Escapist reads for those stuck in the city this winter

When you’ve finished your morning paper, pick up one of these books to join in on New York City’s largest unofficial reading group: The Subway Book Club. If you’re stuck commuting this winter instead of embarking on a much-desired getaway, dive into one of these new books that takes place on various trips, to indulge your wanderlust or envision yourself on a beach as you fend off manspreaders for necessary page-turning elbow room on the train.

‘South and West’

By Joan Didion

This recently released collection of essays by the esteemed writer dates back to a Southwestern road trip she took in the 1970s. Think “On the Road” but through wholly honest prose that makes you wish you could shotgun a ride with Didion herself.


By Liska Jacobs

Fired from her job at MoMA, California-raised Elsa returns to her hometown of Los Angeles where she embarks on a vacation to Catalina Island with her childhood crew of friends. They believe she’s only visiting, not returning home dejected and run down by New York. What should be a breezy boat trip turns dark for Elsa, who, despite the picture-perfect scenery, can’t escape her own detrimental thoughts.

‘The Storied City: The Quest for Timbuktu and the Fantastic Mission to Save Its Past’

By Charlie English

Chances are you don’t have any immediate travel booked to Timbuktu (yes, it’s a real place!). Take a virtual trip with this thoroughly reported, first-person account of the history and legacy of a mythical and intriguing corner of the globe few Westerners have visited.

‘Here Comes the Sun’

By Nicole Dennis-Benn

While an island paradise is alluring to visit, there’s more to living in the tropics than sunshine and sandy bliss. The protagonist of this poignant novel, Margot, works at a resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, giving a thoughtful lens to anyone who has vacationed at an all-inclusive, luxury beach property.

‘The Shark Club’

By Ann Kidd Taylor

Not quite the equivalent of watching “Jaws” before jetting off to Hawaii, this novel tells the story of Maeve, bitten by a shark during a beach day in Florida when she was a teenager. Nearly 20 years after the incident, Maeve returns to her coastal hometown, this time as a marine biologist, studying — what else? — sharks. Romance, palm trees and carnivorous fish abound.

‘Do Not Become Alarmed’

By Maile Meloy

A family cruise in Central America goes south when cousins’ Liv and Nora’s children go missing during a jungle excursion. This fast-paced thriller switches perspectives from concerned parents to kids in captivity.

More from around NYC