This fun tool will give you a book recommendation about your next travel destination

Reading the City book recommendation tool
Photo: Pauline Loroy, Unsplash

Ditch your travel guide and grab a book instead – ‘Reading the City’ tool suggests fiction and nonfiction book recommendations set in specific cities that most accurately convey their unique atmosphere.

Reading the City is a fun tool that will recommend a book to read that will help you gain some more knowledge about your next destination that guidebooks can’t.

All you have to do is scroll down the website and click on a city name of choice, and voilà!

Each title is accompanied by a map of the locations mentioned in that book, so that while exploring visitors can see the places they have read about and see the city through the characters’ eyes.

If the book does not reveal very specific information about a certain location, estimates are made based on visual descriptions of the place.

The project is an incredibly personal one – all of the books are carefully handpicked by the founder of ‘Reading the City’ Julia Feld herself.

“I try to pick stories that are deeply connected to that specific city,” she reveals in an interview with CityLab, also adding that before recommending them on her website, Feld personally reads all books in question.

The inspiration behind the project came from her father, Gabriel Feld, who gave guest lectures in universities all around the world on how to “read” a city using maps.

Essentially, Mr. Feld’s idea was that even if you did not know a city, “you could use a map to tell a story of that city’s development, and you can look at maps over time to see who owned the narrative of that city.”

Reading the City book recommendation tool - front page
A screenshot of a front page of ‘Reading the City’ book recommendation tool

Literature recommendations will give you what travel guides lack – the genuine essence of the city, its vibe, its atmosphere, its people and its energy. They will shed new light, give deeper understanding, but – above all – they will make you fall in love with the city the way only books can.

The project is still in the early stages of its development. As of right now, it includes seven cities (such as Berlin, Naples, Johannesburg).

The readers, however, are encouraged to send in their own book recommendations for both big and small cities to keep the website developing.

Want some more bookish inspiration? Make sure to check out the ultimate holiday reads by their location and a booklover’s guide to iconic literary places.

⇢ Reading the City

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