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Things to do in Singapore if you can't travel, PART I: BOOKS!

Ahh travel. Just a distant dream. We are all reeling from the effects of the memories or lack of that was the end of 2020 and it really does feel like 2021 has yet to begin. Feeling a little withdrawal from the privilege of travel and everything good that it brings? It looks like we will be bunkering down for the foreseeable future, so we have been thinking hard about what travel really does for our state of mind.

With this series, we hope to bring you at least a sliver of that – a series of articles and recommendations to clear your mind, transport you to far-flung lands and enable you to conceive greater ideas, harness that creative energy and feel renewed.

First on our list are 5 books which we are sure will whisk you away to foreign lands, all in the comfort of your bed.

Dive in, discover, enjoy the journey, and let us know what your favourites are!

  1. Stories of Hawaii by Jack London

Escape to: Islands, Sun, Sand and Sea

Stories of Hawaii is a collection of writings London penned during three long stays in the Hawaiian islands from 1907 to 1916—which he undoubtedly loved as much as he did the Yukon territory he made famous in novels like The Call of the Wild and White Fang. Through stories both heartwarming and tragic and with names like “On the Makaloa Mat,” “The Tears of the Ah Kim” and “The Bones of Kahekili,” you are bound to find a gallery of diverse characters, native and out-of-place, and of how the human soul and the islands have changed over time. London’s prose is as always incredibly beautiful and does wonders to take you away on an exotic journey to the Hawaiian plains.   

 

  1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Escape to: India and all its colour

Shantaram is set in the underbelly of India, where an escaped convict from Australia, Lin, hides out and desperately navigates. He searches for love while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, simultaneously working for the Bombay mafia. Together with his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men who seek in this amazing place what they cannot find elsewhere. This is a novel with boundless lessons about the human experience and is by any measure a classic for our times.

 

  1. The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

Escape to: The little travelled lands between China and Europe

For centuries, fortune was to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to prospectors in search of adventures and riches. Immerse yourself in epic history along the Silk Roads, where trade blossomed within a melting pot of culture and ideas.  A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is an exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and now driving a new world order. You are bound to be swept away by this one and end up being a little smarter about world affairs.

 

  1. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Escape to: Paris

A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s posthumous memoir about a time in his life spent in Paris with his wife, “when we were very poor and very happy.” Reminisce, or if you haven’t already been to Paris, about the food and drink at the brasseries like Les Cloiserie des Lilas, Café du Dôme and Lipp; the Saint-Cloud race track; autumn in the Luxembourg Gardens; the market street of Rue Mouffetard where you can almost taste the mandarin oranges and chestnuts he writes about. So poignantly as he puts, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” We highly recommend a French 75 to go along with this one.

 

  1. Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi

Escape to: Seriously indescribable. Give the recipes a shot and let us know what you think.

We couldn’t complete this list without a cookbook. This is our favourite out of the large lot we have. Yotam Ottolenghi is eponymous with London restaurants and modern middle-eastern cuisine and Plenty loads your arsenal with a collection of 120 vegetarian recipes featuring out of the world flavors and fresh combinations that will delight readers and eaters looking for a spanking new take on vegetables. Ottolenghi’s inspiration comes from his Mediterranean background and his unapologetic love of vegetables. His approach to vegetable dishes is wholly original, based on seasonality and drawn from the diverse food cultures represented in London. The photos in this book are visually stunning and provide a mark for you to meet.