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Best Beach Reads for Your Summer Getaway

Best Beach Reads for Your Summer Getaway

SUMMER 2016 is on the horizon and I’ve stacked up the best beach reads for your summer getaway. From cathartic binge-eating in Chengdu to a road trip gone awry around Brazil with a love-struck stalker, there’s something on this summer reading list for all types of travelers to keep you intrigued long after the sun sets.
SCROLL DOWN FOR OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!

best beach reads

IF YOU’RE AN EMOTIONAL EATER, TRY… DOUBLE CUP LOVE BY EDDIE HUANG

Off the success of his first memoir “Fresh Off The Boat,” food personality Eddie Huang delivers another serving of soul food in the next of his existential contemplations entitled “Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China.” After the mounting pressures of fame and a newfound love cause him to break, Huang journeys to China to find some answers about his heritage and himself, in where else, but a kitchen.

best beach reads

IF YOU’RE KIND OF A CLUTZ ON THE ROAD, TRY… IT’S ONLY THE HIMALAYAS BY S. BEDFORD

For anyone who has every been backpacking, you know that its anything but a vacation. Backpacking is rough, even awkward at times and that’s exactly the kind of stuff S. Bedford writes about in her humorous narrative on her year-long misadventures around the world. As an overly confident backpacker, she finds herself suffering from some serious miscalculations. Whether she’s blundering along the Annapurna or running away from a pack of ravenous lions, you’ll be laughing away at her traveling blooper reel.

best beach reads

IF YOU SUFFER FROM FERNWEH, TRY… CITIES I’VE NEVER LIVED IN BY SARA MAJKA

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.” A collection of prose captures the aforementioned maxim in a series of short stories. Through the eyes of a recent divorcée, her analysis of the growing space between the public and private sectors of her life and the aching nostalgia for the have beens and the what ifs is something each of us can relate to.

best beach reads

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE NEXT ‘GONE GIRL’, TRY… PERFECT DAYS BY RAPHAEL MONTES

Critically-acclaimed Brazilian author makes her English debut with this chilling tale. The story follows Teo, a man with a dark, twisted obsession. The object of his affection is the beautiful Clarice, a screenwriter working on a play about an epic road trip around Brazil. In the wake of his rejection, Teo abducts Clarice and forces her to join him on a deranged odyssey, creepily similar to her screenplay, in the hopes that she’ll fall in love with him. Fasten your seatbelts guys, ’cause its one bumpy ride.

best beach reads

IF PICTURE BOOKS ARE *STILL* YOUR THING, TRY… DISPLACEMENT: A TRAVELOGUE BY LUCY KNISLEY

Bring out the tissue box for this one because this graphic novel will hit very close to home. The artist chronicles a heartfelt story of love and loneliness aboard a cruise ship with her elderly grandparents. Barely an adult herself, the up-close encounter with mortality as she plays caregiver to her ailing grandparents makes her grapple with her own primordial fears of death. But its not all doom and gloom. Interwoven into her memoir are memories of her grandparents at their prime. It’s an exquisite read and should inspire you to follow her other travelogues.

best beach reads

IF HIDDEN FAMILY SECRETS INTRIGUE YOU, TRY… THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER BY PHAEDRA PATRICK

Another read with a geriatric tone, but this one is more about discovery and less about nostalgia. 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is content living in his world of routines. On the one year anniversary of his wife’s death, he comes across a charm bracelet belonging to his wife that is the key to unlocking the secrets of her past-life never revealed to him. A quest for enlightenment takes him out of his dreary existence, to the farthest reaches of India. It portrays grief as a journey that is as revealing as any far-flung escapade.

best beach reads

IF YOU WISH TRAVEL SEARCH ENGINES COULD BE SORTED BY MOOD, TRY… THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS BY ERIC WEINER

Using creativity as his compass, Eric Weiner continues his pursuit of higher knowledge in the follow-up to “The Geography of Bliss.” This new discourse has him charting the hotspots of creative activity, not only across the globe, but through the annals of time. Ancient Athens, Renaissance Florence, The Song Dynasty… all the way up to the present-day examining Silocon Valley, there’s no stone left unturned. What is unmasked in the process are the origins of our genius and culture’s role in cultivating said intellect.

best beach reads

IF THE MIDDLE EAST INTIMIDATES YOU, TRY… STRANGERS ARE ALL KIN BY ZORA O’NEILL

They say that Arabic takes seven years to learn and a lifetime to master.  Armed with her insatiable fascination of the Arabic language, O’Neill commits to full language immersion journeying to the likes of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Morocco to acquire fluency. During her immersive education, she gains access to the rich history and culture of the region through its words. Her pursuit of knowledge is an invaluable lesson of perseverance and of understanding.

best beach reads

IF YOU’RE INTRIGUED BY THE NYC FOOD SCENE , TRY… FOOD AND THE CITY BY INA YALOF

From the creation of cronuts to the merger of Japanese and Jewish, New York’s dynamic food culture continues to set the tone for “what’s cool” in the food world of today. But who are the people responsible for the countless hours of hard work needed to fuel this booming economy of consumption? Ina Yalof’s gives us a backstage pass to the kitchen, compiling the accounts of professional chefs, restauranteurs, line cooks, and street vendors who teach us that behind every dish, there is always more than meets the eye.

best beach reads

IF YOU HAVE A SUPERSTITIOUS SIDE, TRY… A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON BY SAMANTHA MABRY

Staged in the lush tropics of Puerto Rico is a modern day mystery surrounding a supposedly cursed girl and the boy who falls under her spell. When Lucas’ new girlfriend disappears, he turns to the mysterious Isabel to find some answers. The more time he spends with her, the more he recognizes the peril he might be in. While the fantastical romance might be more suitable for a younger demographic, the underlying motif of race, identity, and power will speak to all ages.

best beach reads

IF MASTERING MANDARIN IS ON THE BUCKET LIST, TRY… MOTHER TONGUE BY CHRISTINE GILBERT

The mother becomes the pupil in this memoir of one woman’s journey around the world with a family in tow. As she attempts to rear a child in her native English, she is simultaneous forced to relearn the unfamiliar languages of her temporary homesteads.  From Chiang Mai to Cyprus, Beirut to Beijing, surviving the pitfalls of language barriers makes motherhood even more of a mission than it already is.

best beach reads

IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF FATE, TRY… HOMEGOING BY YAA GYASI

Yaa Gyasi steps into the literary world with a magnificent, ambitious debut that spans time and space. Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, live worlds apart in eighteenth-century Ghana despite their common lineage. While Effia becomes the matriarch of the Cape Coast Castle as the wife of a wealthy Englishman, unbeknownst to her, her sister Esi languishes in the castle’s dungeon awaiting a sorrowful fate of slavery. Honing in on the destinies of both women’s predecessors, Gyasi gives voice to a narrative that has long been silenced.

best beach reads

IF YOU ENDORSE THE SCANDINAVIAN WAY OF LIFE, TRY… THE NORDIC THEORY OF EVERYTHING BY ANU PARTANEN

A comparative dissection between American and Nordic lifestyles by Finnish journalist Anu Partanen reveals the destabilizing fears of participating in the pressure-filled American society. From worrisome conversations about the most basic human rights such as healthcare, childcare, and education, Partanen takes a look at the four key relationships — parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens — to bring to light the frailty of the American Dream.

best beach reads

IF THE THE IDEA OF BEING A RENEGADE EXCITES YOU, TRY… THE FUNNIEST/WORST PLACE ON EARTH BY WENDY E. SIMMONS

From serious human rights violations to constant threats of nuclear strikes, broadcasts about North Korea’s ill-repute are world-renowned. For Wendy Simmons, it was all about seeing what was behind closed doors (despite the country’s notoriety for detaining tourists.) Initial amusement with the absurdity of the idea of North Korean tourist quickly becomes frustration and growing paranoia as she deals with the “scariest place on earth.” Luckily her humor remains intact throughout the whole ordeal.

best beach reads

TWO LUCKY READERS WILL GET ONE LISTED BOOK OF THEIR CHOICE. CONTEST ENDS SUNDAY, JUNE 26TH, 9 pm EST. WINNER TO BE ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING MONDAY. ENTER NOW!

Open to all residents worldwide. Winner receives either a hard copy or an electronic edition of book, subject to availability and postal conditions. Multiple entries encouraged. Must be willing to offer valid mailing address to received hard copy. Prize is transferable. Cannot be exchanged for cash money. For any questions, please contact me here.

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Izzy Pulido is a Bostonian by way of the Philippines who loves to vagabond. At twenty-seven, she's traded in gallivanting around Europe for the 9-to-5 grind... but don't count out the vagabonding! With a new long distance relationship, she's bringing American travel to the forefront. She lives for good times, good food, and good peeps.

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  1. I’ve had my eye on The Funniest/Worst Place on Earth for a while. I’ve got Modern Romance going right now… for a light read, its really informative!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      I am in the midst of Modern Romance myself. I love the lightheartedness to the quantitative heavy content plus its super relevant for all of us living in this day and age 😉

  2. I love cooking and trying new foods, so FOOD AND THE CITY BY INA YALOF really caught my attention. Thank you for the great selections 🙂

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      I wish I was a better cook but theres nothing I love more than good eats so thats why I added this selection. I dont think that title has actually been released yet but you should pre-order it!

  3. These all look like great recommendations and all titles that I am not familiar with. I recently read “Gone Girl” and the two other novels by Gillian Flynn so I would probably enjoy “Perfect Days” from this list. A bonus that the author is from Brazil too!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Are your Brazilian too? Yea Perfect Days I heard is in league with Gillian Flynn so I’m sure you would enjoy it as well 🙂

  4. Megan Indoe

    16 June

    OMG I love this post! I want to read all of these books! They all sound like great suggestions and I haven’t read a single one! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that tropical leafy background you have with each book! Again, you’re graphics amaze me!!! I HOPE I WIN!!!! If not, I think I will be purchasing these books on my own anyways! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such an awesome list!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Good fonts and good backgrounds always help out with graphic displays 😉 Just one more tip for you! And you must be so excited that once youre home, you’ll be able to go to a Barnes and Noble and pick any of these titles up and omg, Amazon packages again! Gotta love online shopping hehe

  5. Am I the only person who doesn’t know what “Double Cup Love” means from Drake’s first big hit? :$ Fernweh, Hidden Family Secrets, and learning Chinese ALL describe me and my interests! I have no idea which I would pick, but there are several on my list I’d LOVE to try out!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Glad you know what Fernweh means though! I don’t think you’re as clueless as you make yourself out to be (Haha I have no idea what double cup love means either?!?! I have to go google that Drake reference right now!) 😛

  6. Great list, I always crave for reading during travel. Strangers are all kin looks very interesting. Putting it on my reading list!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      While I’m traveling, I especially like to read travelogues. It just resonates so much more with your surroundings!

  7. Kerri

    16 June

    I get so slack at reading books these days because I spend so much time on line 🙂 Great list and a whole pile of titles I have never seen. The food related one appeals to me.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Haha I can relate too 😛 If I wasn’t blogging so much, I’d definitely be reading more. Food reads are my favorite!

  8. Laura Nalin

    16 June

    Obsessed with this! I am always looking for new books to read and I’ll certainly be checking these out! I’m definitely going to be entering – feelin’ lucky! 😉 Great post with AMAZING graphics as always. I’m seriously obsessed.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      I’m crossing my fingers for you chica! Hopefully you get it but hey, the real prize is having new books to read especially for someone on a yearlong backpacking excursion 😛

  9. Dajana

    16 June

    I LOOOOVE your blog and I LOVE this post!!! Really, it’s amazing. I enjoy your posts so much. They’re not just interesting and fun to read, but always incredibly creative with a unique design as well! <3 All of these books sound amazing, it'd be really hard to choose! Though I'm sure I'd eventually pick "Perfect Days"… I mean… we both know I'm madly in love with Brazil 😀
    Thank you so much for this list of great books (even if I don't win, I think I'll end up buying them anyway), for always making me smile with your stories and adventures and for simply being an amazing friend! Even if we live thousands of miles apart, haven't seen each other in years or haven't talked in a really long time – you'll always be an important and special part of my life, and I cherish all the great memories we have together (like riding an elephant together, singing 'Zombie' with locals on Khao San Road, bubble bath parties on rotary trips and buying 'beauty drinks' at 7-11 in the middle of the night – in PJs!)! Love you always <3

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Awww girl thank you for the overwhelming amount of love! I feel it all! Haha of course you would love the Perfect Days pick. I remember we would always swap book picks when we were on exchange in Thailand. That Angelina Jolie diary is still one of my favorite books todte. Yes I know what you mean, its so hard to not get nostalgic when there have been so many great memories between us. Thank you for your constant support, I will treasure our friendship forever!

  10. Shirgie Scf

    16 June

    Interesting book. I would love to have any of the books mentioned in this post. I want to take the book to Daechon Beach in Korea. I think any of the books is good to read while camping at the seaside. And hey, I joined the raffle. 🙂

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Thanks for entering Shirgie. Daechon would be a good place to read it and definitely a must take when camping since theres so many opportunities to relax.

  11. Daniela N

    16 June

    I`m an avid reader but it seems like I haven`t read a single book from your list… and this needs to be corrected right away!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Oooh don’t get discouraged! All these books are new releases hence why you probably haven’t picked up any of these reads 😛 But summer has just started so you have time to get a move on them!

  12. Hanani

    16 June

    Great recommendations, Izzy! I’ve been eyeing Cities I’ve Never Lived In since a while now but I couldn’t find it in my fav bookstore here (I’m summer vacation-ing in KL now). But if I were to be honest, I WANT TO READ ALL OF THEM!!!
    Thank you again for sharing. Great post as usual.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      KL has the best bookstores in Southeast Asia! I’m sure they would order it for you if they didn’t stock them. And you should read them all! There honestly isn’t one title I would miss on this post. Thanks for the love Hanani, very much appreciated 🙂

  13. Andrea Pulido

    16 June

    Crossing my fingers for The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper or Homegoing and if I don’t win, then you know what to get me for Christmas 😛

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      aha yes i absolutely will get these for you if you don’t win 😉 glad to see you’re reading a lot sis!

  14. Jackie

    16 June

    I want them all! As a mom of two I don’t really get to go out much, so I would take these to my lovely couch and read them while the kids are playing by themselves, then continue while they’re asleep and then continue during my bathroom breaks! Lol

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Awww so cute to hear how you would carve out time to get these reads done while raising two young ones. Bravo on being a beast mom! And of course you want to read the Mother Tongue one haha! I will have to bookmark your post when its time for me to rear my own children since I’d like for them to be able to speak Tagalog too! Glad to hear you would have so many books to choose from if you won!

  15. Jackie

    16 June

    Oh crap, I have to choose! All right then, my top choices would be MOTHER TONGUE BY CHRISTINE GILBERT (just because I’m teaching my kids in multiple languages at the moment, and here’s proof in a post! Lol http://www.bringinguptheparks.com/?p=4930) and the Holiday in North Korea. Oh my gosh I want these books!! If not then THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER BY PHAEDRA PATRICK and DOUBLE CUP LOVE (I’m in China, the second book’s perfect for me!) Or THE GEOGRAPHY OF GENIUS BY ERIC WEINER. I hope I win! <3<3

  16. Cynthia

    17 June

    This is such an awesome book list! I entered the giveaway a few ways! If I win, I’d love to read it on plane or train journeys when I backpack Europe this summer!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Thanks girl! I’m crossing my fingers for you, I know that would be such a huge help to get some reading done while your backpacking. Theres so much downtime while plane-ing/train-ing 😛

  17. Cait

    17 June

    Beautiful post Izzy!! As always visually appealing, extremely well written and intriguing!! I will fa sho be checking my library’s archives to see if they have any of these available in an ebook (you know how I do with that library card!! 😉 Jer and I are gonna visit Koh Rong Samloam next month for our mid-semester break and I can visualize myself beach-side, reading any one of these. 🙂 Thank you for sharing pretty lady!!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Haha I already put tons of these titles on hold at the Seattle Public Library so you’re gonna have to wait your turn after me 😛 I totally jest! This library card stuff is addicting! And Tim’s most favorite place in the world is Koh Rong! So jealous, enjoy you that special time. Thank you for always being someone I can share my books with <3

  18. I am not much of a reader unless it is short essays, blog posts, articles, etc. If I’m at the beach, I’d rather be in the ocean or kayaking or going on adventures. I can’t sit still.

    Love the pictures though. Nicely laid out article.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      One of my siblings is very specific with her reads as well, shes a short essays and magazine type person. But at least you are still exerting your mind with those kinds of reads! And you have a good reason as staying active takes priority for you. Thank you for the compliments shayan 🙂

  19. I just finished It’ Only The Himalyas By S. BEDFORD. Her book is so hilarious, I love that it’s on your list.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Ahhh I have to get to it soon! I’ve only heard good things about the book (hence why its on my list) 😛

  20. Janna

    17 June

    Ooh lots of interesting books to try here. I haven’t read any new ones lately so this definitely helps since summer is finally here and I need some company during a relaxing day at the beach.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Most of these are brand new so if youre on the lookout for something fresh, you’re in good company 😉

  21. I’ve just added most of these books to my to-read list! Some I’d heard about (like Mother Tongue), and others I now can’t wait to read (like All Strangers Are Kin). I’d take my book with me to Central Park on a lazy summer Saturday right here in NYC… reading outside in the sunshine is one of life’s great pleasures, I think!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Central Park in the summer is one of the best places to get reading done. I am so jealous that’s where you’d take your book! Reading outside in the sunshine is one of life’s great pleasures, totally agreed!

  22. Wendy

    19 June

    You’re a big reader, Izzy! This is an extensive lift but if i am to choose i’ll go first for Perfect Days and Homecoming. I admire you more with your every post!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      What a compliment, thank you Wendy. This is just a wishlist for me so don’t think I got to all of them but I will one day soon 😉

  23. What an informative post! I love your preambles to each book and holly crap you’ve got some diverse interests if you’ve truly read them all! good for you! Just curious, do you typically buy your books, listen to audibles, rent ebooks and how do you come across a new find? Looking forward to the contest results!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Awww thanks for noticing the preambles, it took a lot of time forming the text for this. And most of these books just came out but they are all on my to-do list. I spend a lot of time scouring the internet but I subscribe to tons of lifestyle sites’ newsletters which is how I come across most of these titles And I also have library card access to Seattle Public Library’s digital library which has the largest collection of digital loans in the world so thats how I get to read a lot! 😀

  24. Roxy Hutton

    20 June

    Izzy! Your blog graphics are always SOOO awesome! You really have a great sense of style and I love seeing how you create each posts graphics to be suited to the theme of the post!
    This is SUCH a great lost of books, and I am especially intrigued by Perfect Days!
    Thank you for all the great suggestions! x

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Thank you so much! I think I’ve been stressing that the blog doesn’t have a uniform brand but its true, I like the graphics to match the theme. Its all about personalization for me. You just like Perfect Days cause its Pink hehe 😛 No it looks like an awesome read!

  25. Linda

    20 June

    I love this! And boy the way you took photos of those books is awesome! did you set them up on a beach towel? The lighting is great! so jealous! I’d love to win a book featured here! I read way too little and am working on this at the moment during my 3 month “inspirational” break haha.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Actually that photo with the books on the towel is just a photoshop manipulation! The original photo comes from Fodors. I hear you, making time for reading is so hard when there are a million and one other things to take care of (especially for bloggers!)

  26. Chelsea

    20 June

    Izzy strikes again with another awesome post! I made it a priority to get into the habit of reading again. As a fresh graduate, I feel conditioned to still see reading as an unpleasant and stressful experience. Then again, this is from your all-nighter all star who crams an entire semester in her brain the night, or two if lucky, before an exam. Anyway, “Cities I’ve Never Lived In” and “Strangers Are All Kin” intrigue me from your list. Now I know why you have such a way with your words! I’m currently acting on my goal and am in the midst of reading Paulo Coelho’s “Veronica Decides To Die”. Ironically, both the book and the accomplished feeling of reading is giving me LIFE. And again, your graphics on your posts are phenomenal. Literally, blog #goals. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW JOB IZZY! Your hard work and passion for writing and graphics does not go unnoticed and you’re work ethic is truly motivating! Thank you for the suggestions, motivations, words – EVERYTHING!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Damn Chels, you are giving me all the feels!! Thank you so much for being so supportive of the blog. I know what you mean, right after I graduated, I had no motivation to read because I associated it to something so tedious but its been three years since I graduated and I miss learning so reading is the only way I really get to tap into that knowledge base again. I think that reading has helped me to shape my writing style too so I appreciate you pointing that out, that’s so cool! Paulo Coehlo, what an amazing amazing author. Thank you so much for making me feel so good about life, seriously cannot thank you enough for the confidence boost 😀

  27. Karen

    21 June

    I love this list. I would love to win a book! I’d take it to Maine this summer to read by the water.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      I’m from Boston so I totally understand why you’d wanna read this oceanside in Maine. So lucky! Missing those lobster rolls like whoaaa!

  28. don

    21 June

    Thanks for the list. I’ve read…. none of them. The Himalayas one sounds the most interesting to me and of course the funniest/scariest place on Earth since I live in South Korea. I’ll be sure to try check them out!

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Haha Don, its totally understandable you haven’t read any of these pieces. They were just released! But yea the North Korean read intrigues me too because of our South Korean expat-ing.

  29. This list is great! I love travel and location-based books. If I win, I plan to read it overlooking the hot springs in Glenwood, Colorado this summer.

    • Izzy Pulido

      26 June

      Location-based books are so great right? Makes you feel like you are actually traveling without spending the big bucks. Hot springs sound fun! Thanks for entering!

  30. Great list! I am always looking for new books to read. We have some upcoming trips that I could use some new book ideas. You site is great by the way! I love how fun and exciting you make travel!

  31. […] With summer well underway and the amount of beach days slowly dwindling, there’s no better time to crack open this season’s best literary newcomers. Even if you can’t squeeze a vacation in with the few remaining days, this reading list will do the job of whisking you away and make you feel as if you’ve traveled long and far. From conquering fears of the ocean deep to unmasking with the inner lives of India’s nouveau-riche, there’s a story for every type of traveler. For my 2016 list, click here. […]

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