Looking for books to read on your next vacation? Try one of these interesting reads (that aren’t about traveling).
Reading is my favorite vacation activity. Sure, when you’re traveling, you probably want to spend a lot of your time engaged in activities and visiting attractions. But I think the best part of a vacation is the down time, when you can just relax and not worry about doing things.
Reading is a great way to fill that down time without stressing yourself out. You can do it on the plane, you can do it on the beach, you can do it while waiting in line, you can do it while sitting in your hotel room, you can do it inside or outside. You can literally do it anywhere at any time. It’s a great way to take your mind off “the real world” and really dig into the vacation mindset.
I always bring a book with me while traveling. Actually, these days I always have my Kindle with multiple books downloaded and ready read.
I love reading about travel. There was a time when literally all I would read was non-fiction travel books, and some of my favorite books are about traveling. But in the last year I’ve reacquainted myself with novels and non-travel-related stories. I mean, just because I’m traveling doesn’t mean I have to READ about travel all the time too.
I’m so happy I made the effort to change up my reading habits because I’ve read some amazing books in the last year. I put together this list of books to read on your next vacation based on some of my favorites, and I hope you love them too. They are not the typical “vacation reads” that are full of light and fluffy novels (which are really great too), they are just great books that are worth your time.
So if you’re looking for something to read on your next vacation, check out these awesome books that AREN’T about travel.
10 Books to Read on Your Next Vacation
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Just Kids is an old favorite, but I wanted to include it because I re-read it this year. In this memoir, Patti Smith (musician and writer) tells the story of her relationship with the late Robert Mapplethorpe (photographer). Two broke but passionate artists living together in New York City in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s such a beautiful story about their journey together as creatives, as friends, as lovers.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those shows everyone has been talking about since it was first released. I’m one of those people that likes to read books before (or instead of) watching things, so this was a must-read. It’s a dystopian story of a not-so-far-off future in which a fundamentalist religious group takes over the U.S. Women become objects and are assigned roles. The fertile women essentially become slaves that are used only to bear children. The story follows the protagonist’s journey as a handmaid, as she tries to survive in this new world.
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman
This has become one of my favorite books; I’m already itching to read it again! A teen girl makes a deal with her mom: if she completes a 3-week wilderness program over the summer, she can pursue music at an arts school in London. But when she arrives, she realizes this program is for at-risk teens and doesn’t understand why she’s there. She reluctantly works her way through this backpacking trip while reflecting on everything that led up to this.
The Girls by Emma Cline
A young girl in late 1960s California gets drawn into a new life as a part of a cult led by a charismatic man. She is fascinated by Suzanne, one of the older girls, and falls into this group as she seeks acceptance. The “cult” is based on the infamous Charles Manson story. This novel is the perfect book to read on vacation.
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler
Sweetbitter was one of those must-read books in 2017, and I finally bit. The main character is a young 20-something woman who moves to NYC, gets a job waitressing (backwaiter, actually), and gets pulled into a side of restaurant work she never expected. Her world becomes consumed with wine, food, drugs, interesting co-workers, and love (of course).
Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
This book falls into the historical fiction category. It tells the story of a Turkish family during World War II, one that has been torn apart by religious differences. A Muslim woman marries a Jewish man, and their families do no approve, so they move to France. But with the persecution of Jews and the threat of concentration camps, they must find their way back to Istanbul to return to safety. It is not a light story by any means, but it is a good story, something you can dig into while you’re away.
Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
Braving the Wilderness is all about belonging. It’s about learning to be your true self in a world where that is a REALLY difficult thing to do. You have to be willing to stand out there alone in order to find where you belong. It’s a beautiful mix of social science and inspiration. It’s a book I recommend to everyone, and it’s a pretty quick read.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
A teen girl is forced to move to Mississippi with her dad and his new wife, leaving her mother behind in Ohio. One day she decides she over it, so she skips school and gets on a bus to Ohio. Unfortunately, the bus journey doesn’t go so smoothly. She encounters a lot of people, both good and bad, and learns a lot along the way to find her mom.
Modern Lovers by Emma Staub
This was probably the one book I read that was the most out of my usual reading style, but I quite liked it. Three college friends (and former band mates) are now older, married with children, and living in Brooklyn. This book is mostly about their lives now as they navigate marital problems, friendship, and having teenage kids. It’s definitely a great book to read on vacation.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
The Circle was made into a movie and I watched it early this year. I hated the movie, but I loved the idea behind it. So I was really curious to read the book and see if maybe it had the good parts and left out the cringe (it did!). It’s about a woman who gets a job at “The Circle”, which is basically a dystopian version of Google, Facebook, and big tech corporations like it. It makes you wonder how much privacy we really have on the internet, and how much we should have.
I love reading, and I’ve been doing A LOT more of it this year, so I plan on making more reading lists in the near future. I’m always looking for new recommendations, so please share your favorite books in the comments below! Just as a note, I include links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble so you guys can easily find a copy of the books. However, I always encourage you to use your local library and/or buy second-hand books.
→What’s the best book you’ve read recently?←
What to Read on Your Next Vacation
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