Summer holiday cancelled? Travel through the pages of these wanderlust books instead

Even with normal life slowly restarting, there's no denying that we're all still spending more time at home than we would ordinarily. And in light of the new quarantine rules, your holiday plans may have been put on hold for a while - so, if you're dreaming of the French Rivera or sangria on the beach, we've got the next best thing: reading about it. The power of a good book is a forced to be reckoned with - a novel offers the perfect form of escapism, while a non-fiction memoir can provide a broader narrative of real-life events and places.

They also have the ability to lift us out of our domestic settings and away from scrolling news headlines by providing us with an interest in the lives of characters and settings that surround them.

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Novelist E. M. Forster once famously described words as "the wine of life", and we couldn't agree more, because after all, books really are one of life's greatest pleasures.

So, if coronavirus cancellations have you feeling down, travel through the pages of these tomes and feel instantly transported to fresh new destinations that are a far cry from your current routines. You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections.

This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

'The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency' by Alexander McCall Smith, published by Little, Brown Book Group: GBP8.99, Waterstones

The first in line of an internationally bestselling series, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is set in Botswana and is a highly original "detective" novel with a unique setting and range of characters. The story follows Precious Ramotswe on her new business venture as Botswana's number one (and only) lady detective, and the vivid descriptions of Botswana means it becomes, in essence, another character.

A lovely read with a gentle pace that will transport you to a whole other world.

'Tender is the Night' by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published by Penguin: GBP6.49, Amazon

Opening on a scorching, sun-drenched beach in the French Riviera, Tender is the Night follows a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her blossoming friendship with a wealthy, older couple.

This acute social observation renders beautiful prose. A nostalgic tragedy that will stay with you way after you've put it down.

'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts, published by Abacus: GBP9.37, Blackwell's

A convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict, Lin, escapes imprisonment and flees to India.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the pair enter Bombay's hidden society and discover the people and places you cannot find elsewhere. Shantaram tells the story of Lin's tumultuous life in India as he searches for love and meaning. A masterpiece that is both jaw-dropping and gritty and has the pace of a thriller.

'Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail' by Cheryl Strayed, published by Atlantic Books: GBP7.37, WHSmith

In the wake of her mother's death and her own marriage breakdown, 22-year-old Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything.

Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the impulsive decision to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific crest trail. The story of her past unwinds as a counter-narrative to her blisters, sores and chunky backpack she names "monster". Strayed finds hope and comfort in nature and discovers the inner resources she didn't know existed.

This is a fascinating and hugely entertaining read that acts as a reminder that we can overcome adversity. And is bound to spark a travel bug from within you.

'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' by Taylor Jenkins, published by Simon & Schuster: GBP8.99, Waterstones

Prepare to find yourself in the deceptively glamorous world of Old Hollywood with this book.

Evelyn Hugo was a big star in the Fifties, and now, in her old age, she's ready to reveal the truth about her scandalous past. Monique, an unknown reporter, is chosen to share her story, and she quickly learns that Evelyn's past isn't quite as the tabloids suggested.

'Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country' by Bill Bryson, published by Black Swan: GBP8.19, WHSmith

Written by bestselling travel writer Bill Bryson, Down Under is a delightful performance of his adventures through Australia.

Combining humour, wonder and curiosity, along with its depiction of cheerful Aussies, these sunshine-filled pages will transport you to a place far beyond your sofa, and you'll practically feel the heat on your face.

'The Ripening Seed' by Colette, published by Penguin: GBP3.89, Amazon

Phil and Vinca have spent endless summer holidays in Brittany with their respective families - enjoying sunny days, sandy toes and the sea. But now they are teenagers, they can neither slip back into their childish tendencies nor find a new relationship.

This coming-of-age novel captures precious and painful moments of when the onslaught of desire replaces childhood naivety, as well as frequent trips abroad. A delight.

'The Lemon Grove' by Helen Walsh, published by Headline Publishing Group: GBP8.49, Amazon

Set in the Mallorcan holiday resort of Deia, where each summer Jenn and her husband Greg reside, but this year the arrival of Emma, Jenn's stepdaughter, and her new boyfriend, Nathan, threaten the equilibrium.

This is an explosive and intelligent novel that tells the story of a marriage that is ripped apart by desire and obsession.

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