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Novel Ideas: Three for the Road

The season's best transporting new books—and where to experience the action firsthand.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder
By Rebecca Wells
Small-town girl and aspiring hairdresser Calla moves to New Orleans, where she enrolls in a prestigious beauty school. As she earns her keep at a local diner, she learns that city folk are just like her family back home, at least when it comes to food (Harper, $26).

New Orleans
Don't miss the pecan waffles or the fluffy Chef's Special omelets, stuffed with meat, cheese, onion, and French fries, at The Camellia Grill, a Big Easy standard (504/309-2679, omelet $8).

Italian for Beginners
By Kristin Harmel
Chronic rule-follower Cat decides, on a whim, to vacation in Italy with her ex, Francesco. Soon enough, she's alone and heartbroken, but after zipping through Rome on a Vespa, she realizes that tossing out your plans can lead to the best experiences (5 Spot, $14).

Rome
Ride past sites like the Vatican and the Baths of Caracalla on Nerone Tours' four-hour Vespa drive through Rome. Make sure to ask your guide to stop for a gelato break in the Campo dei Fiori (nerone.cc, from $210).

Dreaming in Hindi
By Katherine Russell Rich
Author Rich impulsively ditches her life in New York City to take on a freelance writing assignment in India. She's so enthralled with the country, she stays for a year to study Hindi and pen this memoir on the power of learning a new language (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26).

Udaipur, India
Take in this romantic city, known for its four glittering lakes, from the rooftop terrace of Udai Kothi, a lavish boutique hotel with panoramic views of ancient palaces (udaikothi.com, from $95).

 
Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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Oceanfront hotels in Miami's South Beach Pink-Slip Trips
Plenty of people panic after losing a job. But instead of staying home to polish their résumés (or nibble their fingernails), these women fearlessly packed their bags, embracing the freedom that comes with a wide-open schedule. Sayonara, vacation request form!
 
 
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