Summer vacation is the perfect time to indulge in a good book. Reading is a great way to kill time on a long flight, and a great way to laze around in the sun.
To give you some reading inspiration for your next vacation, we’ve compiled a list of our all-time favorite books. Whether you’re an e-reader or a paperback reader, put some of these books on your summer reading list!
Elle says: dark place
Written by Gillian Flynn
If you liked the disturbing thriller Gone Girl, be sure to check out this novel by the same author. This novel will also be made into a movie later this year. Dark Places follows Libby Day, a woman whose entire family was killed by her older brother when she was a child, and who reluctantly goes into the past to find out what really happened on that horrific night. It’s a story that we dig deeper into. The storyline is full of clues, some helpful, some dangerous, and you’ll find yourself playing detective as new information is revealed. Flynn keeps you guessing until the end, surprising you with clever twists along the way. If you love a good mystery as much as I do, turn the pages to Dark Places before it hits the big screen.
Jenny says: Girl on the train
Written by Paula Hawkins
For me, summer reading is all about a quick read on the beach. I’m usually looking for a heartwarming memoir, a funny chick, or a good thriller with lots of twists. In this case, the latter applies.
The Girl on the Train started out a little slow, but I stayed up all night for the second half, so I finished reading it in about a day! This story is told from three different points of view, but I’m not sure whether to believe any of them. Rachel, aka Train Girl, is a depressed alcoholic who takes an excessive interest in a couple she has never spoken to during her morning commute. When the couple’s wife goes missing, Rachel becomes an important part of the police investigation.
Mystery, suspense, and a drunken blackout ensue. The characters are all charming, and although some details can be a little unsettling, it’s sure to keep you hooked! If you’re looking for a fast-paced book to enjoy by the pool, give this one a try.
Ann says: First they killed my father
Written by Lung Ung
“First They Killed My Father…” is the gripping story of a young girl fighting for survival against all odds in war-torn Cambodia in the 1970s. Forced to flee their homes with their families to work in the fields, they avoid any mention of their privileged past to avoid the death sentence imposed on the “educated” ing. Lun Ung had to endure horrors beyond her imagination, including the murder of her family, forced labor, attempted rape, and training in the “arts of war.” All this happened before puberty started. For anyone who wants to understand Cambodia, this book is a must-read as it provides insight into the indiscriminate destruction wrought by the Khmer Rouge. The wanton torture and murder of women, children, and babies, bodies carelessly thrown into deep pits and rediscovered years later, are all vividly recreated in this book.
Amy says: A thousand glorious suns
Written by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns is an important and shocking book that does not shy away from suffering and brutality. But the narrative momentum and three-dimensional, believable characters mean you won’t be able to let go.
The film tells the powerful and haunting story of Mariam and Laila, two women brought together by their suffering in Afghanistan. Mariam was forced to marry a man she did not love by her absentee father. Tragedy befalls her family as her husband Rasheed becomes violent and oppressive and Mariam is unable to bear children, and young Laila becomes his second wife.
But the book doesn’t immerse itself in its grim subject matter. Ultimately, this is a positive and redemptive story about Mariam and Laila’s powerful and conquering relationship, while also trying to shed light on the plight of women in similar circumstances.
If you’re looking for a heavier beach book and like The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, you’ll love this.
Monica says: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I don’t usually read books more than once. So the fact that he read The Night Circus three times should say a lot. Magical realism at its finest, telling the story of illusionists, magicians, and a traveling night circus. It’s dark and enchanting, a place where dreamers can wander into a labyrinth of mystery.
The story begins with rival magicians agreeing to a challenge to each train a young magician and compete to see who is the best trainer. The only problem is that he is the only one who can survive this challenge. The contestants don’t know their lives are in danger, but the plot takes a twist when they fall in love. The Night Circus provides a fascinating setting for his story of magical duality and unexpected love.
Char says “Big Little Lies
Written by Liane Moriarty
I’ve recently been avoiding reading books about hypnobirthing and reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. An addictive page-turner that will have you itching to read just one more chapter (and one more!). It has an engaging plot from the start, with a few twists and turns throughout.
The book centers on a group of Australian mothers and their young children. Don’t worry, it gets more exciting! Someone loses their life and the plot follows the events that lead to such a tragic ending for one character. Don’t just take my word for it. This title is a #1 New York Times bestseller and is featured in The Travel Hack and Girl Tweets World’s #TravelBookChat on his Twitter account.
It’s always difficult to find a comfortable position on a sun lounger with a book in hand, but this easy book will help you relax in no time.
Haley says: Notes from a small island
Written by Bill Bryson
I never get tired of reading Bill Bryson. No other writer has made me think about topics as much as he has, and certainly no other writer has kept me engaged through his wonderfully funny observational humor. My favorite Bryson book of all time is “Notes from a Small Island.” Based on his last solo trip within England before returning to America, he picks up hundreds of “Britishisms” that I took for granted. Marmite, village festivals, country lanes, people saying ‘you mustn’t complain’ and ‘I’m so sorry’, bottles of milk, beans on toast, nettles, seaside piers, crumpets and drizzling rain. Sunday…. If you’re from the UK, or just thinking of visiting, this is a must read. Oh, I’m feeling a little homesick.
Claire says: Shantaram
Written by Gregory David Roberts
“It took me a long time and most of my time to learn what I know about love and destiny and the choices we make, but the crux of it all came to me in a moment while I was chained to a wall and tortured. I understand.” And so begins Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram.
In the 1980s, Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India. ‘Shantaram’ is his story told in stunning beauty over 900 pages.
We follow Roberts into the glitzy heart of Bombay’s slums, where he sets up a free clinic, then into the underworld of Bombay’s mafia, and finally into Afghanistan, where he joins the Mujahideen.
I think everyone should read this huge book: gentle, vivid, and gritty at the same time. And I can’t wait for the sequel, The Mountain Shadow, to arrive later this year.
Mollie says: Wanderlust Magazine
I don’t read many books, but I love magazines. Wanderlust is my favorite item to add to my suitcase or carry-on for long trips. Packed with travel inspiration, photos, stories, news, reviews and interviews, it’s a must-have for any aspiring traveller. I’m always looking to plan my next adventure and give myself some fun. You’ll never run out of ideas thanks to Wanderlust mag. He only releases 8 issues in 2019, so it’s super exciting when it finally arrives in the post. Become an Insider and discover the most popular destinations, gadgets, and events around the world! Do you have a book to add to your summer reading list? Let us know in the comments below!