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What to Read on Your Summer Vacation

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Welcome to summer! Whether you’re relaxing at the beach or on a boat in the middle of the lake, it’s time for easy living and relaxing reading — and we have got you covered. From thrillers to romance to new fiction and fun updated classics, here is a sampling of some of our favorite vacation reads.

We think an apropos-read while on vacation is a book about, well, vacation, and what better novel than Emma Straub’s The Vacationers? Straub writes about one family’s two-week-trip to the island of Mallorca and the complicated, up-and-down dynamics among family and friends.

If you’re determined to read something brand new because you’re one of those bookworms who’ve read just about everything published last year, then maybe you’ll want to dig into Pulitzer prize winning author Elizabeth Strout’s latest novel, Anything Is Possible, in which Strout peers into the lives of characters in small-town America through nine linked stories. By the end, the stories have interconnected to form a wholly heartening patchwork. Strout reminds us that there is always the potential for grace, love, and connection.

Have you been aching to relive your college years? Those days of deep and aimless conversations with friends, semi-romances, heady coursework? We’re all loving The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Most of the novel focuses on the protagonist, Selin, and her romance with Ivan, an evasive mathematics major. It’s 1995, so much of their romance is carried out through a strange new technology: email. It’s a fantastic read and will remind you of your younger self in the best way.

We don’t generally recommend reading about airplane crashes while on vacation. But once you’ve returned home and are safely in your backyard hammock, we suggest reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. Be prepared to not leave said hammock for quite some time because you will not put this one down. Just released June 6th in paperback, Before the Fall tells the story of a small private jet that leaves Martha’s Vineyard only to crash into the ocean 16 minutes later. There are two survivors: a young boy, and a down-on-his-luck painter who miraculously swims through shark infested waters to carry the boy to safety. It’s a story of grief, suspense, and bravery. It is so good!

But wait a minute, you thought we were talking about easy reading! Airplane crashes? Shark infested waters? Sorry! Let’s get back to the task at hand here, shall we? Next up, some lighter paperbacks you can easily schlep around with you to the beach or on a vacation.

Let author Jess Walter transport you to the Mediterranean in Beautiful Ruins, a romantic read that alternates between 1960s Italy and modern-day Hollywood.

If you’re less into romance and more into thrillers, then try I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, the story of a secret agent code-named Pilgrim who is forced to face his greatest enemy after the murder of a wealthy American.

Did you love Gone Girl and are looking for something similar? Give Find Her a shot. Author Lisa Gardner tells the story of a young woman still coping with her kidnapping years earlier.

Are you thinking you want to read a classic but don’t want to be bogged down with actually reading a classic? Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice is the book for you! Curtis Sittenfeld’s story offers up an innovative take on the classic tale of the Bennet family and Mr. Darcy.

For all you Rainbow Rowell fans out there, we recommend Attachments, her amusing story about two female coworkers who dish on their relationships via email, and the company’s Internet security officer who finds himself falling for one of the women based on these “private” exchanges.

In for some non-fiction comedy? Look no further than Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me with outrageous stories from some of her world travels.

You know who else spins a fabulous comedic yarn? David Sedaris. Well, yes, you probably already knew that. But did you know he has a new book out this summer? Theft By Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 is a selection from the diaries that are the source for many of his remarkable essays. The thrill of David Sedaris lies in the absurd details of his memories, and he serves them up well in this collection, which unfortunately won’t be out in paperback for a while. Though we think the hardcover is worthy of schlepping, if that’s not for you, his many other titles in paperback including Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls will leave you in stitches too.

Given this list, choosing a book is the easy part. The tricky part, this summer, will be finding a beach that isn’t totally underwater to read it on.

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February 14, 2019