Of course, you’ve traveled far away and you want to see it all, but who doesn’t enjoy a little down time on a trip? Grab one of these books to read on vacation (in paperback or digital version of course) and head over to a shady spot on the beach, or anywhere really and dive in! Oh, and as great a book as it is, don’t worry 1984 didn’t make the cut.
1. GUADALAJARA BY QUIM MONZÓ
A hidden gem. This Catalan author’s compilation of quirky short stories makes the top of the list! This collection of entertaining five to ten page stories are perfect for those tiresome moments waiting at the airport or before going to bed at night, although, let me tell you, he has quite the imagination and deserves the title as king of suspense and the open ending. Monzó manages to keep readers guessing until the very end and then some and produces the kind of stories that stick with you for days. Some of my favorites are “Lives of the Prophets”, “Outside the Gates of Troy” and “Literature”. His other books, Gasoline and A Thousand Morons have also gained worldwide acclaim.
2. THE GIVER QUARTET BY LOIS LOWRY
Okay, it’s actually four books, but they are all amazing, quick reads that are worth your time. The Giver and later the following, Gathering Blue, The Messenger and Son are all set in the same dystopian world but follow separate protagonists. These books are wonderful and I’m a bit sad that I read them for the first time when I was already an adult. Throughout his series, Lowry stresses the importance of individuality, embracing our past and encourages us to follow our own path in life even if they may be a difficult one.
“We’re the ones who will fill in the blank places. Maybe we can make it different.”
-Lois Lowry, Gathering Blue
3. THE ALCHEMIST BY PAULO COELHO
Or really, any of his works! I read this book during a road trip in California and it has remained one of my favorites till this day. Coelho’s simple yet powerful prose focuses on faith, introspection and the importance of the journey you take and those you meet along the way to accomplishing your dreams. The Alchemist has garnered a large following over the years, leaving you uplifted with the feeling that you can go out there and take the world by the balls!
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
4. THE LITTLE PRINCE BY ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY
Yes, it’s for children, but the story resounds with all ages. The tale encompasses the narrator’s journey and his encounter with the little prince who describes his tales of exploration and adventure. For an extra challenge, try practicing that foreign language from high school and read it in its original language, French!
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. . .”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
5. EAT, PRAY, LOVE BY ELIZABETH GILBERT
I had to include at least one easy summer read to be enjoyed poolside and this is it. If you’ve watched the movie, but haven’t read the book, I can assure you the book is much better! Although, who doesn’t love Javier Bardem, right? Aimed towards female readers, Eat, Pray, Love is the memoir of Gilbert’s travels through Italy, India and Indonesia where she hopes to discover happiness, meaning and balance in her life.