There’s no better time to sink into a good book than on your summer holiday. Imagine yourself by the pool, on the beach or sprawled on a rock overlooking the ocean; book in hand, straw hat perched on your head to shield you from the sun. Whether you get sucked into a page-turner that keeps you on the shore all day long, or you opt for a collection of short stories to read in between dips, books and summer go together like sea and sand.
If you’re slowing down the pace of your travels, a book (or three) will be even more handy. There’s a certain romance to travelling by train, perched in a window seat with a book in hand, or sitting outside a café engrossed in a novel. Slow travel is all about enjoying the little moments and stopping yourself from rushing around. Nothing commands stillness like a good book.
Here are our recommendations for books to take with you on your travels, including reads that will suck you in and those that you can dip in and out of as you please.
This is a book like no other; a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel. Lisa Taddeo spent eight years tracking the three women that she profiles, even moving to their towns to get a better insight into their lives. These three women are Maggie, who is pursuing a court case against a teacher she had a relationship with when she was younger; Lina who is in a sexless relationship embarking on an affair with her childhood sweetheart; and Sloane, whose husband likes to watch her having sex with other men and women. It’s a completely addictive read, even more so every time you remember that these are real women that you are reading about. You may not relate directly to the three stories, but there is something in there that will spark recognition in every woman.
Short stories are perfect for taking away on holiday, as you can dip in and out of them as you please. You may know Kristen Roupenian from ‘Cat Person’, her cult short story for the New Yorker. Her first collection of short stories is loosely themed around the ways that women can be horrifying and the horrors that are done to them. They may make you feel uncomfortable, but they might also spark understanding. The 12 stories span different genres with fairy tales and fantasy mixed among realistic tales that are just as frightening.
If you’re looking for a traditional beach read, a steamy romance that’s a light read, ‘The Pisces’ is the perfect choice. Narrated by Lucy, a down-in-her-luck love-addict house-sitting for her sister in Venice Beach, this is a story filled with humour and filthy sex scenes. Not for the faint of heart but perfect for anyone who loves an unconventional romance. To put things bluntly, this is a story about a girl who has an affair with a merman. It’s the kind of book that you want to read at the same time as your best friend, then discuss over dinner.
Anyone who loves a literary read but also enjoys a good crime story will no doubt already know Tana French’s name. The award-winning Irish author’s latest novel digs deeper than the simple mystery on its surface. This is a book that explores what we are capable of and how small moments can define our lives. All the makings of a classic crime thriller are there: a wounded protagonist, a house haunted by unreliable memories and past crimes resurfacing. This is a book that will have you rooted to your sun lounger all day.
Salt Slow is another short story collection that is perfect to enjoy in bite-sized chunks between swims and walks on holiday. Julia Armfield’s debut includes nine short stories that all feature the everyday blurring with fantasy. The stories read like myths with subtle lessons to be learnt, with bodies forming a loose theme throughout. Anyone who loved Daisy Johnson’s ‘Fen’ will delight in these subtly supernatural tales, fusing dark humour with a lyrical prose.
Writer, photographer and dreamer with an endless wanderlust.
Emma Lavelle has lived in the north of England all of her life, taking advantage of her location to explore as much of Europe as possible. Emma is a slow living enthusiast, writing about her quest for a slower life on her blog, Field + Nest, as well as for various online & print publications. She's also a keen photographer and has just started selling prints of her nature photography. Travel is a huge part of her life, although she's learning to slow it down and appreciate the smaller moments.