How To: 12 suggestions for Picking Summer Reading

Reading on the Beach

When I reviewed a wonderful but slightly challenging book recently, several of the readers commented that they wanted something to read this summer that did not take a lot of brain power.   We aim to please.

I have read all of these suggested books and reviewed all but one during 2012 (or December 2011).  They should fit lots of different reading preferences, but they have in common that they are not mentally taxing. And of course, if they are set in the location in which you are vacationing, so much the better!

I Have Iraq in my Shoe by Gretchen Berg. Perfect comic-memoir summer read because it deals with fashion and a self-centered American teaching English in Kurdistan. Not a serious bone in its body. (reviewed here)

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline. A light mystery featuring a Mom with impulse control and detachment problems. Set in Pennsylvania, outside Philly. (reviewed here)

Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Carrell. Delightful mystery based on lots of Shakespeare scholarship, set in London and Harvard and the Southwestern U.S. (reviewed here)

The Expats by Chris Pavone A mystery thriller centered around expat families in Luxembourg. Now, how many times do you find a novel set in that country? (reviewed here)

Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day by Doug Mack. Particularly fun if you’re a flexible traveler, heading to Europe, or have nostalgia for the old $5 a Day books.  (reviewed here)

Waterfall, from the River of Time Trilogy by Lisa T. Bergeren A Young Adult novel that takes place in Italy. Guaranteed to create a travel itch. (reviewed here by Jennifer close)

White Truffles in Winter by N. M. Kelby Beautifully written, the fictionalized life of the great chef Escoffier will have you planning an expedition to French resorts and 3* restaurants. (reviewed here)

P.O. Box Love by Paolo Calvetti I read this in an on-line review copy, but kept wanting a copy I could refer back to on my book shelf. This is a love story for book lovers that takes place in Milan. (reviewed here)

The Lost Artist by Gail Lukasik.  This mystery novel is a quick, fun read, although not a literary gem. Rose wants to sell her dead sister’s dilapidated farmhouse in southern Illinois, but discovers a mystery surrounding a mural in an upstairs room that leads her to believe her sister was murdered.  The plot includes flashbacks to the 1800’s and the Cherokee Trail of Tears, plus other sometimes extraneous historical incidents. (unreviewed)

Letter From a Stranger by Barbara Bradford Taylor.  I reviewed this book from an audio book version, and the wildly popular Taylor is just not my style.  If you like her upscale romance novels and want to read something set in Istanbul, however, Letter from a Stranger provides a non-demanding diversion. (reviewed here)

 Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly.  A light mystery perfect for summer reading or listening, because it revolves around a summer visitor town. Especially if you’re heading for a lakeside town in Michigan, where it is set. (reviewed here)

FINAL TIP: When you get to your destination, seek out a local bookstore, and ask the owner for recommendations of books by local authors. Chances are there’s a local who writes mystery novels or romances set right there where you’re standing.  I have had good luck doing that in many locations, including in Crete, Greece where I found an English-language novel about local archaeological digs set in the 1920’s. Surprisingly, I have not found locally-penned books set in San Diego, California. Do you know of any? That’s where I really need a beach read!


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

8 thoughts on “How To: 12 suggestions for Picking Summer Reading

  1. I enjoyed this list and am adding several to my ebook queue. Great tip about visiting local bookstores during your travels. It is definitely a way to read a local take on a destination.

  2. Thanks for the list. I thought I might add a technical discussion. At one time books meant paper, and your photo of course reflects that. Today however you have basically three ways to consume a book — on paper, electronic on your smartphone or tablet, or audio. Normally I suggest electronic books, particularly for travelers, since they are very portable. However, if you envision yourself reading on the beach, that is probably not a good choice. computer screens tend to wash out in bright sunlight, becoming unreadable. On the other hand paper books printed on bright white paper also can be difficult to read because of the glare. That leaves recorded books, for instance from or the Apple iPod bookstore. You can listen to them driving to the beach, on the beach, while walking, or just about anyplace else. I usually prefer reading to listening, but in this case I think I would go for the recording.

    1. Agree, Bert. And I need to emphasize my recent statement that unless other indicated, everything I discuss is available in e-book. Several of the books on this list were sent to me in audio form.

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