Written by Alexandria Gonzales

Person reading a book on a plane next to a window


If you’re anything like us, you  haven’t been out of the house for a long time. While it is unfortunate we can’t travel over the holiday season, here are some books that you can read to take a vacation right from your home. 

Volcanoes, Palm Tree, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai’i

by Liz Prato (Overcup Press, 2019) 

Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai'i by Liz Prato book cover

Take a trip to Hawai’i with this essay collection exploring what it means to be a white tourist in a seemingly paradisiacal land that has been formed, and largely destroyed, by white outsiders. Hawaiian history, pop culture, and contemporary affairs are woven with personal narrative in fifteen essays that examine how the touristic ideal of Hawai‘i came to be, and what it “is,” at its core. Includes Da Kine sections so you can discover the culture and history of Hawai’i through the Hawaiian language and local slang. The book is a highly readable hybrid of the in-depth exploration of narrative journalism combined with the through-line of memoir.  


Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life

by Ruby McConnell (Overcup Press, 2020) 

Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life by Ruby McConnell book cover

Or stay in the lower 48 with another Overcup memoir-in-essays located in the Pacific Northwest that starts with the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. St. Helens inMay of 1980. Poetic and urgent, these essays get to the heart of our environmental crisis through reflection and observation, skillfully weaving together McConnell’s scientific background and her connection with the people and places of the Pacific Northwest. The land – its contours and movements – is a central force through all of these essays.


Iditarod Nights

by Cindy Hiday (Ooligan Press, 2020) 

Iditarod Nights by  Cindy Hiday book cover

Switch to fiction with Iditarod Nights, a romance that takes place in the Alaskan wilderness. Claire Stanfield escapes to Alaska and immerses herself in the world of dog sledding. Dillon Cord became a police officer to serve his community, but he moves to Nome in the wake of a life-altering incident. For both, the Iditarod—the toughest sled dog race in the world—offers a chance for forgiveness, redemption, and healing.



A Small Crowd of Strangers

by Joanna Rose (Forest Avenue Press, 2020) 

A Small Crowd of Strangers by Joanna Rose book cover

Wander across the country with Pattianne Anthony in this part love story, part slightly sideways spiritual journey. A librarian from New Jersey ends up in a convenience store on Vancouver Island in the middle of the night because she married the wrong man. She gets a job in a New Age bookstore, wanders toward Buddhism without realizing it, and acquires a dog. Things get complicated after that. Pattianne Anthony is less a thinker than a dreamer, and she finds out the hard way that she doesn't want a husband, much less a baby, and that getting out of a marriage is a lot harder than getting into it, especially when the landscape of the west becomes the voice of reason.


The Tall Trees of Portland

by Matt Wagner (Overcup Press, 2014) 

The Tall Trees of Portland by Matt Wagner book cover

Discover Portland through the eyes of the contemporary art world. Featuring work from 40 Portland-based artists alongside their handwritten questionnaires about some of their favorite spots in the city, Wagner paints a portrait of a vibrant art scene that nurtures originality and independence in a way few other US cities do. Some of the artists’ work highlighted in this book will be familiar to Portlanders from the Forest for the Trees mural project with murals throughout the city.


Bonus: The Field Guide to Drinking in America: A Traveler’s Guide to State Liquor Laws

by Niki Ganong (Overcup Press, 2015) 

The Field Guide to Drinking in America by Niki Ganong cover imageWith so many of us imbibing at home through these COVID-19 times, it’s easy to forget that America's alcohol laws are confusing. What's true for one state is rarely true for its neighbor. Pick up a copy of The Field Guide to Drinking in America to ride shotgun with your armchair travels. 

We hope you check out some of these books so you can take a trip to another place from your living room. After all, books are cheaper than plane tickets. Tag us on Instagram with the hashtag #OvercupCOVIDTravelReads so we can see what books you are reading to get away. 

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