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Books that Transport Us: Nancy Perot & Interabang’s Reading List

In a time when travel seems impossible for now, the Indagare community has turned to reading to be transported to different worlds. Wondering what to read next? We asked Indagare member Nancy Perot, owner of Interabang Books, which she opened in Dallas in 2017 for some recommendations. “Although we’re still ‘sheltering in place’ and longing for the days of easier travel and adventure, books can allow our imaginations to soar,” she says.

Here, she and Interabang’s floor manager Brian Weiskopf are sharing the books they believe will “satisfy your wanderlust while temporarily grounded. We hope you will find some good escapes!”

Related: Indagare’s Guide to Staying at Home

Little, by Edward Carey

“This is a novelization of the life of Madame Tussaud, which was one of hardship and, ultimately, triumph. Orphaned at an early age, she learned the craft of wax modeling from a doctor who made anatomical models as teaching aids. In time, she became the favorite, and the art instructor of the sister of Louis XVI. She barely survived the French Revolution and the subsequent Reign of Terror. Though physically diminutive, her courage and pluck, while confronting adversity from numerous fronts, provide her stature and gravity. The illustrations by the author add a note of whimsy and humor to the tale.”

A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles

“Count Rostov—poet, aristocrat, bon vivant—is sentenced to live out the rest of his life in The Metropol, the grand hotel near the Kremlin, after the Bolsheviks come to power in Russia. Instead of wasting away bemoaning his fate, he builds a life for himself and for the young girl he adopts, left behind in the hotel by her revolutionary parents. A creature of habit, and exhibiting an equanimity almost superhuman, he becomes beloved by the hotel employees and finds a way to court a ballerina from the Bolshoi. A romantic and beautifully told novel that rivals Casablanca.”

The Unseen, by Roy Jacobsen

The Unseen will validate your belief in the power of stories to transport and transform us. With rich detail and simple yet exquisite prose, Jacobsen’s novel depicts life on a tiny Norwegian island inhabited by only one family—the Barrøys—who for centuries have made the island their home, and the sea their life. The book opens with the christening of three-year-old Ingrid Barrøy and follows her into adulthood as she becomes a woman and mother, responsible for her family’s livelihood and continued survival on Barrøy Island. Jacobsen makes you feel the intensity of the life and death struggle that the Barrøys confront in fulfilling their sea-bound legacy.

The Splendid and the Vile, by Erik Larson

“By the first two weeks of Winston Churchill’s becoming prime minister in May 1940, he was evacuating thousands of soldiers from Dunkirk. By the end of his first 12 months, over 45,000 Britons had been killed in German bombing. The first year of the Churchill administration—leading his country through an outward show of fearlessness and courage—comes to life in Larson’s writing.”

Broken Open: How Difficult Times Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser

“Author Elizabeth Lesser joins Melissa and other Indagare members for a retreat in January at the Mii Amo resort in Arizona each year. Her book provides wisdom and perspective for all of us when facing challenging times.”

Related: Indagare Global Conversations Talk with Melissa Biggs Bradley and Elizabeth Lesser

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown, by Anne Glenconner

“As a maid of honor at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret until her death, Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle for decades. Beset by family tragedies, including being deemed too unworthy to inherit one of the largest estates in England, the death of two of her children and the near death of the third, she traveled the world with the royal family, hobnobbed with a pantheon of celebrities and developed the Caribbean island of Mustique as a safe harbor for the rich and famous.”

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse Race, by Lara Prior-Palmer

“On a whim, Prior-Palmer decided to participate in the most grueling horse race in the world: a 10-day, 1,000-kilometer, 25-wild-horses per rider, race through the Mongolian Steppe, retracing the course taken by Genghis Khan’s own version of the pony express. A fantastic and terrifying true story of bravery and stamina.”

Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, the Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class, by Luke Barr

“The Belle Epoque, that generation from the Roaring ‘90s to the beginning of World War I, saw the birth of two of the most renowned luxury hotels that ever existed, The Savoy in London and The Ritz in Paris. Their history is a story of scandal and amazing excess, that brings together the clash of the old British society and the new rising middle class.”

Near and Far, Interiors I Love, by Lisa Fine

“Lisa has led many Indagare trips through India (one that I was fortunate enough to be on) and her recently published book is a luscious compendium of all of her favorite interiors throughout the world. Turning the pages and reading the text will transport you to exotic worlds.”

The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married in the British Aristocracy, by Anne de Courcy

“This is a delightful period piece about wealthy Americans during the Gilded Age who sought to marry their daughters into British aristocracy. This strategy to gain social status and upward mobility created some fascinating liaisons. If you are a Downton Abbey fan, this is sure to please.”

– Peter Schlesinger on May 18, 2020

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