Friday, September 12, 2008

Honeymoon books

Last week I took the plunge and bought a Kindle. I signed up for a new Amazon credit card at the time and got $100 off. And oh my god, was it ever worth the money. First of all, the books are cheaper ($10 max... and can you say $4 and change for the complete works of L.M. Montgomery? And yes, I do like reading Anne of Green Gables even though I'm 24) for the Kindle than in hard copy, so eventually, it'll pay for itself... right? And second of all, it's super convenient, and it definitely encourages me to read more. I've been reading every day on the bus, and I always have something to read when I have to wait, which is fabulous.

However, the real reason that I bought the Kindle is because of our upcoming honeymoon. Two weeks on the beach, no matter how romantic the trip, calls for many, many books--in my case, at least 20, and preferably more so that I have options for every mood. Buying and carrying that many books to the Dominican Republic was just not appealing, and the Kindle was designed for exactly that type of dilemma.

Now that I have it, I've started buying books for it. I got the latest Marian Keyes (love her!), the latest David Sedaris, one of Jen Lancaster's books, one of Emily Giffin's books, and a few others. But for one thing, I've read a few of them already, and for another, I need way more than that before we head off on our honeymoon.

So that's where you come in. What books do you recommend? Keep in mind that I'm looking mostly for beachy-type stuff (read: light-hearted but still well-written chick lit), but that's not an absolute requirement. What have you been reading that I absolutely need to read as well? And what are some of your favorite books overall?


  1. I'm rereading "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith right now. It's a light story about 17 year old girl who lives in a rundown castle with her family and also her experiences/confusions with first love. I'm pretty sure it's young adult fiction and it's pretty beachy in that it's a quick read.

    Started reading your blog a few weeks ago. I'm realy enjoying it.

  2. I'm in the middle of "The Lady Elizabeth" by Alison Weir. I know it's historical fiction, but don't let that fool you. This and "Innocent Traitor" are both fabulous reads. I read fairly quickly, and these take me just a few days if I have my evenings free to read them...and they have all the romance, intrigue, drama, etc that a good beach read would. I highly recommend them.

  3. I do like some of Sophie Kinsella's books (especially "Can You Keep a Secret" and "The Undomestic Goddess."

    Too bad you already mentioned Emily Griffin. . .she's one of my favorites.

  4. Delurking to recommend my latest favorite find - Lisa Lutz has written 2 books in what I hope becomes a long series. The first is called "The Spellman Files", and the second is "Curse of the Spellmans". They're perfect vacation/beach reads. Shameless plug: I posted about them in a little more detail right after I had read them -

  5. whoa! i have never even heard of a kindle - looks pretty impressive!

  6. Dude, have you read the Twilight books? Total beach reads.

  7. My favorite recent beach reads: "The Last Time I Was Me" by Cathy Lamb. I read it this summer and I think it's my favorite chick lit novel of all time. Light without being vapid. I also really liked her "Julia's Chocolates."

    "The Blue Bistro" and "Summer People"by Elin Hildenbrand. These are very light.

    Have you read any Jennifer Weiner? Alot of people were turned off by "In Her Shoes" but "Goodnight, Nobody" is FANTASTIC as is "Good in Bed." I also enjoyed the sequel, "Certain Girls."

    My favorite books for all time are The Great Gatsby, The Double Bind, and My Friend Leonard. Also really love anything Augesten Burroughs.

  8. My favorite book might be (I hate to claim just one) Two-Part Invention, which is a memoir by Madeleine L'Engle about her marriage. I hesitate to recommend it to people because I love it so much, but there it is. It may be a little much for your honeymoon, but file it away...

    For travel-type books, I've been recommending:

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
    The Time-Traveler's Wife

    And you can't really go wrong with P.G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, or Bill Bryson, I think.

    Good luck!

  9. (im not even sure i know what chic lit is?)
    Maybe books my Phillipa Gregory? I love her, its historical fiction, heavy on the historical.

    recently(ish) I have read and loved:

    The lovely bones.
    Flyboys (not the same as the movie)

  10. Ohhhh, I have been drooling over the Kindle and been seriously considering it. Its great to hear a mini-review! Book, I'll get back to you on that. :-)

  11. Don't know which Emily Giffin book you got or which you have read, but I just finished Something Borrowed and Something Blue and they are fabulous beachy books. She has two more out, one is Baby Proof and I can't think of the other right now...

  12. I could list books for hours. JD Robb books are quite good..chick lit ish but with some murder mystery thrown in (go figure!)

    Some slightly heavier books - Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Ilande I believe, The Tea Rose - Jennifer Donnelly is my favorite book of all time - history, england, woman learning to make her own money - the 2nd book in that series is The Winter Rose, also fabulous.

    A good website to check out is - you can read reviews on books and see recommendations from many readers. :)

  13. I'm all about some chick lit for the beach...Shopaholic Series and others by Sophie Kinsella, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series (trust me, so much better than the movies), Summer Sisters by Judy Blume (I think I've read this like a million times over the years), Janet Evonovich "number" series (One for the money, Two for the dough, etc). Of course Nanny Diaries and Devil Wears Prada, P.S. I love You (all way better than movies), Love Rosie. So many more... I'll have to give it some thought.

  14. you live in dc, but have you read Sammy's Hill? Absolutely a beach read and so so freaking adorable. And funny. It's a great book.

  15. I would suggest anything by Jodi Picoult, even though she's not that light hearted in her books. I just finished Salem Falls by her and of course My Sister's Keeper.

    Jen Lancaster and Jennifer Weiner are good too.

  16. Have you read anything by Jane Green? Hers are definitly fun and beachy. She has several, many take place in London, which is always fun!

  17. I haven't read all the comments but I had to chime in- if you have not read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger you have not lived.

  18. "The Other Boleyn Girl"
    Don't judge a book by its movie.

    "Lipstick Jungle"
    By Candace Bushnell.

  19. oh oh oh!! BOOOOOOKS!!

    Emily Griffin's other book is Love the one you're with.
    I would NOT recommend Philippa Gregory, somehow it feels like she goes ON AND ON AND ON AND ON.....and historical fiction is like crack for me, I LOVE IT. But not her.
    Agree with Alison Weir's "Innocent Traitor", the Twilight books (also, The Host by her is GOOD), and ANYTHING by Jennifer Weir. I've read Little Earthquakes and Good in Bed and there's a few more by her as well. Also, I Capture the Castle is wonderful. for mine....
    Anything by Lauren Weisberger; she has three - Chasing Harry Winston, Everybody worth Knowing and Devil Wears Prada.
    Jane Fallon's 2 books - Getting Rid of Matthew and Got you back.
    Allison Pearson - I don't know how she does of my favourites.
    Also, have you thought of Jodi Picoult? She has tons of books out, not really 'beach fluff' but still really good.
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
    The three books by Mitch Albom. Again, not really 'beach fluff' but they're thought-provoking novella's. favourite, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adam. Funny, funny read.
    I've heard Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs is good.
    Here, check out my friends book review blog (she's fantastic): for more inspiration. :D

    Hope that helped! lol.

  20. oh yeah, and if you want to laugh your socks off, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is GOLD.

  21. Coming out of blog hiding to say that every beach trip I have ever taken I always end up with 2 Nicholas Sparks books. They are all beachy based, light-hearted, and romantic. I recommend "Nights in Rodanthe" or "Dear John". Also love the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants even if I am 29 years old. =)

  22. I feel like I'm just reiterating what other people said, but I guess that's ok. I recommend anything by Lauren Wiesberger or Jodi Picoult, and "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. Also, if you want something different, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is also a fun read. When you get back you have to let us know which you read and how you like them!

  23. I am so curious about the Kindle! Can it really be that good? I don't ride a bus, nor am I trying to avoid lugging books on a 2-week honeymoon. But anyway, it sounds perfect for you!! Perfect!

    I'm also a newish reader/lurker. Hi!

    I read "Ice Bound," about the doctor who discovered she had breast cancer while she was working in/on Antarctica, while at the beach. An odd choice, admittedly. But it was GOOD. Really good.

  24. i have to second middle sex and the lovely bones... both are awsome not your avaerage "fluff" but defiently worth reading.and for the fluff factor any of the number books by janet evinovach like playintherain said. also her newer series was really good...if only i could remember the name of it

    currently im in love with kathy reichs books,the show bones is based off her books, and im not much of a crime fiction but these are so good, there hard to put down

  25. Have you read the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich? They are hilarious, though maybe slanted a bit toward romance with a ton of action in them. I think there are 14 of them and I adored every one!
    Here's a link to the first one in the series (all of which are under $10 btw)

    BTW- Amazon recommended The Ultimate Brownie Book for me on Kindle. LOL
    Do they know me or what?

  26. Looks like most of the books I was going to recommend have been mentioned already! I'll second (third, fourth, whatever) Jennifer Wiener, I've enjoyed everything she's written. Definitely get EVERYTHING by David Sedaris if you don't already have it!
    For some deeper reading (not beachy), I recommend A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It was recommended reading for my Bollywood course a few years ago and follows the lives of several people whose lives weave together in some incredible ways during the Emergency in India. I finished reading it last night for the fourth or fifth time.

  27. i would recommend the gossip girl books - a total guilty pleasure!! :)

  28. Janet Evanovich, any of them. I love them. If you do the # set, do start from the begining. (One for the money).

    They are fluffy no thought easy reads.

    OH and so jealous you get to spend 2 weeks on the beach with books to read!

  29. The kindle is perfect for the honeymoon! Good idea :)

    I really love Phillipa Gregory's books. :) They are a good beach read. :)

  30. I've been eying that thing for a while and still am not sure if I should invest.. but knowing how much you like it - I think I may have to reconsider.

  31. I highly recommend The Omnivore's Dilemma, though probably not for your honeymoon. Given how you've taken a real interest in your personal health and all that you put in your mouth, the book is a very interesting read about the food we eat in this country.

  32. The Kindle sounds wonderful. Sorry, I have no reading recommendations. Lately, I've been pouring over vegetarian cookbooks. Something tells me that's not the kind of beach reading you want. (Yeah, I'm an odd one. I actually like reading cook books. Kind of thin on plot, but LOTS of potential).

  33. "Away" by Amy Bloom is lovely.
    "The God of Animals" by Aryn Kyle.
    "March" by Geraldine Brooks.
    "Mudbound" by Hillary Jordan.
    "Bound" by Sally Gunning.

  34. I was told there'd be cake by Sloan Crosley - A great mix of smarts, humor, and light heartedness.

    And while I agree that MIddle Sex and Lovely Bones are great books, sooooo not beach reading. Sorry! :)

  35. My favorite authors for exactly the type of book you're talking about are Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green. Jane Green has TONS of books out, but I particularly enjoyed "Jemima J" and "Bookends". I like all of Jennifer Weiner's books, but "Good in Bed" and "Little Earthquakes" are my favorites.

    I have also enjoyed Emily Giffen and Sophie Kinsella.

  36. Oh my gosh! I've never heard of a Kindle either. I want one!

  37. Have you read any Cecilia Ahern or James Patterson?

    I especially recommend Thanks for the Memories and Sundays at Tiffany's from those authors respectively.

  38. Oh, we went to the Dominican Republic (Terranes) for OUR honeymoon, and it was magical.
    I want to go back someday soon! We were there for 11 days and I brought the three longest books I could find and still ran out.

    Good beach reads: Sloppy Firsts and then the second book in the series Second Helpings, which are both two of my very favorite books on their own, and good beach reads, Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume, and if you want to read about the DR, anything by Julia Alvarez.
    I also really loved The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

  39. Go ahead and get ALL of Jen Lancaster's books. Each one will leave you wanting more!

  40. Ahhh I love this question. I'm sort of picky and there's a lot of chick lit I don't like (anything by Sophie Kinsella or Lauren Weisberger is not a book for me)but let's see...

    Of course anything by Jennifer Weiner or Meg Cabot is a good pick for beach reading.

    - " A girls guide to hunting and fishing" by Melissa Banks (I read a lot and this stands out as one of my favorite books ever)
    - "The Friday night knitting club"- by Kate Jacobs was awesome
    - "Straight up and dirty" by Stephaine Klein is great, so is "Moose".

    A quick read with a little more substance is "Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett or "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. The premise for both of these are really unique and I love how they are written.

    (if you want, you can check out the book club I'm a part of that has more reviews:

    Have fun with your kindle! (I think I need one now).

  41. Another glowing review for the Kindle! I may have to break down and get one of these.

  42. I haven't read any of the other comments so I don't know if this has been said yet.

    Read The Glass Castle. It's one of my absolutely all time favorite books, which for me? is saying a LOT.

    Also? I've wanted a Kindle forever. Gah!

  43. Beach reading is key. On my honeymoon I read The Nanny Diaries and started Middlesex. I liked them both a lot.

    I really like Alice Seabold (Lucky, The Lovely Bones) but her stories are kind of heavy/sad.

    I recently read Running with Scissors (crazy but really good). I am also a fan of Jody Picoult (some are kind of sad).

    Others I recommend: In the Time of the Butterflies, Like Water for Chocolate, Angela's Ashes, The House of Sand and Fog, White Oleander and Memoirs of a Geisha (the last 2 are way better than the movie).

  44. Eat, Pray, Love is one of the best books I've read this year. Very light, very uplifting, and just generally a fantastic read especially when you're going through a period of change in your life. I'd recommend it to everyone, although it's a love it or hate it sort of book for some.

    I also second any Nicholas Sparks won't be able to put them down. I especially like Nights in Rodanthe (movie is coming out soon!) and The Guardian.

    Philippa Gregory books are a wicked fun read if you're into historical fiction...I think she does a brilliant job.

    Middlesex is great, but I agree that it's a bit heavy for beach reading. Maybe put it on the post-honeymoon list! My other favorites include The World According to Garp, and Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned, but they are also a bit heavy.

  45. I'm so excited by this topic I decided to stop lurking and pipe up!

    I love my Kindle. I struggled with buying it until July, when I spent the time to calculate my book related expenses for the first half of the year to see if it would be worthwhile. I should have bought it in November when it first came out...I would have saved HUNDREDS of dollars by the time I did buy it. And I absolutely love it...Also, I've met a bunch of people interested in what it is around town who ask me about it when they see me using it!

    I recommend the "Twilight" series if you haven't read it already. And the same author (Stephenie Meyer) also has "The Host" which I actually liked better than the "Twilight" books. Anne Brashares, who wrote the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series (which would also be good beach reads) has a new one, "The Last Summer (of You and Me)" which was one of my first Kindle reads!

    I have to second "A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing." One of my favorite books ever - I think I've read that half a dozen times! And "running With Scissors" or any of Augusten Burroughs' other books are well worth the read.

  46. A few years ago I read the entire "Clan of the Cave Bear" series by Jean Auel while I was unemployed. It is amazing, though I'm not sure they are "beach reads" as they are long and complicated, but they read very fast and I couldn't put them down.

    Right now I am reading "Luncheon of the Boating Party" by Susan Vreeland. It is a story about the people in the painting by Renoir "Luncheon of the Boating Party". It is very good and you may enjoy it since you spent some time in France (I spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence and the book talks a bit about Cezanne, so I'm enjoying it). It gives a very good peak into how life in Paris was in the late 1800's. So far it is a light and easy to read book.


  47. Also, I recently read "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". VERY GOOD.


  48. I'll suggest the collective works of Jane Austen, which you can probably download for free somewhere off the internet. (Does Kindle let you do that? Or does everything have to come through Amazon?)

  49. I'm not one for light-hearted books, but I did like Frieda by, uh, I can't remember (a biography about frieda) - it wasn't super thick and I remember it being a good read. Hopefully not too heavy.

  50. I'm amazed that no one has recommended Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series yet! Or maybe I missed a post in which you talked about not liking Outlander? They have lots of adventure, some steamy sex, incredibly well-researched historical details, and a tall Scottish warrior who likes a nice "plump arse" on a woman - what's not to like?

  51. I can also definitely recommend The Time Traveler's Wife. And Twilight. And ... The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova). You could also give the books by Cecilia Ahern a try. They're fun reads you won't remember for long but enjoyable while they last. And Nicholas Sparks novels.

  52. A Kindle!!

    It's a little old and might not be available for the kindle, but Rona Jaffe's The Best Of Everything is somewhat chick-lit, but was published in the '60s. Such a page-turner!

    And for a more modern pick, I suggest Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee.

  53. I haven't made a proper dinner, done or folded laundry for three nights now, all due to the book Twilight by Stepanie Meyer. Do you like vampire books? If so, I totally recommend this one! (There are three ??? others in the series, too.)

  54. Some of these you've probably read long ago, but just in case you haven't, here are my recommendations:

    > Thunderstruck by Eric Larson
    > Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
    > Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
    > Lee: The Last Years by Charles Bracelen Flood
    > The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
    > Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
    > The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
    > Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
    > First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis' Civil War by Joan Cashin

    If you like mysteries, C.J. Box writes a wonderful series set in Wyoming.

    I'm currently working my way through C.S. Lewis' Narnia Series, so I'd recommend those.

    I'm sure I'll think of others...

  55. ok i sooo read anne of green gables last weekend. i love the avonlea books.

    i also adore emily giffin. and jennifer weiner.

    i like light reads.

    today i went to books a million and bought "i am charlotte simmons" and "skinny bitch"

  56. oooh...i'm loving in her shoes, which is what i'm reading now, by jennifer weiner.

    also, miss understanding - stephanie lessing.

    anything sophie kinsella

  57. nicholas sparks - the wedding, and some other ones too. total beach read. I also like the monk who sold his ferrari. It is by Robin Sharma, not sure if it is considered total sham/crap but it is considered a spiritual fable and I was inspired to a live a simpler life by it.

  58. Good easy beach books:

    "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Susanna Clarke.

    "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson (or, alternatively, his trilogy consisting of "Red Mars," "Green Mars," and "Blue Mars.")

    "God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" by Christopher Hitchens.

    "The Time Traveler's Wife" is acceptable.

  59. Many have mentioned the Time Traveler's Wife, but I just had to add my vote -- loved that book. Someone else also mentined Ella Minnow Pea, and it's charming and adorable, I think you would love it.

    Two others I've been recommending lately -- that everyone I know has read and loved -- are Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, and The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss. Both are engrossing stories with great characters, and both have a sort of mystery component (not like a murder mystery, just a finding-out-about-my-past kind of element) that turns them both into page-turners. Both will definitely keep you busy on the beach but are a cut above the usual throwaway beach reading.

  60. Not chick lit, but I think you might enjoy Lamb by Christopher Moore. Total beach read and well worth your time. (Which is the compliment a librarian friend of mine used to give movies/books he thought phenomenal. Worth your time.)

  61. not chicklit, but hands down, the BEST book i have read, in a very, very, long while. "water for elephants" by sara gruen. words cannot describe how awesome this book is.

    i'm also a fan of jen lancaster's "bitter is the new black" it's a light and fun beachy read :)

    i'm actually really glad you asked this question...i'm having a field day writing down all these books mentioned!!!!

    xo, bb

  62. You know who is fabulous but not too heavy? Augusten Burroughs. Love him.

  63. Anything by Rachel Gibson (my favorite is simply iresistible)

  64. I'm torn about the Kindle. I think I'd really miss the feel of a real book in my hands, the constant visual tally of where I am in the progress based on how thick the stack of pages is in my left hand vs. my right. I totally see the draw for traveling, though. So you don't miss "real" pages at all?

  65. The bell jar by Sylvia Plath, Pagan and her parents by Michael Arditti, Samson by David Maine etc

  66. Chic lit is the best for beach reading - have you tried any Jane Green or Jennifer Weiner? They are both good authors that will entertain you!

  67. I loved " A History of Love" by Nicole Krauss.

    Have you heard of the Outlander series? By Diane Gabaldon. All of my friends are going nuts over these and since they are a series, you can really get into them at the beach.

    I also give points to "I capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith.

    For something a little different and riveting, try "Out" by an awesome Japanese writer, Natsuo Kirino. Crazy plot twists in this book, but I could NOT put it down. I think it would have been a great beach read.

    Also, "In the Time of the Butterflies" by Julia Alvarez would be great since the book is about revolutionary women in the Dominican Republic. Depending on where you are staying, you could see some of the places in the book. If you take a day trip to Jarabacoa, you may even see Julia Alvarez herself. And throughout the country you will see signs that say "Remember the Butterflies."

  68. i still read anne of green gables. at least you own up to it! i pretend that they are for 4th grade girls at my school.

  69. EVERYONE must read bill bryson! he's amazing. start with a walk in the woods or i'm a stranger here myself. they're both phenomenal. also, sammy's hill and sammy's house are hilarious.

    also started reading your blog a few weeks ago, it's lovely. :) good luck with everything.

  70. I know you've got a ton of comments on this post but I had to add my two cents when I stumbled on your blog from Switsle.
    I love Phillipa Gregory (I know she's been mentioned)...
    One of my favorite books is the Red Tent by Anita Diamante. Also a guilty pleasure that you and your husband could enjoy is Jenna Jameson's How to make love like a porn star (it's her autobiography). For quick reads I always love anything by Mary Higgins Clark (I started reading her in 7th grade!) or James Patterson (his older stuff is much better) not chick lit though. Rebecca Well's Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood & Little Alters Everywhere are good. Also I the book Yellow Raft Blue Water by Michael Dorris. Lastly I will recommend anything by Maeve Binchy.
    I'm jealous of your two weeks on the beach to read, sounds perfect!