The Best Honeymoon Destinations for Book Nerds

Wedding season is on the horizon, and with it comes some amazing honeymoon travel opportunities. In the quest to find the perfect spot to relax after the months of planning, family time, and the ceremony itself, consider hitting the country that best suits your literary tastes. Both coasts of the U.S. boast their own wonderful literary histories, or well read and adventurous couples can branch out into more far reaching countries, like Japan or Cuba, to find their literary loves. Of course, there are certain distant havens for the written word, like London and Paris, that should not be overlooked. Wherever you and your beloved decide to go, be sure to bring plenty of books for your downtime.

Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. is a gorgeous city with amazing literary offerings. The Library of Congress can be an almost full day adventure for any book lover, with exhibits that highlight everything from historical maps to the origins of jazz. True must-sees include the Thomas Jefferson Collection, holding many of the actual books read by the third President. And along the National Mall is the Folger Shakespeare Library, home to one of the few copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio. The Library regularly hosts productions of Shakespeare’s plays, poetry readings, and exhibits relevant to Shakespeare’s world. Visit the city in spring for the beauty and romance of the cherry blossoms, and stay for the fantastic history and literary sights.

England’s literary bona fides are unending and make it a dream honeymoon destination. Take in one of Shakespeare’s romances at The Globe Theater, walk the moors so loved by the Brontë sisters, sit in the village of Haworth at dusk for an otherworldly view of nature. Take an afternoon turn in the gardens of Jane Austen’s house in Hampshire while chatting about the love affair between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Maybe you want to check out a tour of the Harry Potter sets; they were good enough for the royals to visit. England is an amazing country, full of more literary sites and romantic day trips than could ever be listed in one place.

Northern California
Stay at the Hotel Boheme, visit Chinatown and the Chinese Historical Society to relive the worlds of Amy Tan’s novels, and spend a day at The Beat Museum to immerse yourself in the writing of the Beat Generation. Travel farther down the coast that inspired so many writers and photographers, and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean before a stop in Salinas and the National Steinbeck Center. The dramatic contrast of the ocean and the redwood forest, the fertile valleys and the busy cities, are as interesting as any other characters in East of Eden, and time spent here won’t soon be forgotten. Whether you find the beaches or the forests, the cities or the open roads, California has a stop — and an author — for every taste.

Even without its astounding literary connections, the City of Lights can be the honeymoon of a lifetime. Make a reservation at Le Procope to eat like Victor Hugo, or drink 40 cups of coffee like Voltaire at cafés around town. A cemetery might not seem like a romantic stop, but Père Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world, with residents including Oscar Wilde, Honoré de Balzac, Colette, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and Richard Wright, where a true book-loving couple will be glad to pay their respects. Or, if graveyards aren’t your thing, step into the 1920s and get a drink in the same speakeasy where Hemingway met F. Scott Fitzgerald in April 1925; Le Rosebud is literary destination like no other. From your perch atop the Eiffel Tower or at a sidewalk café table, drink in the city that was home and muse to centuries of revolutionary writers.

Now that Americans can travel to Cuba to sightsee, the Hemingway House in San Francisco de Paula should be at the top of book lovers’ travel lists. Just outside of Havana you’ll find Finca Vigía, where Hemingway wrote his classics For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, and began A Moveable Feast. The house is on both the World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 Most Endangered sites and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Places, so it is very much worth the visit. Nearby, visitors can see the National Museum of Fine Arts, the mosaic art at Fusterlandia, and grab something to eat in Old Havana. For a unique adventure in a country few have vacationed to, book nerds can immerse themselves in a culture we’ve only read about in books like Dreaming in Cuban.

A step outside of Western culture may bring book nerd lovers to Japan. The country is currently home to Kenzaburo Oe, Haruki Murakami, and Natsuo Kirino, among others, but these literary heavy hitters are just part of a long literary tradition. Plan your trip using this list of cities where famous Japanese stories take place, find a Tokyo jazz bar where you can whip out your favorite Murakami novel, and carry a tour books like Lonely Planet Japan to ensure you hit all the major points of interest. To see Western lit through an Eastern lens, check out a themed night at a restaurant, where they often take on classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

From Barnes and Noble Reads

The Gilmore Girls are Back! 5 New Books That Should Be On Rory’s List

This fall marks the 15th anniversary of the first episode of Gilmore Girls, and the kickoff of the cult following that developed soon after. As a true Gilmore Girls aficionado, it’s hard not to wonder what Rory Gilmore would be reading today. Based on the massive reading list she accumulated over the course of the show’s seven seasons, here are some 2015 books I bet you’d find on Rory’s bedside table, off in her little corner of the world.

Hausfrau, by Jill Alexander Essbaum
Because she mentioned Anna Karenina in her graduation speech, referenced Daisy Miller, and was seen reading The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950–1962, it’s easy to assume Rory would be one of the early lovers of Jill Alexander Essbaum’s carefully crafted, emotional, and tragic debut novel. Each turn of Anna’s sad, frustrating, sexual, and lost life is one that keeps readers up at night—hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, by Jimmy Carter
On Rory’s last day before she began at Yale, she and Lorelei spent the evening trapped in Emily’s spare room watching ballroom dancing. To make light of a tough spot, the two traded Jimmy Carter jokes. Given this, and Rory’s passion for all things politics, you can be sure she’d read this memoir, along with other books from former President Carter, while in the White House Press Room or on the 2016 campaign trail. Carter’s unflinching and emotional look at his personal life and tireless activism make for an inspiring read during these highly volatile times.

The Art of Memoirby Mary Karr
Since Rory wanted to become a journalist, was an English major in college, and was a fan of craft books by Henry JamesAmy Tan, and Joan Didion, it isn’t a stretch to picture a crisp copy of Mary’s Karr’s latest on her table, propped up against an oversized cup of coffee. Karr, the author of The Liars’ Club, Lit, and Cherry, wraps her writing, teaching, and diverse life experience up into an insightful guide to writing; fans also get some added behind the scenes details into Karr’s life.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan
It’s nice to imagine that later in life Rory became friends with her exes Jess and Logan, and they all happily traded books back and forth. William Finnegan’s surfing memoir is reminiscent of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and Among the Thugs, both books Rory shared with her old boyfriends. In Barbarian Days, Finnegan provides readers with an opportunity to travel the Pacific, ride insane waves, stare down malaria, and become accustomed to hitherto unseen social customs with humor and a 1960s eye.

Notes on the Assemblage, by Juan Felipe Herrera
Not to be left out of current artistic events, Rory would have been an early supporter of Juan Felipe Herrera and his appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate. After all, Lorelei was a fan of Billy Collins, and Rory was known to read Walt WhitmanEmily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Herrera’s newest collection, with its socially conscious and welcoming themes, would be a no questions asked addition to her overflowing bookshelves. As the first Latino Poet Laureate, and one who began life as the son of a migrant family, Herrera writes poetry that’s as wise as it is encouraging—something everyone who hopes to achieve more should enjoy.

 What books do you think belong on Rory Gilmore’s bookshelf?