If you like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form, and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. (catalog summary)

There have been some wonderful books with the theme of self-discovery through travel, as in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Their journeys have been life-changing for them and perhaps also for the reader.

If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, then you may also like these titles:

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez
Set amidst the shimmering seas of Northern ice, Arctic Dreams leads readers on a journey of the mind and heart into a place that grips the imagination and invigorates the soul. Part adventure tale and part meditation on the art of exploration, this magical book dazzles with the wonder of the aurora borealis; the awesome power of polar bears and killer whales; the monumental grandeur of migrating icebergs; and the beauty and nobility of the Arctic's indigenous people. Evocative and everlasting, Arctic Dreams is a classic. (catalog summary)


 



Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
In an exhilarating tale of historic adventure, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Confederates in the Attic retraces the voyages of Captain James Cook, the Yorkshire farm boy who drew the map of the modern world. Captain James Cook's three epic journeys in the 18th century were the last great voyages of discovery. His ships sailed 150,000 miles, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from Tasmania to Oregon, from Easter Island to Siberia. When Cook set off for the Pacific in 1768, a third of the globe remained blank. By the time he died in Hawaii in 1779, the map of the world was substantially complete.Tony Horwitz vividly recounts Cook's voyages and the exotic scenes the captain encountered: tropical orgies, taboo rituals, cannibal feasts, human sacrifice. He also relives Cook's adventures by following in the captain's wake to places such as Tahiti, Savage Island, and the Great Barrier Reef to discover Cook's embattled legacy in the present day. Signing on as a working crewman aboard a replica of Cook's vessel, Horwitz experiences the thrill and terror of sailing a tall ship. (catalog summary)
 

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Focusing on the human relationship with plants, the author of Second Nature uses botany to explore four basic human desires, sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control, through portraits of four plants that embody them: the apple, tulip, marijuana, and potato. Every school child learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers; the bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers' genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. In telling the stories of four familiar species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind's most basic yearnings. And, just as we've benefited from these plants, the plants have done well by us. So, who is really domesticating whom? (catalog summary)

 

The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith by Stephanie Saldaña
A romantic memoir of a young woman's year in Damascus. In 2004, 27-year-old Stephanie Saldaña traveled to Syria on a Fulbright fellowship to study the role of the prophet Jesus in Islam. She was also fleeing a broken heart. It was not an ideal time to be an American in the Middle East--the United States had recently invaded Iraq, refugees were flooding into Damascus, and dark rumors swirled that Syria might be next to come under American attack. Miserable and lonely, Stephanie left Damascus to visit an ancient Christian monastery carved into the desert cliffs. In that beautiful, austere setting, she confronted her wavering faith and met Frédéric, a young French novice monk. As they set out to explore the mysteries entwining Christianity and Islam, Stephanie slowly realized that she had found God again--and that she was in love with Frédéric. But would Frédéric choose God or Stephanie? (catalog summary)

 

Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney
Rosemary Mahoney was determined to take a solo trip down the Egyptian Nile in a small boat, even though civil unrest and vexing local traditions conspired to create obstacles every step of the way. Starting off in the south, she gained the unlikely sympathy and respect of a Muslim sailor, who provided her with a skiff and a window into the culturally and materially impoverished lives of rural Egyptians. Egyptian women don't row on the Nile, and tourists aren't allowed to for safety's sake. Mahoney endured extreme heat during the day and a terror of crocodiles while alone in her boat at night. Whether confronting deeply held beliefs about non-Muslim women, finding connections to past chroniclers of the Nile, or coming to the dramatic realization that fear can engender unwarranted violence, Mahoney's informed curiosity about the world, her prose, and her wit never fail to captivate. (catalog summary)

 


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette's brilliant and charismatic father captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn't want the responsibility of raising a family. The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. (catalog summary)

 

 

Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott
Wherever you look, there's trouble and wonder, pain and beauty, restoration and darkness--sometimes all at once. Yet amid the confusion, if you look carefully, in nature or in the kitchen, in ordinariness or in mystery, beyond the emotion muck we all slog through, you'll find it
eventually: a path, some light to see by, moments of insight, courage, or buoyancy. In other words, grace. Lamott knows and lives by this belief, most of the time. In these essays, she recounts the missteps, detours, and roadblocks in her walk of faith. (catalog summary)

 

 

 

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald
In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty. So, when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India--and for love--she screamed, "Never!" and gave the country--and him--the finger. But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true. When the love of Sarah's life is posted to India, she quits her dream job to move to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. For Sarah this seems like the ultimate sacrifice for love, and it almost kills her, literally. (catalog sumary)

 

And I Shall Have Some Peace There: Trading in the Fast Lane For My Own Dirt Road by Margaret Roach
Margaret Roach worked at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for 15 years, serving as editorial director for the last six. She first made her name in gardening, writing a classic gardening book, among other things. She now has a hugely popular gardening blog, "A Way to Garden." But despite the financial and professional rewards of her job, Margaret felt unfulfilled. So, she moved to her weekend house upstate in an effort to lead a more authentic life by connecting with her garden and with nature. The memoir she wrote about this journey is funny, quirky, humble--and uplifting--an Eat, Pray, Love without the travel--and allows readers to live out the fantasy of quitting the rat race and getting away from it all. (catalog summary)


 

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez & Kristin Ohlson
Soon after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian aid group. Surrounded by people whose skills--as doctors, nurses, and therapists--seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and, once her profession became known, she was eagerly sought out. Thus the idea for the Kabul Beauty School was born. Within that small haven, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts. (catalog summary)

 
 


Monkey Dancing: A Father, Two Kids, and a Journey To The Ends Of The Earth
by Daniel Glick
Glick, a journalist and author, traveled with his two children to remote areas of the world to see rare animals and places. The adventures and sights they saw in places that include Borneo, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Java, the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam, and Nepal are described in an engaging narrative that describes the grim threats to the animals and landscape alongside the account of their personal experiences. (catalog summary)



 

Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India by Miranda Kennedy
When twentysomething reporter Miranda Kennedy leaves her New York job and travels to India with no employment prospects, she longs to immerse herself in the turmoil and excitement of a rapidly developing country. What she quickly learns in Delhi about renting an apartment as a single woman--it's next to impossible--and the proper way for women in India to ride scooters--perched sideways--are early signs that life here is less Westernized than she'd counted on. Living in Delhi for more than five years, Kennedy experiences friendships, love affairs, and losses that open a window onto the opaque world of Indian politics and culture--and alter her own attitudes about everything. In her effort to understand the hopes and dreams that motivate her new friends, Kennedy peels back India's globalized image as a land of call centers and fast-food chains and finds an ancient place where, in many ways, women's lives have scarcely changed for centuries. (catalog summary)

 

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Three Cups of Tea traces Mortenson's decade-long odyssey to build schools (especially for girls), throughout the region that gave birth to the Taliban and sanctuary to Al Qaeda. In a region where Americans are often feared and hated, he has survived kidnapping, fatwas issued by enraged mullahs, death threats, and wrenching separations from his wife and children. But his success speaks for itself--at last count, his Central Asia Institute had built fifty-five schools. (publisher's description)

 

 

 

 

Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Kidd Taylor
The authors describe their introspective journeys to Greece and France, during which they reconnected while Sue grappled with midlife challenges and writer's block and Ann struggled with heartbreak and post-college career questions. (catalog summary)

 

 



Under the Tuscan sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes
Buying a villa in the spectacular Italian countryside is a wonderful fantasy--even if 17 rooms and a garden in need of immediate loving care are included in the asking price. Frances Mayes--gourmet cook, widely published travel writer, and poet--changed her life by doing just that. Sprinkled liberally with delicious recipes for inspired Italian dishes, amusing anecdotes about the risks of being your own contractor, and a savvy traveler's reminiscences, Under the Tuscan Sun is Mayes's enchanting account of her love affair with Tuscany: of scouring the neighborhood for the perfect panettone and the perfect plumber; of mornings spent cultivating her garden and afternoons spent enjoying its fruits in leisurely lunches on the terrace; of jaunts through the hill towns in search of renowned wines; and the renewal, not only of a house, but also of the spirit. An unusual memoir that combines the appeal of M.F.K. Fisher, Peter Mayle, and Martha Stewart, Under the Tuscan Sun is a feast for the senses. (catalog summary)


 

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. (catalog summary)

 

 

 

A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson
Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod. At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take pleasure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn't realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an "unfinished woman" was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers. This year of self-discovery brought about extraordinary changes in the author's life. The steps that Joan took to revitalize herself and rediscover her potential have helped thousands of woman reveal and release untapped resources within themselves. (catalog summary)

 

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle; illustrations by Judith Clancy
In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January's frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days. (catalog summary)

 

 

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life. (catalog summary)