Monday, July 8, 2013

What To Read on Vacation

One of the things I always agonize about when preparing for a vacation trip is which books to take along. 

I'm not a sit-on-the-beach person, so I'm usually reading for relatively short periods of time, or when I'm very tired. Obviously, any book has to be interesting and hold my attention, but vacation reads mustn't have plots that are so complex that I have to go back a chapter or two to remember what's going on. 

 I think the perfect books for this situation are light mysteries, ideally with some humor, like Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, which I reviewed here a few months ago (clicking on the title will link you to my review).  

Rereading old favorites also works.  Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Ngaio Marsh all wrote mysteries that were enjoyable, non-demanding reads.  Additionally, many of these involve excursions or vacations, which kind of doubles the fun! 

If you are a beach reader, perhaps a book that takes place in the winter will keep you cool, such as Jenny Milchman's  Cover of Snow

If your vacation involves a lot of driving, give audio-books a try.  I recently listened to The Boyfriend by Thomas Perry going back and forth from work, and it was wonderful. 

Apart from mysteries, travelogues are a lot of fun to listen to on trips, again, "doubling the fun".  Some years ago, my husband and I listened to Bill Bryson's tales of his tour of /Australia, In a Sunburned Country and laughed for a good portion of the drive.  This year, we're going to try Peter Mayle's Provence books.
I'd love to hear some readers' recommendations for vacation reading.


  1. I haven't been on vacation in six years...but the last time I was, I remember reading one of the early Stephanie Plum books by the pool and enjoying it very much. You're right about needing something light and linear, so you can pick right up in short bursts.

  2. I agree with L.J. about needing something light and easy. I'm thinking Kinsey Milhone would be pretty easy to hang out with or V.I. Warshawski.

  3. I'm not a beach or pool person and don't usually read on vacation, I'm too busy sight-seeing. If I were to take a vacay read, it'd likely be a travel book for the area/country I'm visiting.

  4. Good suggestions, Marlyn! I like Janet Evanovich's books for light, fun summer reading.

  5. My family takes a week every year to go up to the Las Plumas National Forest (two hours northwest of Truckee, California), and I always consider this my main reading time for the year. This time, I read four books while enjoying the view. Enjoyed them all!

    1. You didn't tell us what those four books were, Gayle!

    2. Hee hee I'm quite the tease, yes? The four books were:

      Justice Incarnate by Regan Black
      Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt
      The Vegas Knock Out by Tom Schreck
      Stone Cold by Jenny Hilborne


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