by Jordan, Bookseller

I can tell spring is coming or perhaps just a minute away. The days are longer. The sun is brighter and higher in the sky. The wind doesn't slice through eight layers of wool. So spring. Or as close as we come here in New England.

But just as the time to burst free from our winter cages of small apartments and layers of outerwear arrived, staying inside and wearing masks became the norm instead. So I am doing the responsible thing. I venture out to my porch and take the occasional quick walk - on high alert for how to avoid others - but otherwise I stay in and look at the "to read" pile I have never managed to get through (the peril of being a decade-long bookseller).

I have always escaped, traveled, and found solace in books, and why should now be any different? Anyone can dive into a new time and place whenever they want; that is the utter magic of books. And you don't need a travel memoir to do so, either.

In just a five-minute rummage of my shelves, I pulled together a stack of favorite doors. Doors to the entire world. Doors to worlds that have been, could have been, or might be. Doors that move and shift depending on the reader's moods, experiences, or desires.

And the very best thing about this kind traveling? I get to bring my favorite mug full of coffee.

Here we have (top to bottom):

The Dud Avocado

The Dud Avocado

1950s Paris and a young girl in a whirlwind. I found this in Daunt Books when I was backpacking across the UK two years ago. This is a terribly fun romp with the American Sally Jay Gorce through 1950s Paris. Think Breakfast at Tiffany's meets The Moveable Feast.
The Starlet and the Spy

The Starlet and the Spy

Marilyn Monroe goes to see the troops, and meets a South Korean spy with baggage.
Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver

Deep, deep Russian winter, and the hard, gritty promises (and deals) of real fairy tales.
My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer

A younger sister keeps murdering people. Drat. First page: Korede is cleaning up her younger sister's murder scene. Again. For the third time. What follows is a witty and bitingly deadpan story of the sisters' relationship, despite one of them having this pesky murder habit.
Spain in Our Hearts

Spain in Our Hearts

The war between the wars that changed so much.
The Bronze Horseman

The Bronze Horseman

Soviet Russia, WWII, and a young girl and a soldier in an epic love story.
The Poppy War

The Poppy War

China (with magic), and someone desperately hungry for power and control.
Exit West

Exit West

What do you do when you need to leave home? Step through that door there.
Artemis

Artemis

A heist on the moon? The best kind of heist. Jazz is just trying to get by any way she knows how, and that way evolves into a dangerous mission and a conspiracy made all the more complicated by the fact she lives on the Moon. Weir deftly adds scientific details but lets the mission drive the plot.
River of Teeth

River of Teeth

What if the U.S. imported hippos? We'd have awesome hippo wranglers, that's what.
Barbarian Days

Barbarian Days

A life recounted by waves, and the lessons that learning surf spots worldwide can impart. My favorite part of this book is how it unfolds. Finnegan tells his story through the surf spots he lived with, from Hawaii to the South Pacific, to Australia, South Africa, California, New York, and Portugal. He makes sense of his life through his understanding of the waves and the breaks. Fascinating, beautiful.
The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women

All those men in Tudor England? Someone birthed them: Here are the women. Norton does stellar work taking the information known about historical figures and parsing it into the roles available to women at the time, and the lives they made themselves. A few standout ladies who managed to be a part of the historical record serve as benchmarks of comparison, and intriguing windows into another world.
The Bedlam Stacks

The Bedlam Stacks

A 19th century South American adventure to steal trees, then things get weird. It's 1859 and Merrick Tremayne is called up from his crumbling country estate - despite his bad leg - to trek through dangerous Peru to steal quinine plants. Things don't happen according to plan and in fact get a bit surreal. This book is so delicately constructed and full of small intricacies that keep the feel of the story with you long afterward.
In Extremis

In Extremis

A life lived on the edge. War journalism is the saddest kind of travel.
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