Whether you’re headed to the beach or are just lounging in your backyard hammock, summer is the perfect time to escape with a good book. Our summer reading list includes quintessential steamy beach reads and quirky family memoirs, but all of our picks also have us wanting to pack our bags for summer vacations of our own — from sexy Spanish beaches to the wild Amazon rainforest.

Family Drama Meets Sun-Drenched Spanish Beaches: “The Vacationers”

One of this summer’s most buzzed about books, Emma’s Straubs’ third novel follows an affluent and spiraling Manhattan family on their 2-week vacation on Balearic Island of Mallorca. Between tapas and tennis, family secrets are revealed and jealousies get as hot as the island’s white-sand beaches.

Putting the “Lust” in Wanderlust: “What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding”

TV comedy writer (That 70s Show and How I Met Your Mother) Kristin Newman’s hilarious and candid memoir is the perfect beachside companion. While her friends are getting married and settling down in their 20s and 30s, Newman is traversing the globe and mastering the art of “vacationships”  — sexy and short-lived romances with attractive strangers around the world.

Road Trippin’ With a Camp Legend: “Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America”

Follow camp icon John Waters, filmmaker of Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, as he hitchhikes cross-country from his hometown of Baltimore to San Francisco. No surprise that Waters’ misadventures on the road are as just as bizarre and outrageous as the cult legend’s iconic films. More surprising, though, is his sentimental nod to the generous American spirit he encounters on the road.

Family Vacations National Geographic-Style: “Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations”

Culture and food writer Nevin Martell chronicles his childhood adventures to far-flung locales in this quirky and humorous travel memoir. These aren’t your ordinary Disney trips — did your family vacations ever include owl hunting in the Azores or fishing for piranhas in the Amazon? Martells’ did.

For When the World Cup Is Over: “The Sun and Other Stars”

When World Cup fever cools down and you’re missing the games, curl up with this novel about life, death and, yes, soccer.  Set in a fictional sleepy town in the Italian Riviera, The Sun and Other Stars shows “calico” (soccer in Italian) as not only a town’s way of life, but also a source of hope for a man who lost his brother, a rising soccer star.




Summer, Travel Books

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Kathleen RellihanKathleen Rellihan is a digital producer, writer and editor for A Washington, DC, resident, Kathleen's love for adventure travel has inspired her to go dog sledding in Quebec, search...


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