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11 New Books to Read During Winter Travel Delays (2017)

Anticipating lengthy holiday or winter-weather travel delays? Then you should have some exciting titles on hand to make long waits fly by.

New Books to Read This Winter

Here are some of the best new books to read this travel season, whether you’re a paperback person or e-book addict.

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Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng


[st_content_ad]A New York Times bestseller from the author of the wildly popular Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng’s new novel Little Fires Everywhere tells the tale of a suburban family, a Chinese immigrant mother, and a custody battle that divides an entire town.

What People Are Saying: “Witnessing these two families as they commingle and clash is an utterly engrossing, often heartbreaking, deeply empathetic experience, not unlike watching a neighbor’s house burn.” –The New York Times

“I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I’ve read this year.”—John Green

Available on Amazon.

The Cuban Affair: a Novel, Nelson DeMille

At the peak of the Cuban Thaw talks between Havana and Washington, D.C., a cash-strapped war veteran in Key West agrees to sail a Cuban-American exile and his granddaughter back to the island. They aim to retrieve the millions he hid during Castro’s revolution—but the stakes are as high as the reward.

What People Are Saying:The Cuban Affair offers romance, adventure and an astute and amusing look at today’s Cuban communist police state.” –The Washington Times

Available on Amazon.

City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty

Looking for a page-turning trilogy of books to read? The first of three upcoming novels, City of Brass takes readers to 18th-century Cairo and beyond, where a con woman’s faux healing and palm-reading powers send her on a perilous journey to a fantasy world.

What People Are Saying: “An extravagant feast of a book—spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable.” – National Book Award Finalist Laini Taylor

Available on Amazon.

Vacationland, John Hodgman

Former Daily Show comedian John Hodgman takes readers on a lighthearted and self-deprecating journey of laughs through the foothills of Western Massachusetts where he grew up, along the rugged coastlines of rural Maine where he vacationed, and to the corners of his mind to ponder middle age and life’s oddities.

What People Are Saying: “Sharp, silly, and sensitive, Vacationland is a literary selfie of a concerned citizen storyteller—one in which the oldest slice of the United States does a little inelegant photobombing.” —NPR 

Available on Amazon.

The Power, Naomi Alderman

The winner of the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, The Power is a timely dystopian story about teenage girls who suddenly acquire the ability to produce electrical charges, turning the tables on young men who must now heed warnings to protect themselves.

What People Are Saying: The Power is our era’s The Handmaid’s Tale.” – The Washington Post

Available on Amazon.

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The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, Philip Pullman


Long after writing The Golden Compass and its two accompanying His Dark Materials installments, Philip Pullman is again getting rave reviews for a new companion trilogy of fantasy novels: The Book of Dust. The first installment, La Belle Sauvage, suits young adults and older ones alike with tales of good and evil that incorporate witches, daemons, prophecies, and the aurora borealis.

What People Are Saying: “Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them.” —The Washington Post

Available on Amazon.

One Station Away, Olaf Olafsson

Icelandic author Olaf Olafsson’s newest novel binds the stories of three women—a mother, a former lover, and a comatose patient—through the New York neurologist they all influence. The suspenseful drama is both a family tale and a love story about life and death, making it a universal page-turner.

What People Are Saying: “A remarkably tender, touching exploration of a man’s emotional journey to reconcile the past with the present.” —Booklist

Available on Amazon.

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In the Midst of Winter, Isabel Allende

Travel from modern-day New York to 70s-era Chile and Brazil in this love story between an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant and an American human rights lawyer. Each are challenged with helping the other through the winters of their lives.

What People Are Saying: “Passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics.” –The Washington Post

Available on Amazon.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories, Tom Hanks


Yes, that Tom Hanks. Decide if the Oscar winner is as talented a writer as he is an actor by reading his first book: a collection of 17 short stories all involving antique typewriters—which Hanks avidly collects.

What People Are Saying: “Even when Hanks writes about somber subjects like the durable distress of combat or the high stakes for immigrants fleeing persecution, he finds a sweet spot.”—NPR

Available on Amazon.

Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan

From the Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad comes a historical fiction thriller about the World War II-era women who took on dangerous jobs like the ones in Brooklyn’s Naval Yard, where Anna, the first female ship diver, is also struggling to uncover her absent father’s complicated past.

What People Are Saying: “Egan’s first foray into historical fiction makes you forget you’re reading historical fiction at all.” —Elle

Available on Amazon.

Reactions: An Illustrated Exploration of Elements, Molecules, and Change in the Universe; Theodore Gray

Like pictures and science, or have a kid who does? Reactions follows Gray’s The Elements and Molecules as a scientific and photographic exploration of the universe, organized by type of reactions including “Fantastic Reactions and Where to Find Them,” and “The Need for Speed”—which include reactions of ignition, weather, and fire.

What People Are Saying: “Gray’s enthusiasm shines in Reactions … The text is peppered with dry asides, and a grumpy disdain for anything unscientific.”—

Available on Amazon.

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Associate Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

Travel Motto: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window, of course."

Email Shannon at

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