When was the last time you read a book on vacation? I always intend to start and finish at least one book when we go away, but having to pay attention to my kids at the beach, in the backyard, or on the road prevents me from losing myself in a good book.
The joys of motherhood, right?
Still, I always pack a hot new release or a still-talked-about best seller that I missed, along with the hope I’ll be able to snag a few quiet minutes to myself when we’re on a family vacation. If I have the opportunity to take my eyes off the boys when we’re on Hilton Head Island next week, these are a few books I’d enjoy reading under an umbrella on the beach or while lounging poolside on a chaise.
My vacation reading list
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll – Just released this week, Luckest Girl Alive is a thriller about a women who appears to have it all — the job, the wardrobe, the fiancé — until a secret from her past threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to get.
Describing the protagonist as “a cross between Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne,” Library Journal remarked that this debut novel from a former magazine editor “will keep readers engaged until the the end.”
I Take You by Eliza Kennedy – The first big beach read, according to Entertainment Weekly, this new release tells the story of New York lawyer and bride-to-be Lily Wilder, who has a hard time staying faithful to her perfect fiancé.
In a starred review, Booklist wrote, “What appears at the outset to be standard chick-lit fare turns into a smart and challenging examination of gender politics and the meaning of marriage in the twenty-first century. While Kennedy’s compulsively readable debut is sure to be controversial, it should also ignite productive conversations about traditional gender roles and stereotypes.”
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – This psychological thriller has been on my ever-growing reading list since it debuted on the best-seller list earlier this year, and so far, I’ve managed to avoid any spoilers. All I know is that The Girl on the Train has been compared to Gone Girl for its unreliable narrator, propulsive narrative, and shocking twist.
Kirkus gave it a starred review: “Even the most astute readers will be in for a shock as Hawkins slowly unspools the facts, exposing the harsh realities of love and obsession’s inescapable links to violence.”
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby – Off the bat, Funny Girl has three things working in its favor: The 1960s, London, and Nick Hornby. (About a Boy was one of my favorite books when I read it in college.)
Published in February, it also has a slew of positive reviews, including this one from USA Today: “Hornby’s fluency in script-like breeziness and crisp banter makes Funny Girl a pleasurable read. So does page after page of perfectly timed and delivered humor, the subtle and understated kind, that starts with the first line.”
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – I recently discovered this novel about a cantankerous bookstore owner who undergoes a dramatic transformation after a friend recommended it on Facebook. How did I miss it when it was published last year?
The Washington Post called it “an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental…marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both.”
Let’s be honest: If I manage to read even a few chapters of any of these books on this vacation, I’ll be thrilled. But which to crack open first?
Tell me, what books are on your summer vacation reading list? What titles should I add to mine?
(images 1, 2. photo from Whitney Leigh Morris’s home, The Tiny Canal Cottage, by Monica Wang)