Summer Reading List: 7 Beach Books for Your Next Trip
Ever since I got my Kindle, I’ve been plowing through books, yet somehow I’ve been remiss this year about getting my summer reading list out in time. So, here it is! You’ve still got the rest of July and all of August to get in some of these reads on your next beach vacation. Just grab a folding chair and stick your toes in the sand… And, please don’t forget to leave your own beach-read recommendations in the comments section!
1., 2., and 3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larssen
Tiny, tough, and tattooed, the main protagonist of these stories cuts an intriguing character who seems to have a knack for putting herself in dangerous situations. Add in political infighting, a corrupt police force, a secret community of computer hackers, some rather controversial press practices, and a dash of sexual intrigue, and you’ve got three books perfect for beachside reading.
4. Engleby by Sebastian Faulks
Sure, the narrator of this story taking place in Cambridge in the 1970s is a little strange—his self-outlook essentially distills down to the following: “that [he] share[s] 50 per cent of [his] genome with a banana and 98 per cent with a chimpanzee.” He’s a socially-awkward loner and a frequent pill-popper, but might he actually be insane? When a classmate of his goes missing, you begin to wonder.
5. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
This is a big novel about twin brothers raised by doctors in Ethiopia. I recommend this book especially to anyone in the medical field, as sometimes the surgery descriptions get a little detailed and intense–so if you’re squeamish you might want to skip this one. Eventually, one of the twins moves on to the Bronx to continue on the medical tradition, and he runs into a childhood love interest who ended up taking a very different path.
6. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Okay, I realize I’m several years behind the times on this one, and that there are much newer Bourdain books currently out on the market, but I finally got around to reading this and found it pretty fun and fascinating, and filled with tips for restaurants diners (i.e. don’t order the fish on Mondays, since it’s probably not very fresh). I love his No Reservations series on the Travel Channel, and his written word is no let-down—in fact, it’s even far less reserved than he is on the show.
7. Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
This series of 13 short stories about the same set of characters in a small town in Maine touches on themes of aging and relationships. Olive herself may not come across as a likable person at first glance. She’s big and loud and hard as a Maine winter, but her character is delicately nuanced, and the author’s subtle revelations into this character is where the strength of these stories lies. It’s definitely edged with melancholy so this might be one you save for a rainy beach day spent indoors.
My name: Rachel Berg.
Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.
View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.
Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.
Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.
Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.