Books you should take on vacation

Books you should take on vacation

It’s summertime. To a book nerd, summer means extra time for reading. To a teacher, it means reading all the books you want to read instead of all the books you have to read.

To a literary hound like me, summertime brings an increase in novel-reading in particular. Somehow, non-fiction doesn’t fit as well with sandy toes and sweaty noses—it makes reading seem a little more like work. A good summer read should be a novel with laughable characters, riveting suspense, or picturesque settings. Summer is for unwinding and escaping. Only a novel can make that satisfyingly possible.

Readers have been asking me questions about my summer reading recommendations, so I’m only too happy to share my recent favorites with everyone. Later, we’ll talk about best non-fiction, best travel, best biographies, best Christian living, but this blog is for best novels. I’ve even included a few of my recent YA (young adult) favorites, because summer is for fun reading, and a good kid/young adult book moves quickly and holds your attention.

Here are 15 of my recent favorites that will make great beach chair/hammock reading. Humor and romance and redemption and unrequited love. I’m getting chill-bumps just thinking about these books. All so good. Delicious, in fact.

Biographical Fiction:

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Klein

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Young Adult:

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Historical & Literary Fiction:

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Rebecca by Daphne du Murier

You may notice that I avoid the thriller/high-suspense drama. This is not because I like slow books–none of my suggestions are slow, by the way—but it’s that I am a little obsessive about plots and characters, and I have found that I can’t sleep if I’m reading a thriller. For days. Since I can’t survive without sleep, I’ve limited my reading to suspenseful literary novels that just render me useless while I’m reading them.

Below is my stack of my vacation reads for this summer, books that I anticipate will be as delectable as the ones listed above. I just can’t vouch for them yet, since I haven’t read them, but maybe you’ll also look at them and think they’re worth the risk:

The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster by Scott Wilbanks

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

A Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Frederik Backman

I can’t wait to hear what you’re reading and what you like. Some of the novels on both my lists have been made into movies, so that’s extra-fun. Read the book and then have a movie night (not so good the other way around). I’ll blog again with some good non-fiction suggestions for the fall, but for now, settle into some big pillows with a tall glass of lemonade and a cookie, and pretend that every day is vacation.

You’ll get up refreshed and smiling. Well, you might check out of life for a few days, but it never killed anybody to walk into the kitchen at 6 pm and realize nobody’s planning dinner because the person who usually worries about that stuff is curled up on the couch engrossed in a novel.

Healthy family dynamics at work, I think.

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