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:
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
We 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 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.)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
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.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
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.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Once upon a time, I only brought stereotypical “beach reads” on vacation. But everyone from our 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.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
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.
Surfside Sisters by Nancy Thayer
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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