Posted by: Jeanie F | April 16, 2016

Vacation Reading

Summer Reading

The days are getting longer, the temperature is beginning to rise, a gentle breeze replaces the cold blasts of winter – and, if you’re like me, you’re beginning to think about summer vacations. Whether you’re taking a break from sightseeing for some wine and cheese at a Paris bistro, relaxing in your camp chair beside a river after a vigorous hike, or lying on a sun-drenched beach in Maui, vacation reading is going to be part of that picture. If you’re reading this blog, you’re hoping you will find the perfect book to keep you entertained during those moments of relaxation.

When my friend, Dennis, goes on vacation, he likes to bring along challenging books that he doesn’t have time to read during the work year. He’s brought “Anna Karenina,” “Bleak House,” one year he brought “War and Peace.” And during every trip he tries to read over the shoulders of the rest of us, who bring less lofty, but more entertaining, books. As soon as one of us finishes a book, he snatches it away.

I’m far more realistic about my vacation reading. I know I don’t want to be enlightened or educated – I want to have as good a time while I’m reading as I do when I’m sightseeing.  I’m always keeping my eye out for books that might be good to take on vacation so, when the time comes, I’m not settling for something that turns out to be a disappointment.


The books I’ve selected to recommend to you as great summer reads are tried and true favorites that meet this criteria:

  • Not too mentally challenging
  • A great story that keeps you entertained
  • Something you can pick up or put down easily, depending on the day’s activities
  • Something I’ve reviewed on this blog

Because each of us has our own definition of what a good vacation book might be, I’ve divided my selections by genre. And I’ve linked each title to my review, so you can get more information than you might find on a book jacket. Be aware that many of these books fall into more than one genre, but I’ve chosen the one I think highlights the most distinguishing characteristic of each.

Humorous Books  These aren’t necessarily “laugh out loud” books, but they are books that I thought were light reading and had an element of the ridiculous or eccentric.

And Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evision

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Action/Mystery These books are heavy on plot, lots going on.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Let Him Go by Larry Watson

The Painter by Peter Heller

Drama Human interest, serious but, for summer reading, engrossing and hard to put down.

Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment

Room by Emma Donoghue

Defending Jacob by William Landa

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Short Story Collections Because sometimes you just want something you can finish.

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenudin

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Your turn – what books would you add to this list? Please share with the rest of us!

Reading in Paris




  1. In no particular order, these are my suggestions

    All The Winters After, Sere Prince Halverson

    The Girl You Left Behind , JoJo Moyes

    The Little Paris Bookshop , Nina George

    Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese

    Our Souls At Night, Kent Haruf

    Once Upon A River, Bonnie Jo Campbell

    Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg

    • Thanks, Roberta! The only one I’ve read is Our Souls At Night. Will definitely check out the others – you’ve given me some great recommendations in the past!

  2. All great books. I’ve been leaning toward these lately.

    • Considering where you live, I’m always amazed that you can read any serious literature! When I’m at the beach, it’s all I can do to manage People Magazine! ☺️

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