For some of us, summer vacation might be a summer staycation this year. But rest assured: Summer reading has not been canceled. If you can’t go to the beach, these books could bring the beach (read) to you.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
A large family getaway, an anniversary party, and a post-graduation celebration congregate at a Mediterranean seaside summer vacation home on the picturesque Spanish island of Mallorca. Naturally, not everyone is going to get along, but the relationships and rivalries never become overwhelming under the deft and droll pen of New York Times bestselling author and bookstore owner Emma Straub. (Bonus read: Straub’s latest book, All Adults Here, was published this month.)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Part epic travel journey, part mystic quest, the illustrious Brazilian author Paulo Coelho spins the tale of a young Andalusian shepherd, who after a recurring dream, makes the trip across North Africa to the Egyptian pyramids. By the book’s end, you’ll realize Coelho’s epic (albeit short in page-length) novel is more philosophical than plot-driven, inspiring the reader to search within (rather than elsewhere) to realize one’s destiny.
The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah
A must-read for Francophiles, oenophiles, historical fiction lovers, or anyone who longs to traipse through a vineyard in the late afternoon. Ann Mah’s charming novel is centered around a family-owned vineyard in Beaune, in the heart of France’s Burgundy region, flipping between two timelines—the Nazi occupation and present-day—with a mystery spanning generations that needs to be solved before time runs out.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This novel is like walking into a dreamy Instagram photo of Cinque Terre—specifically during the La Dolce Vita era (released in 1960) as the plot loosely centers around the filming of the Hollywood epic (but troubled production) of Cleopatra (released in 1963). Readers are transported between Golden Era Los Angeles, Rome, and a tiny, sunny (and fictional) village along Italy’s rugged coastline on the Ligurian Sea, with a mixture of fictional and real-life characters against the backdrop of one of the most expensive and chaotic movie productions in cinematic history.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, there are vampires in this book. But this might be, quite possibly, the most realistic take on the bloodthirsty, supernatural beings. Readers can look forward to be transported across time (primarily the 1950s through 1970s) and place (from American Ivy League campuses to Istanbul to southern France to sneaking behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War). History, fantasy, romance—there’s so much in this book, and yet it never feels overwhelming. It’s a thrilling rush from start to finish, and you’ll want to go back to the beginning all over again when you’re done.
The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang
With so many flights grounded, canceled, and even potentially crowded, this could be the summer of the road trip for anyone still making an attempt at travel. Bringing readers all the way back to the last financial crisis, Jade Chang’s …read more