Jules Verne’s classic adventure paints a steam-powered portrait of a global circumnavigation that’s dazzlingly fast for its time (and romantically unhurried by modern standards). As the plot unfolds, a dour British gentleman, his French valet/sidekick, a rescued Indian love interest, and a Scotland Yard detective battle outsized obstacles as they make their way across continents (and dabble in a bit of time travel).
Consider a story that spans colonial New Zealand, interwar Belgium, 1970s California, 1990s London, a dystopian Korean metropolis, and post-apocalyptic Hawaii. In David Mitchell’s novel, time and place connect via an ingenious thread of reincarnated characters. This thrilling, unsettling tale has a simple act of kindness at its core.
British writer Richard Holmes travels through Europe retracing the paths of Romantic writers he meticulously chronicled in his academic career, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Wollstonecraft. This book beautifully unites memoir with callouts to nineteenth-century novels such as Treasure Island and Kidnapped.