Take a World Tour of Book Recommendations

Discover slick city breaks paired with the perfect literary accompaniment

By Google Arts & Culture


With its atmospheric old town, excellent food and vibrant nightlife, Barcelona is a great choice for a city break. Spend your days exploring the artworks of Park Güell and your nights eating tapas and sipping wine in the bars of the Gothic Quarter. 

The perfect book to accompany your Barcelona city break is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The author was born in Barcelona and grew up in the city so it’s no surprise he’s able to bring the atmosphere and history of the Catalan capital to life. 

Tokyo, Japan. (Moyan Brenn CC BY 2.0) (2014-11-25) by (Moyan Brenn CC BY 2.0)Museu do Amanhã


Tokyo is an incredibly evocative city with its own unique culture, aesthetics and atmosphere. The Japanese Capital has a choice of quirky shopping districts, a number of historic sites and more karaoke bars than you can shake a microphone at. You’ll also find outstanding restaurants, lively bars and some truly unique trends.  

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is set in 1960s Tokyo and offers a fascinating glimpse into the youth movements that dominated the decade and a rich depiction of life in the city. 

Brandenburg Gate (1966-05-01) by John WatermanGetty Images


Although it’s currently known for its uber-cool clubs and emerging tech scene, Berlin has experienced a huge amount of turmoil, upheaval and history over the last 100 years. Finding out a little more about some of these events will give you an even deeper  appreciation of the city. 

Stasiland by Anna Funder tells the stories of East German citizens caught behind the Berlin wall. 

New Orleans

One of the most vibrant cities in the US, New Orleans boasts great nightlife, fantastic music and mouth-watering Cajun food. Spend your days steaming on the Mississippi and your evenings discovering the atmospheric restaurants and bars of the French Quarter.  

If you’re planning a visit to the Big Easy, the best book for your break is A Confederacy of Dunces. Written by John Kennedy Toole, the book offers a rich depiction of New Orleans, its dialects and its characters.

Paris Essay (1946-02) by Edward ClarkLIFE Photo Collection


With over 30 million visitors a year, Paris is the most popular city break destination in the world. Tourists are drawn to Paris by its romantic reputation, excellent museums, beautiful streets and outstanding food - not to mention its iconic skyline. 

If you want to optimise your experience of the city, pack a copy of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Although not the most lighthearted book set in Paris, the epic tale will help to bring the city's history to life. 

Ny Public Library (1944-04) by Alfred EisenstaedtLIFE Photo Collection

Learn more about Victor Hugo, one of France's most famous authors, here.

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