The best books to make you laugh and love traveling

Deborah Serra Author Of 2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop
By Deborah Serra

Who am I?

I’m a traveler. For me, there’s nothing like that moment when your plane lands on foreign soil. I feel free when I’m somewhere I’ve never been, where I don’t speak the language, understand the menu, or know a single person. It is the ultimate sense of release. I’ve done a great deal of solo traveling, which I thoroughly enjoy, and fortunately for me, my family understands (or at least accepts). From the Congo to Xian to Paris, I’ve never seen enough. 


I wrote...

2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop

By Deborah Serra, Nancy Serra Greene,

Book cover of 2 Broads Abroad: Moms Fly the Coop

What is my book about?

When sisters, Deborah and Nancy, discovered that motherhood was a temp job they decided to run away from home. It happened right after the kids moved out, and Nancy’s husband found her weeping nostalgically in front of the acne wipes, while Deborah’s husband arrived home to learn their house was for sale. 2 Broads Abroad is a funny, irreverent, occasionally poignant, always enjoyable, travel tale of the sisters’ impulsive, and unexpectedly comic, road trip around Ireland.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

By Bill Bryson,

Book cover of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Why this book?

I bought this book 3 times. Bryson’s self-deprecating humor and vibrant descriptions of his trek along the Appalachian Trail with his friend are hilarious. I love a book that makes me laugh and also teaches me something new. I liked the book so much I lent it to my neighbor, and of course, never got it back. (Don’t lend your books.) So, I bought it again. I was carrying it around with me and I left it in a doctor’s office waiting room. I called them the next day. They said they didn’t see it. (Liars, every one of them.) So, the third time I bought it on audible. I still listen a bit now when I’m driving. It brings joy.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked A Walk in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Lost Continent" comes this humorous report on his walk along the Appalachian Trail. The Trail covers 14 states and over 2000 miles, and stretches along the east coast of America from Maine in the north to Georgia in the south. It is famous for being the longest continuous footpath in the world. It snakes through some of the wildest and most specactular landscapes in America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.


A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Book cover of A Year in Provence

Why this book?

This is a charming fish-out-of-water adventure. The author has a witty understated style. I enjoyed the tribulations and chaos as he found his way around rural France. The locals in this book felt authentic, which I certainly appreciated. Renovations are hard in a country you know, but this author found humor and understanding, as he floundered around trying to get things done. There’s quite a bit about food, which was entertaining, and is what I would expect in a book set in France. (Personally, I think Italy far outperforms the French when it comes to great food. Give me fresh pasta.) 

A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Year in Provence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A personal description of Provencal life as seen through the eyes of the author and his wife when they move into an old farmhouse at the foot of the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix. The bestselling work of non-fiction in paperback of 1991 in the UK.


World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

By Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever,

Book cover of World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

Why this book?

Okay, cards on the table, I cannot be trusted when recommending this book. I have learned more from Anthony Bourdain than from any other traveler, chef, citizen of the world. His open-minded approach to the world is contagious and inspiring. He lets his readers into the untraveled unknown corners of the planet and I’m grateful he shared his journey. I can recommend all of his books, his TV shows, and his essays. The world is sadder without him.

World Travel: An Irreverent Guide

By Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked World Travel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Terrific ... His love for his subjects - both the food and the cook - sings' Telegraph 'Christ, could Bourdain weave words ... the guy wrote like a poet' Guardian A celebration of the life and legacy of one of the most important food writers of all time - the inimitable Anthony Bourdain Anthony Bourdain saw more of the world than nearly anyone. His travels took him from his hometown of New York to a tribal longhouse in Borneo, from cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai to the stunning desert solitude of Oman's Empty Quarter - and many places beyond.…


My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

By Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella,

Book cover of My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

Why this book?

A memoir of clever and entertaining essays. The author takes us on a ride into the ups and downs of life, kids, pets, moms, shopping, and she gives us reasons to laugh at it all. This is an uplifting read and worth a spot on your nightstand. You can dip in and out of it when sleep eludes.

My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space: The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman

By Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The incomparable Lisa Scottoline, along with daughter Francesca, is back with more wild and wonderful wit and wisdom: My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space.

Critics and readers loved Lisa Scottoline's first collection of true-life stories, which only encouraged her—now she's back with these all-new, exciting adventures. She's farther down the road now, and the scenery has changed—ex-husbands Thing One and Thing Two are in her rear-view mirror, daughter Francesca has moved into an apartment, and Lisa's finding the silver lining in her empty nest, which has lots more room for her shoes. And some things have…


Under the Tuscan Sun

By Frances Mayes,

Book cover of Under the Tuscan Sun

Why this book?

This book by Frances Mayes is a stunning memoir of her personal journey in Tuscany. It’s about loving and feeling deeply connected to a place. Her writing is authentic and evocative. She describes her time in Italy with such devotion it borders on poetic, as she transports you into her home, her daily life, and her kitchen. Under The Tuscan Sun is a love letter to what is best about Italy. It is part personal journey of discovery, part travelogue, part history, and part cookbook: it’s the best of all those worlds. If you’re so inclined, then cook up a few of the recipes she recommends. This is the kind of book that makes you want to pack your suitcase. I challenge anyone to read this lovely memoir and not crave a bowl of gnocchi with a large glass of Chianti. If you can’t get away to Italy, then sit back in your chair at home and let Frances take you there.

Under the Tuscan Sun

By Frances Mayes,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Under the Tuscan Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Discover the New York Times bestseller that inspired the film. The perfect read for anyone seeking an escape to the Italian countryside.

When Frances Mayes - poet, gourmet cook and travel writer - buys an abandoned villa in Tuscany, she has no idea of the scale of the project she is embarking on.

In this enchanting memoir she takes the reader on a journey to restore a crumbling villa and build a new life in the Italian countryside, navigating hilarious cultural misunderstandings, legal frustrations and the challenges of renovating a house that seems determined to remain a ruin.

Filled with…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Provence, Tuscany, and women?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Provence, Tuscany, and women.

Provence Explore 15 books about Provence
Tuscany Explore 19 books about Tuscany
Women Explore 417 books about women

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools, Living the Dream, and Outliers if you like this list.