bookblog 2022

Collette Reads Vol. 2

NicoleD v2
by Nicole Diebold

January 14, 2022

5 minute read

Books have an amazing ability to transport you anywhere – literally. Well, not literally; they’re not magic. But sometimes it feels that way. I believe it was Stephen King who said that “books are a uniquely portable magic.” And that’s just how it feels – like they “literally” can take you anywhere in the whole world. With the turn of a page, you can find yourself in your mind’s eye solving a mystery on the romantic streets of Paris, finding solemnity at a temple in India, in the thick of an old war, right on the battlefield, learning about humanitarian crises, the rise and fall of civilizations... Writers who move readers have that unique talent and ability to immerse the reader into the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes – of another place. Sometimes of another time.


During the quarantine in 2020, books were my escape. At a time that I couldn’t leave home, reading was an outlet – it was a passport to other worlds, to foreign locales – and now my bucket list of destinations I want (read: need) to visit is longer than ever. That’s the beauty of reading. You can be in lockdown and still feel like you’ve seen the world.


St. Augustine famously said: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Writers who capture the essence of a place… these are travellers. Readers can get lost in their worlds, but to travel is the great adventure and books that make you want to pack your bags and book a trip – those are good books. Those are writers who understand that their book is written because of the stamps in their passport and their ability to truly embrace their journey with all of their senses.


I’ve always loved that St. Augustine quote. As a writer and a traveller, it makes sense. To me, the world is a book – and every experience is part of our own unique story. Every time we go out into the world, we add to that story, we become something more. And yet… you don’t have to always go far to find those unparalleled experiences that fill our photo frames and albums – that spark joy in our hearts and awaken that part of us that identifies as: TRAVELER.


Something I really realized in the past year is that there is a lot of beauty to be found close to home. The world is always calling, and I can’t wait to cross so many international items off my list. But right now, there’s comfort in finding incredible experiences across the USA, where I live.


As the Collette staff got to work sharing their favourite travel reads recently, so many far-off fictional adventures, biographies, histories, memoirs and classics were enthusiastically mentioned. And in the mix were some gems that excite them for travel in the USA and I want to share those literary finds with you because I know that so many travellers are thinking about more domestically located trips right now.


So, here’s what some of my colleagues drummed up for Collette Reads, Vol. 2:


Vanderbilt by Anderson Cooper

“A complete history of the Vanderbilt family, and how their fabulous ‘Gilded Age’ wealth influenced the social and economic history of both New York City and the Newport RI.” – Marc P. (Tour Manager)


National Geographic: the National Parks: An Illustrated History

“My one quick book recommendation that my family loves is a National Parks hardcover coffee table book. It has stunning pictures, in depth detail about all of the US National Parks and really gets you excited about places to visit not too far from home.” – Julie K. (Partnership Specialist)


Off Season: Discovering America on Winter’s Shore by Ken McAlpine

“This story talks about the magic of visiting popular tourist destinations in a not so popular time of year and how beautiful the beaches are in the wintertime. The author visits many locations on the eastern seaboard and recalls his time with connecting with locals and understanding their daily struggles and life living year-round in a ‘tourist’ town.” – Michael M. (Senior Manager, Tour Delivery)


Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

“Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is the story of the 1893 World's Fair/Columbian Exhibition held in Chicago.  It’s just a great read about Chicago history as is Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – about a Chicago native son and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.” – Marc P. (Tour Manager)


A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

“Bill Bryson books are always great. He’s entertaining, funny, and gives great insight into the countries he writes about.” – Patricia G. (Product Manager)

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

“This popular novel takes place in Washington DC and the plot line focuses on the history and modern day practices of the freemasons. It’s awesome for any DC trip and my personal favourite Dan Brown book.” – Ariana K. (Product Design Specialist)


 Bar Harbour Babylon by Dan and Leslie Landrigan

“This is a fascinating history of the rich and infamous who summered in the exclusive enclaves in and around Bar Harbour, Maine, during the 19th and 20th centuries.” – Marc P. (Tour Manager).

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