Vacation Reading is a tricky bit of business. For me, my vacations consist of entertaining all the children in a place we are not familiar with, so it’s not like I sit around just reading in depth treatises on the plight of the wounded iron monkey. I usually pick light reads that are easy to read while distractions are going on all around.
So, that brings us to the next in my series of FAQ: “What should I read on my vacation?”
I get asked this a lot.
Which is weird because what I would expect to be asked is, “Hey, Kelli, are you guys free to come to our lake house this weekend?” Or “Hey Kelli, looks like you could use a break – can I take your kids on vacation while you sit home and read??” Or “Hey Kelli, I see you need more drink in that cup, can I get you a refill while you sit and enjoy that novel??”
Actually, I’m quite honored to be asked what books someone should read on a vacation – I’ve helped trips to Florida, Bali, Ireland and even once was asked to suggest books to take to an attempt to climb Everest. #honored #itakethisSERIOUSLY
With that setup – here is my answer (click on the titles for links to Amazon):
These are lighter reads that are especially enjoyable during summer sunshine. They’re great for vacays because they don’t take a lot of attention span.
Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- Rebecca Bloomwood writes for a financial newspaper but is herself in debt because she can’t stop shopping. This book is my favorite chick lit book of all times – light, funny and entertaining, if you haven’t read it yet – get on that right now as fast as you’d be all over the half yearly sale at Nordstroms. (Rated PG-13 for some language)
Big Little Lies, What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret – if you’re part of my Facebook reading group, we’re currently reading What Alice Forgot, which is my favorite novel of Liane Moriarty’s. Alice hits her head and forgets the last ten years of her life… surprised by the reactions of those around her, she tries to piece together what exactly has happened over the last ten years and rectify the relationships she has broken. The other two books are not the same topic, but similar in writing style. So I always recommend those all together. (PG-13 for language on all of them)
June Bug by Chris Fabry – This book was written by a friend of ours whom I love for his humor in real life and the ability to write great atmosphere. From Chris’s site: “June Bug believed everything her daddy told her. That is, until she walked into Walmart and saw her face on a list of missing children. The discovery begins a quest for the truth about her father, the mother he rarely speaks about, and ultimately herself. A modern interpretation of Les Miserables, the story follows a dilapidated RV rambling cross-country with June Bug and her father, a man running from a haunted past. Forces beyond their control draw them back to Dogwood, West Virginia, down a winding path that will change their lives forever.” Great book.
The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins – It’s an older book, but it’s the best of this genre. Period. From Amazon.com: “As the Allied forces slowly begin turning the tide of war, Hitler vehemently orders the impossible—kidnap Winston Churchill, or kill him. A crack team of commandos led by a disgraced war hero must venture into the heart of England to carry out their mission, or die trying. Meanwhile, in a quiet seaside village, a beautiful widow and an IRA assassin have already laid the groundwork for what will be the most treacherous plot of the war. It begins on November 6, 1943, when Berlin receives the fateful message . . .‘THE EAGLE HAS LANDED . . .'”
Another style of book I love for vacation are manager/leadership or books of essays. Because the books are usually broken down into clear chapters and can be picked up, read for a while, put down so you can go out on the jet ski on the lake and Be Friendly With Others and then return to the book when you’re like, oh my word, why in the world did we come on vacay with FAMILY? NEVER AGAIN. Calm down. Go read a book.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – Everyone else has read this book, why haven’t you? It’s good. Read it. Gladwell looks at why high achievers are high achievers. What is it that sets them apart?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Philip Yancey and Dr Paul Brand – Beautiful book. Yancey and Brand look at the intricacies of the human body in a beautiful way – and relate it to the body of Christ. Love this book and consider it one of my favorite books of all time.
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker – The downside to this book is that it felt a little ADD to me with its jumping around topics. The plus side is that it was jumping around topics and easy to pickup and put down and feel like you were still tracking with her thought process. Easy, encouraging read.
Dead Wake, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson – Anything by Larson is good. He takes historical events and dives into them in an easy to understand, interesting style. Dead Wake tells the story of the Lusitania – a story I’m interested in since my grandma’s dad’s first wife and two children, Clifford and Lily, went down with the Lusitania. Devil in the White City is about the World’s Fair that took place in Chicago – just fascinating history and the stories…Really good book. Read it!
A Very Specific Kind of Book That Are Why I Read
I don’t know how to describe these other than they are books that are my absolute favorite. Romantic, atmospheric, but also funny as all get out. These are the ones that I love forever when I meet them.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – “I write this sitting in a kitchen sink…” Oh, this is a beautiful coming-of-age book written by a young girl, Cassandra. The book is her journals of what is going on with her family as they live in a broken down castle. She writes about the changes taking place inside those walls and about her first love.
Us by David Nicholls – I just love David Nicholls’ writing. Endearing, sweet, funny and just perfect. I purposely read his books slowly so they last forever. Us is written from the point of view of a husband whose wife has just asked him for a divorce. As they travel with their older son around Europe, he comes to grips with losing his wife/marriage and how he could possibly save it. Nicholls’ also wrote One Day, which I loved. Try Us first and see if you like it. (PG-13)
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy – I just. Angel. xoxox And, no, it’s not a funny book, but I do remember this one so well – reading it on a trip to my grandparents’ house in northern Wisconsin as a teenager. #feelings
CLICK HERE to read my first reading FAQ – How to Find Time to Read and How to Find Books