If you’re anything like yours truly, a can’t-miss step while packing for your next trip is probably stocking up on books so you don’t run out of something to read, even when you’re on vacation. So, whether you’re looking for something light and breezy to read on the beach, or a more fast-paced novel to get you through an arduous airport wait, here are some recommendations for books to consider while packing.
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Possibly the most stereotypical kind of vacation read, contemporary literature – or more specifically, contemporary romance – is hard to miss on any holiday reading list. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is the second installment in her collection of adult romance standalones, titled The Kiss Quotient. Esme is offered an opportunity to help out with difficult circumstances at home by flying halfway across the world in order to meet, and possibly marry, Khai – a neurodiverse young man with problems of his own. Tensions arise, emotions are flung around, and it is up to Esme to figure out how to make Kai fall in love with her before her time in the States is up.
If you’re not a lover of fluffy romances but would like a romantic book or two by the beach nonetheless, consider picking up The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – funny, often poignant, and spiced up with some time travelling sci-fi.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
There isn’t a lot that has been left to say when it comes to Agatha Christie and her sheer literary prowess in penning one classic crime-mystery after the other. And There Were None follows ten seemingly unconnected guests who are invited by an eccentric millionaire for a weekend trip on a private island. But no one seems to know who the host is, and then the guests start dying one by one. “Before the weekend is out, there will be none,” reads the Goodreads synopsis, “And only the dead are above suspicion”.
If you enjoy the read, be sure to get tickets to a show of Open Space Theatre’s production of And Then There Were None at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Memoirs and Travelogues
If you’re travelling to places you’ve been before, and especially if there has been a significant time gap in between, it is likely that your trip will be interspersed with sudden, often inexplicably melancholic hits of nostalgia. It is to be anticipated, and maybe even welcomed. Even if you’re in a completely new place, there is a certain kinship to be found with authors who have somehow penned precisely what you’re experiencing when you’re driving down the roads of a country that simultaneously feels too far and too close to home. Memoirs and travelogues are difficult to prescribe because what you choose will often depend on where you’re going. As such, here are a number of recommendations:
Circe by Madelline Miller
Madeline Miller’s Circe is a raw and immensely powerful retelling of the myth of Circe – the goddess who turned all men that set foot on her island to swines, the witch who finally bowed to the mighty Odysseus. But who was she really, and did she really bow? Circe is a vital, compelling narrative spanning multiple events in ancient Greek mythology, complete with some of the most ethereal descriptions of the goddess, the witch, and the woman, travelling across monster-infested oceans and treading the halls of the gods. Circe’s story of constant betrayal, regret, redemption and reinvention is perhaps best read while on a more relaxed, introspective getaway.
If Greek mythology isn’t your jam, but you’d still love to pick up a read from this category, go ahead and try Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman. Then watch the movie.
The Travel-Along Literary Novel
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
If you’re looking for something much heavier than the other entries on this list, you can consider choosing something from the literary fiction genre. There may be a certain allure to tracing a renowned author’s tale of travel and intrigue across your own as you go through similar experiences and adventures on the road. Speaking of, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is replete with the jazz-filled ambience of the beatnik era, and the unrelenting spirit of adventure.
In a similar vein, Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day can also make for a great literary travel-read.