My husband has been super, crazy busy rolling out our new meal planning site (you can have a sneak peek here), and with two kids out of school, I decided my most essential role was to uphold some mellow calm over these past few months.
I decided to do something different this summer. Something I haven't done in way, way too long: RELAX. For me, relaxation + summer can mean only one thing: beach reads.
So rather than waking up at the crack of dawn to crank out one more blog post or staying up past my bedtime to stay on the pulse of social media, I unplugged – just a bit.
I've spent a luxurious number of days down on our local beaches. I've spent time cooking and chatting with my kids. And I've read books – real books with paper inside.
And I'm not talking about books about business or improving our food infrastructure: I've read fiction. Boy, how I've missed books and stories. I can just feel my creative brain cells drinking up the nectar, coming alive after a long dry spell in a desert of work, work, work.
While this list doesn't have much to do with food or holistic health, I thought I'd share my favorite beach reads of the summer – most suggested by friends, and a few that just fell into my hands. After all, a little R&R is sometimes just what the doctor (should have) ordered.
My Favorite Summer Beach Reads
Wild by Cheryl Strand
I gingerly started off my reading spree with this fun book that is not actually fiction. The true story of a young woman who ‘finds herself' while hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, this book was a pleasure to read and awoke a younger version of myself that can still imagine an adventure like that for myself one day.
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
This fascinating historical fiction, set in Hawaii at the turn of the 20th century, is surprisingly uplifting and hopeful despite it's seemingly depressing subject matter. The story follows a young girl that contracts leprosy and is sent to live on a leper colony, leaving her family behind but discovering a rich life despite everything.
One Day by David Nicholls
This book was an easy read, but I didn't truly appreciate the tortured love story til the end. There's a recent movie that's fun to watch afterwards too.
A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
A light but suspenseful love story, set in New England in the 1930's, this is the quintessential beach read that doesn't make you feel like you've wasted your time on a poorly written piece of junk.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
I confess, I didn't actually read this one in paper because I wanted something to entertain myself on my commute to and from my office. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this new novel that follows a group of friends from summer camp in the late 60's through their life experiences and evolving relationships with each other. The characters feel real and relatable and I felt like I was missing my friends when it was over.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
To be honest, I finished this book and felt a bit befuddled. But as the days wore on, I began to appreciate the ways it made me think and the ways it ruffled my feathers. Rich with symbolism and challenging ideas, after my initial reservations I definitely recommend this one.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
I have a soft spot for dystopian fiction. I love to think about the what-ifs of possible futures – fictional or real. This book was, by far, my favorite beach read so far this summer, and I devoured it in a day.
Told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl, this book reveals a not so distant future where we learn that earth is beginning to slow its turn on its axis – with days and nights growing longer with each revolution. All the while, the main character trys to get on with life as usual – going to school, navigating friendships, and falling in love. Absolutely great read.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I enjoyed Age of Miracles so much that I decided to delve into some classic dystopia fiction that I haven't yet read. First up was Fahrenheit 451 – that tells of a future where a fireman job is to burn books rather than to put out fires. Short and iconic, if you love these types of books and haven't read this one yet, you should.
What I'm reading next…
The Bees by Laline Paul
Though I've just started this new novel, I'm already loving the story of Flora – a sanitation bee living in a hive, discovering that she possesses special abilities that are both a gift and a curse. What a creative tale to tell, and so far, a pleasure to read.
The End of Eve by Ariel Gore
This very recent new release is the next book waiting on my nightstand, recommended by a dear friend with great taste. Have you read it? What did you think?
What beach reads have you loved that I should add this list?