Books to transport you to different places and times

A selection of reads that will take you to different lands and time periods, all from the comfort of your favourite reading spot.

Books to transport you

Books have always had the power to take us to somewhere other than where we are, whether that's a fantasy land, outer space, or to a different time and place in history.

Now, perhaps more than ever, being able to "travel" via the medium of books is important. Here, the Penguin.co.uk team shares the books they read when they want to escape their surroundings. 


The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (2014)

The Book of Strange New Things made me realise I'd been reading the wrong books all my life. Not normally a big sci-fi fan, I picked this up after reading Under the Skin as I wanted to quickly duck into another of Faber's books, and tore through it.

Set on a newly-colonised planet, light years away from earth, with a pastor as its main protagonist, it sounds ridiculously mind-bending. And that's before I've mentioned the genderless aliens with no discernible facial features. But it's written so gently, that while it's about an improbable place and time, it never feels like you’re reading a writer's bad trip. It's sci-fi that's rooted in human existence and everything that encompasses, and it's a testament to Faber's writing ability that he can lull you into another world so far-fetched, yet make it seem like home.

Chosen by Donna Mackay

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (1996)

When I'm looking to go on journey from the comfort of my own home, George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones – the first book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series – is just the ticket. It's epic in every sense of the word: in the world building, the length (694 pages to be exact), and the unadulterated entertainment.

Set in an alternate universe but reminiscent of medieval England, I'm able to travel from the cold, harsh and desolate lands in the North of Westeros, down to the warmer climes of King's Landing, and then across The Narrow Sea to the immense continent of Essos. I encounter the different noble houses of the Seven Kingdoms, each with their own sayings – "Winter is coming" – folklores, and cultural practices. And I meet a colossal range of characters, all with different motivations and agendas - and not all of whom are virtuous.

In short, it's a breath-taking trip I advise everyone to go on.

Chosen by Imogen Rayfield

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