Deciding what to pack for your vacation is one fraught with weighty decisions: hmmm, should I pack my black tight mini dress for the evening, or should I go with the pink, really tight one instead? However, when it comes to books it’s more a question of whether to get swept away by a lighthearted novella, or whether to brush up on the classics. But you’re on vacation—no one’s judging you—so why not pack something that you will actually read. The subject matter of reading is one that is very close to our hearts. We realize that with all the choices on television and the internet people spend less time reading and it’s a pity. When we’re not busy with our daily tasks of running the business, we are either traveling or playing around on the beach, so either way there is always going to be time to catch up on our reading. When it comes to choosing what to read, it’s tough because there are so many different genres to choose from, but the bottom line is that each successful book choice makes you want to repeat the pleasurable experience by reading something further. Here’s a partial list of books that we have found interesting, perhaps you will find pleasure in reading some of them as well. Choose any one of them and let your imagination fly:

The Vacationers by Emma Straub is a fun novel about one family’s vacation to Mallorca and how vacation altered their relationship. It’s all about secrets, joy and jealousy, the ugly side of ourselves that we either choose to show or hide and the bonds that ultimately hold us together.

The One and Only by Emily Giffin is a story of love and loyalty about thirty something Shea Rigsby who’s spent her entire life in Walker, Texas; a town that lives and dies for football. Shea is too devoted to her town to leave but then an unexpected tragedy strikes the community and everything falls apart, including Shea’s cozy life as she knew it. She discovers new truths about the people with whom she shares her town, and wonders whether she’s chosen the right path, whether she had made a mistake by never leaving home. This story is all about finding your passion.

Springtime by Michelle de Kretser, the protagonist of this story, Frances, and her partner, Charlie, move from Melbourne to Sydney. Frances, having taken up a research fellowship at the University of Sydney to study objects in eighteenth-century French paintings, splits her time between writing and taking her frightened bull-terrier, Rod, for walks. Whilst walking her dog one afternoon, Frances sees a woman in a long, old-fashioned dress in an overgrown yard. Frances feels as if the world has altered in focus. But it has, anyway – Frances has moved to Sydney to be with Charlie, who has left his wife and son for her. The first flush of breathless romance is fading, and reality intruding, and the unsettling glimpses Frances has of the mysterious woman leave her more and more unsettled. A hauntingly beautiful novella.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. If you’ve read the Kite Runner or even watched the movie then you cannot afford not to read this book as well. His stories usually carry a multigenerational period and focus on themes relating to familial relationships, culture, religion. The focus of this particular story is about sibling relationships.

The Art of Floating by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is a great read with compelling characters and an intriguing story. When popular novelist Sia Dane’s life comes to a standstill after her husband disappears without a trace she can’t write any longer. She closes down her house and starts to drift. One year, one month and six days after her husband’s disappearance she discovers a mysterious man on the beach. He’s strange and unresponsive, but she is determined to help him anyway. Perhaps she can help someone who’s lost something she only wishes she had been able to do in her the case of her own missing husband. . . Sia slowly comes to realize that the leap between sorrow and healing must begin with a single step.

Yes Please by is a memoir written by comedian Amy Polar and it’s a compulsive read for anyone who’s found themselves fighting the body image demons or thinking they are unattractive, except Amy does so with such a comedic flair that it teaches you to look at the world in a completely different way.

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand is the story of a 48-year-old matchmaker who suddenly finds out that she is dying of a terminal disease yet she still goes out of her way to continue with her matchmaking skills. Though this time, it’s for her husband and a few other people whom she loves the most.

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes is a tale of nonstop suspense, about a terrorist who wants to destroy the United States and this of course leads to a brilliant and thrilling chase between the good guy and the bad guy with lots of extra side plots that are equally thrilling and tied in with main story.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is about marriage, but you certainly do not have to be married or experience marriage in order to be entertained by this book.  In a nutshell, this story is about one marriage gone terribly wrong. When Nick Dunne’s  wife Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, he is considered a suspect.  Is there need to expand here?

The Blessings by Elisa Juska explores the collective experiences, traditions and loyalties of a close-knit family and the perspectives of individual members as they journey through a span of 30 years. The big draw to this story is the beautifully written characters that unfold before us with all of their foibles and passions that you feel as though you could either be part of their family or that you actually know them.

Tash’s pick of the summer:

Crazy Is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg. In order for you to appreciate this book you have to understand the author’s background. Linda Rottenberg is the cofounder of Endeavor, a non-profit organization that focuses on fostering high impact entrepreneurs globally. What this means is that she helps people who possess skill and expertise, in any given field, to concentrate on a path that will lead them to success. Many times, people with skill have no clue how to create a business. With that said, her new book Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags incudes Linda’s personal journey to success. The bottom line here is that if you expect an easy ride and no failures along the way, then you are misleading yourself. “Distress is an opportunity” says Linda, and I’m sure that many who are going through the motions right now, perhaps finding themselves in a state of utter chaos, would feel a sense of relief knowing that there is still so much opportunity for success.

Devin’s pick of the summer:

Lost Girls, An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker is sad, but such an important read, especially in today’s society when stories of missing people are so common that we have become immune to them. Robert Kolker, a writer with New York Magazine, wants to know who killed five young women and why they died. But the murders are only part of his focus. Kolker seeks to understand the lives they lived, the struggles they endured and the motives that drove these working-class women to become prostitutes in the Internet era.


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