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Bookmarked Blog
Australians around the country are probably close to scratching themselves raw with the travel itch that has built up over the past 18 months but before you do, pick up a copy of Armchair Explorer by Lonely Planet. This gorgeous book compiles the best books, films and music from 120 countries – Read List, Watch List and Playlist – so you can surround yourself in the culture of your favourite destinations without leaving your armchair!

We’ve extracted the ‘Read List’ from both the Republic of Ireland and Japan to give you a taste of what to expect inside. Pick up your copy for Father’s Day or to escape wherever your heart desires!


Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland pages from Armchair Explorer, courtesy of Lonely Planet.  

    Read List    

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels
by Jonathan Swift (1726)

Swift’s towering satire follows a surgeon who encounters flying islands, talking horses, giants and tiny people. It’s surreal and disorientating, as well as angry about Ireland’s condition – colonialism gets a serious kicking.

ANGELA'S ASHES by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes
by Frank McCourt (1996)

McCourt won the Pulitzer Prize for this often bleak, occasionally funny autobiographical tale of a 1930s Limerick family, their lives dominated by poverty and alcoholism.


Selected Poems
by W.B. Yeats (2000)

Yeats towers over Irish poetry and this collection gives a fine picture of the Nobel Prize winner’s evolution from more traditional work to his mythic later poems.

THE SEA by John Banville

The Sea
by John Banville (2005)

A retired art historian in southeast Ireland looks back on his life, pondering secrets, death and childhood in a wonderful, dreamlike book that won the Booker Prize.

NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney

Normal People
by Sally Rooney (2018)

Rooney’s second novel follows two school friends who fall in and out of love in Sligo and Dublin. The TV adaptation was a big hit; the book is fresh, observant and compulsively readable.



Japan pages from Armchair Explorer, courtesy of Lonely Planet.  

    Read List    

NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood
by Haruki Murakami (1987, trans 1989)

The novel that made Murakami a literary star, this is a coming-of-age story about a young man’s exploration of love while dealing with loss, against a backdrop of university days in 1960s Tokyo.

KITCHEN by Banana Yoshimoto

by Banana Yoshimoto (1988, trans 1993)

A haunting tale of two mothers that explores themes of loneliness, transsexuality and hope. Kitchen topped the Japan bestseller list for over a year following its release.


Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata (2016, trans 2018)

An oddball, poignant and heartwarming story of an alienated young convenience store worker existing on the periphery of ‘normal’ Japanese society, trying to find a new way to fit in.

SNOW COUNTRY by Yasunari Kawabata

Snow Country
by Yasunari Kawabata (1948, trans 1957)

Nobel Prize winner Kawabata’s masterpiece novel is about a passionate yet doomed love affair between a wealthy dilettante and a country geisha, set in the isolated beauty of western Japan’s snowy mountains.

THE PILLOW BOOK by Sei Shonagon

The Pillow Book
by Sei Shōnagon (1002)

A Japanese literature classic, this is a detailed account of the author’s life as a lady-in-waiting, offering the reader a fascinating insight into Japanese court life at the height of Heian culture.

Armchair Explorer is available online and at your local store.

Armchair Explorer
Lonely Planet

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