What I’m reading on my summer vacation

Sarah Gelman on August 07, 2019
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What does someone who reads for work bring to read on their vacation? This summer I’m lucky enough to take two weeks off of work for a family vacation, and I plan to spend a lot of it catching up on books I’ve had on my “Want to Read” shelf. Before E-readers were ubiquitous, I used to pack one book for every day of vacation in a black carry-on bag that had the perfect boxy shape into which to cram hardcovers. My definition of anxiety was running out of books. Now I always pack my Kindle when I go on vacation. Rest assured, I have many backups in case I rip through the books below, but these are the first books on my list:

^^ASIN##B07MNJ62D6^^HEADLINE##Two families, divided^^SUMMARY##A saga that spans decades and generations.^^AWARD##Best of the month pick^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

The Amazon Books editors picked this book as both a Best Book of the Month and also one of our Best Books of the Year So Far. My colleague Chris Schluep wrote in his Best of the Month review: “Mary Beth Keane is a fantastic writer.” This line alone makes me want to read this book, but it doesn’t hurt that I love a family saga, especially one that takes place over decades. (Claire Lombardo’s July debut, The Most Fun We Ever Had, is another family saga that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.)

^^ASIN##B01GZY28JA^^HEADLINE##An enduring story of hope and struggle^^SUMMARY##After a Korean woman immigrates to Japan in the early 1900s, her family’s lives range from lowly pachinko parlors to the highest levels of society.^^AWARD##National Book Award finalist^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

This sophomore novel by Korean-American author Min Jin Lee was a Finalist for the National Book Award. It also ranks high on the list of “books I’m slightly ashamed I haven’t yet read.” Have I mentioned I love multigenerational sagas? This one follows a Korean family who immigrates to Japan and is just the kind of thick novel that makes me love my Kindle even more.

^^ASIN##B07FS25XTW^^HEADLINE##The power of first love^^SUMMARY##The newest novel from the author of "Conversations with Friends" explores a couple’s tumultuous relationship.^^AWARD##FOMO-inspiring^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

Let me tell you a story. I had a baby last year, went on maternity leave, and came back, and this book was everywhere! What else did I miss while in the throes of newborn-hood? Is “fetch” a thing now? I have major book FOMO with Rooney’s latest novel, and I’ve been saving this one for vacation.

^^ASIN##B07J4LPZRN^^HEADLINE##A royal romp^^SUMMARY##The President’s son and a British prince fall in love, sparking an international incident.^^AWARD##Beach-read worthy^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

Once upon a time, I only brought stereotypical “beach reads” on vacation. But everyone from the Amazon Books editors to Jenna Bush Hager have been debating what a beach read is. Red, White & Royal Blue is a throwback to the beach reads of my 20s: fun and romantic, and with a pink jacket, to boot. The President’s son and a British prince fall in love? If you need me, I’ll be hiding under my umbrella on the beach, reading.

^^ASIN##B000OVLKMM^^HEADLINE##An unforgettable coming-of-age memoir^^SUMMARY##Walls’ extraordinary story reveals how she grew up within a dysfunctional, neglectful family and escaped to a different life.^^AWARD##Bestselling memoir^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

Everyone except for me has read this best-selling memoir that came out in 2005 and has since been turned into a movie. I purchased the book in 2011 (thanks for the reminder, Amazon!) but haven’t cracked it yet. My prediction is I read it, love it, and want to talk to everyone about it like I’m the one who just discovered it. Consider yourself warned, friends and family.

^^ASIN##B07FC36WLH^^HEADLINE##An unexpected refuge^^SUMMARY##A bestselling writer returns to her childhood home on Nantucket to help her ailing mother and, ultimately, rediscovers friendship and joy.^^AWARD##Nantucket-set novel^^RATING##^^RANK##^^BEST##^^WORST##^^

I am slightly obsessed with Nantucket after reading everything Elin Hilderbrand has written, so I’ve been plowing through another Nantucket novelist’s works whenever I get the chance. Nancy Thayer’s latest is about a Manhattan-dwelling novelist who returns to her home on Nantucket for some soul-searching. I loved Thayer’s last novel, Nantucket Wedding, and have high hopes that this one will scratch my Nantucket itch.

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