgeist or industry. I read Aliza Licht’s “Leave Your Mark.”Brandi Kellam at NBC News and I chatted about this book on a previous episode on this podcast, focusing on how Aliza emphasizes being an effective communicator, and branding yourself based on hard work instead of the perception of hard work.
Good Lit You’ve Been Meaning To Get Around To. You see everyone reading this title, or it’s been on your “read next” list for way too long. The purpose of this book is to finish something you’ve been thinking about. Maybe it’s even popped up in your Amazon “Suggested Purchases” list! It used to be “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and did an epi about it. But my next book on this list is “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver. My high school Literature teacher told me to read it nearly a decade ago, and i will be reading it this year, en route to an amazing place...keep reading to find out where ;)
A Book That Honors Where You Are. Duh! What’s the purpose of being somewhere new, unique, adventurous and not digging into that space? This is a very authentic and personal way to root yourself into a culture, history and moment. Every country and culture has noteworthy and famous authors--do a bit of research, find an author, and pick up their latest title. Who is the literary darling of where you are? authors. Are there any authors from the area you’ll be visiting? See what the latest book is by the community darling. That’s an authentic and personal way to root yourself where you are.I'm reading “A House in Bali” by Colin McPhee, because in two weeks, I’ll be going to BALI for 7 days with TRAVEL NOIRE!
Rush an I with the books we want to read if we want our brains to study abroad: “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead--it’s very popular, it’s alt historical fiction where they imagine underground railroad as a literal train. For Brionna, it’s “Too Big To Fail”by Andrew Ross Sorkin. It’s one of the first free NYC books I scooped up in this city. I know the story, but i’ve never read the story for myself.
What are your reading? Any books you’d recommend for people going abroad?