Top 10 Books to Take You Elsewhere

“We lose ourselves in books. We find ourselves there, too”. Despite the various walks of life from which we come, we’ve found it to be true that we book-lovers are united under the surface by what we all long for: escapism. And while a temporary reprieve from reality may be a shared desire among humans (especially given current events), our particular route of choice is tried, true and always there for you: the sweet escape of reading.

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Join us in unreality with our top ten books to take you elsewhere:

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Set in the early part of the 20th Century in Montreal and New York, The Lonely Hearts Hotel is an unparalleled tale of pianos, invisible dance partners, chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, and brooding clowns. The Lonely Hearts Hotel will transport you back, between, and beneath (the weight of your heavy heart). Inhabit the minds of two young orphans and see life from a different time, place and headspace.


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Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson

Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively, without knowing who their biological parents are. With such a unique premise, getting lost in the undertones and overtones of the meaning of “family” is both effortless and consuming. Of all of the familial relationships you’ve seen explored in books, we’re sure that the ones in Perfect Little World will command your attention on a whole new level.


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The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

As the world spins madly on, The Fire by Night brings us in from the cold and stills us with the truth. To stay grounded in honesty, the fictional story takes place during the (unfortunately) real-life time of WWII. Just when you start to think you may be getting the full picture on the events that transpired—two overlooked characters arrive to shake up the common narrative. The perspective of two military nurses telling this tragically intricate story are two entirely new—and needed—sets of eyes worth seeing the past through.


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The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

When a book draws striking parallels between two seemingly contrasting worlds, we know there’s something worth learning from within its pages. Though we read to get away, knowing that we’ll be returning to the real world in due time makes us a little more inclined to approach it with renewed wisdom. Exploring the universalities of the human experience across the oceans that separate India and America, The Golden Son’s cultural immersion is anything but one-dimensional.


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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

25 years later, and still going strong; The Alchemist has staying power worth admiring. If you want to go elsewhere, Savvy Reader, do yourself a favor and go between the pages of a classic. The Alchemist tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. And unless that sounds like just another day in the life, this read’s setting and narrator offer you an opportunity to really go somewhere you haven’t before.


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What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

It’s no secret that What She Knew took over our adrenaline and has yet to give it back. If you’re truly looking for a long, unpredictable journey, then the twisted descent into the human psyche that is What She Knew is the trip for you. Getting wrapped up in the suspense of an abduction is our go-to when we want a surefire way to escape the world around us—and regardless of the setting in which you choose to devour this book, we can guarantee you’ll forget where you are once you’re plunged into its gripping mystery.


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A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

For more than twenty years, Christina Olson was the inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best-known American paintings of the twentieth century. You know the feeling of having your surroundings effortlessly fall away when you stand before an especially awe-inspiring painting? So do we; and given how compellingly A Piece of the World masters art on two fronts—through painting and writing—we’re sure that this story is a piece of the world you won’t want to give back.


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The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Falling in line with giving a voice to women’s experiences during WWII, The Orphan’s Tale is a powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II (that introduces us to two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival). You might be noticing a theme, here, with books that take place in WWII—and it’s for good reason. Historical fiction ties the line between reality and imagination in a way that takes us away while sending us somewhere important. What better way to immerse yourself elsewhere than by experiencing it through the varied eyes of unique and contrasting narrators?


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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Those who’ve read the first two books in this series will need no convincing when it comes to diving straight through the gates of fantasy and into the heart of King’s Cage. What better way to take a break from the outside world than by setting aside the time to tear through the series’ first two installments? Believe us, you won’t need much time at all to catch up, as you just won’t be able to pace yourself while blazing through the fantastically imagined world of the Red Queen series.


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A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison

Within a world desperate for more inclusiveness, we, as readers, can begin to do our part by seeking to understand as many of its cultures as we can. Travel may not be an option for all of us, but reading is! With a book set in Bangladesh telling a difficult story about a tragic accident involving the West and the Middle East, we found our compassion called to action as A Harvest of Thorns revealed to us yet another dimension of our role as characters in the larger picture of the world.

What’s your go-to book for a getaway, Savvy Readers? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader!


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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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