Monday, April 27, 2020

5 Books that will Take You Around the World

To celebrate World Book Day on 23 April 2020, you can travel in the time of quarantine and social distancing – through the delights of storytelling. So whether you are on a couch, window seat or at the kitchen table, get ready to go on an adventure through books and technology as Agoda introduces five book trails to inspire readers to kick off their (virtual) journey.

1. Murder on the Orient Express (Harper Collins)
Author: Agatha Christie
Destination: Turkey
“It would be a pity to pass through (Istanbul), — comme ça.” He snapped his fingers descriptively. “Nothing presses—I shall remain there as a tourist for a few days.”

After solving his latest case, detective Hercule Poirot planned to spend a few days in Istanbul as a tourist. With its East meets West location, visitors can immerse themselves in its long history dating back to the Roman empire. Istanbul is undoubtedly rich with culture, unique arts, and remarkable architectural sites. If the book inspired you to get to know more about Istanbul, take a look at the Hagia Sophia, once an Orthodox Church and Ottoman Mosque.

For art enthusiasts, museums in Istanbul are now offering digital exhibitions including Pera Museum which includes “Istanbul: The City of Dreams” and ““Language of the Wall,” one of the most comprehensive exhibitions on graffiti in the world. If you are looking for modern art, “Artists in Their Time” at Istanbul Modern is just a few clicks away. The exhibition suggests a conceptual field for examining and reconciling the links between an artist’s time and societal, cultural, natural and universal time.

2. The Witches (Penguin Random House)
Author: Roald Dahl
Destination: Norway
“The Norwegians know all about witches, for Norway, with its black forests and icy mountains, is where the first witches come from.”

Roald Dahl’s children fantasy, The Witches, will take you all the way to Norway in your imagination to explore where witches and witch hunters originated. With its mountain and fjords, long summer days and dark winter nights, Norway would cast a spell on you. While you can only dream about skiing through the forests and toboggan runs in the winter, a sunny trip to visit museums historical sites isn’t so far away. Reignite your adventurous spirit, come aboard the Polar Exploration Museum and view its centerpiece – the world´s strongest wooden ship – the polar ship Fram, which you can now explore online.

Recognizing the healing power of art in a time like this, Henie Onstad Art Center opens its digital door to carefully curated artistic programs. Henie Onstad Art Channel will stream hidden gems from the archive, showcase world class art pieces, as well as concerts and music performances.

3. Little Women (Penguin Classics)
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Destination: France
“Rainy days I spend in the Louvre, reveling in pictures. …. Then the Bois and Champs Elysees are tres magnifique…. We often walk in the Tuileries Gardens, for they are lovely, though the antique Luxembourg Gardens suit me better”

As the March sisters set off on their journeys, follow Amy on her European tour to Paris. Paris evokes a sense of glamour, sophisticated art, high fashion, and romance. It promises exciting sightseeing opportunities and plenty of activities for travelers – without even having to leave home. This city of art and culture is living up to its reputation, providing a chance to step back in time and immerse yourself in the grandeur of Parisian parties and world-class opera as Paris Opera screens its performances online for free. Moreover, Le Louvre, home to thousands of masterpieces, now grants virtual visits to its exhibition rooms and galleries to take time contemplating the arts along the beautiful façades of the Louvre. Spice up your virtual experience by visiting the Paris Catacombs. This underground tunnel in Paris holds the remains of more than six million people since the eighteenth century.

4. China Rich Girlfriend (Penguin Random House)
Author: Kevin Kwan
Destination: China
“Shanghai was a vast, sprawling megalopolis on the banks of the Huangpu River, the “Paris of the East,” where hyperbole-defying skyscrapers vied for attention with stately early-twentieth-century European façades.”

Set in the iconic city of Shanghai, the sequel of Crazy Rich Asians will inspire an ultimate luxury trip. This metropolis city is filled with modern infrastructures, array of shops, nightlife, and decadence against the backdrop of art deco and old Chinese buildings. If escaping to Shanghai through the pages of China Rich Girlfriend isn’t enough, take a virtual stroll along the Bund where skyscrapers and majestic heritage buildings stand proud on each side of the river. Nanjing, the main pedestrian shopping street stretches for five kilometers.

If you want to learn more about China, Harvard University and Tsinghua University are offering free online courses from language to culture and history. In addition, you can get a virtual experience at the grand Palace Museum in Beijing, where you can browse through various areas and exhibitions including Palace of Longevity and Health, and Garden of Compassion and Tranquility. Each area comes with its own soundtrack to transport you to the long history of China.

5. Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony (Penguin Group)
Author: Eoin Colfer
Destination: Taiwan
“The Lexus entered the Xinyi district, and Taipei 101 rose from the cityscape like a giant bamboo shoot. The buildings around it seemed to shrink back in awe”

A teenage genius and criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II and his friends set off on a journey to Taiwan to discover the secret of demons, fairies, and the fantasy world. If Artemis Fowl gives you an appetite for all things Taiwan, check out the National Palace Museum with its VR experience allowing you to visit the museum anytime and anywhere. Observe and learn about the national artifacts by following the curated routes such as Treasure Hunting. Chimei Museum in Tainan also offers virtual tours of wide collections of Western art, musical instruments, weaponry and natural history.

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