I haven’t talked much about what ELSE I do besides thrifting… until now! I love reading, always have, always will, and today I’m going to share nine books that I’m taking on vacation for some road trip reading!

Road Trip Reading
9 books you should read on your next road trip!

My Book Worm History…

Back in the olden days when I was young, broke and lived in Montreal, I spent my days off in the (air conditioned) library and worked my through Canadian lit, falling in love with Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Timothy Findley, Carol Shields and more. I never cared much for fluffy books and Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs was about as light as I would go and even that was only because the book was set near my metro station! I wish that I had started keeping track of what I read way back then or even before, though that’s a labour that’s not really necessary; every book you read inhabits you, becomes a little part of you whether you record the title or not.

My reading habits have ebbed and flowed throughout different stages of life – university, early career, having kids, having no sleep, having sleep again, having time again. I have been in one or more book clubs since about 2001 and one of the first things I did when I moved to Houston  was to find a book club (that also drinks wine!).  I *thought* I would read more this past year but I wrestled with conflicted feelings about day reading – shouldn’t I be doing something more productive?! How could I read when there was (always) laundry to do?! Thankfully, I’m on the tail end of that nonsense thinking and embracing reading like a kid before WiFi! And so, for my summer road trip vacation this year, I chose nine books to bring along and thought I’d share them here.

9 Books for Summer Road Trip Reading

These books are mix of thrifted, purchased and borrowed from the library. And yes I know a kindle would be more convenient but I just don’t like them. I like to read my content on a device and my books on paper. #balance In no particular order, the books currently nestled between the dashboard and my knees are:

Road Trip Book Recommendations
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

I requested this from the library for my kids but ended up starting it myself. Young Adult and Youth lit counts! And if you don’t believe me, I refer you to everyone who read Harry Potter as an adult! This is the only one of the nine books that I have started and so far, I’m loving it. The writing is simple but elegant and the imagery is beautiful. I want it to be a movie. Someone get on that.

Road Trip Book Recommendations
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

I have read several C.S. Lewis books in the past – the Narnia series should not be missed – but chose this one because one of my Bible study groups selected it as their summer read. I’m going to miss the gathering but still want to read it. It’s short but no doubt rich with wisdom. Can’t wait! I have seen this book in second hand stores but of course not when I needed it so I ended up using a gift certificate to purchase it. I tend to only buy books I know I’ll want to keep and refer to, and I’m sure that will be the case for this classic.

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I bought this book too with the intention of reading it aloud with my kids this summer. Turns out that’s not going to happen and since my friend Lilah loved it, I decided to read it and then encourage my sons to read it themselves as a prerequisite for seeing the movie! I’m mean like that.

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
Bear Town by Fredrik Backman

I cannot recall where I heard about this book but it’s about hockey so by reading it I’m keeping up my Northern heritage! I am currently in Louisiana and must say that I have way more bear-smarts than gator-smarts or snake-smarts! Maybe I’ll keep one eye on this book and one on gator patrol!

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
The Dry by Jane Harper

I follow Modern Mrs. Darcy and believe this book and the next were on her summer reading list. I was so pleased to discover they didn’t have a million holds on them at the library! No idea what it’s about but if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me. Are you the kind of person that likes to know what you’re getting into before you get into it? Apparently I’m not. (as evidenced by this and other things such as moving to another county, starting a blog on a whim six years ago, etc.)

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Another Modern Mrs. Darcy recommendation with great reviews on Goodreads!

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd

The library is one of my favourite places! I love browsing the aisles – just like when I go thrift shopping, except this is even cheaper! It’s free! AND you can “shop” online too. If you’re not using your local library, you’re missing out. Anyhoo, as I was standing in line at the library checkout, I saw this book in the new arrivals section and nabbed it. (seems my library strategies are like my second hand store strategies!) Looked intriguing, that’s all I know.

Road Trip Reading Recommendations
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest

I love me an inspirational Christian self-help style book and so naturally I purchased this book last year when I started hearing buzz about it. I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet but seems like an apropos topic, n’est ce pas?

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

Last but not least, a book highly recommended by my first Houston book club that I happened to find at the thrift store! My book club rated it even higher than Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles which I LOVED so I can’t wait to read this!

I’m not saying that these nine books are MUST READS or anything – I have not even read them so they could be terrible! Don’t hold me responsible if you hate them! However, I for one love hearing about what people are reading and thought you might feel the same.

Road Trip book recommendations
9 books to read on your road trip this summer!

So, couple questions for YOU:

  1. Have you read any of these and if so, what did you think?
  2. What are you reading on your summer road trips?

Your kindred bookworm,

xoxo Nicole

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  1. Coljemdan

    NOW you’re getting into my thrifting weakness-books! Second stop every trip (only because glassware is between the doors and the books ).

    Bear Town is on my TBR list! And now, so is Beyond the Bright Sea! L I’m wary of YA books-I have a teenager, I don’t need teen angst in my books as well!-but this sounds good.

    I’ve just read The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Nighttime and am currently loving The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I’m thinking of dipping back into the Outlander series, which I’ve read numerous times and can’t recommend highly enough. (Gabaldon is a wonderful story teller, and while there’s a love story in there, it’s not “Harlequin” by any stretch. It’s so much more, just like life). Which reminds me of another Canadian author I’ve discovered-Susannah Kearsley. Also time-travelly tales, which obviously intrigues me. L Kate Morton is a fave author (her plot twists actually GET me, I love it) as is Ami McKay (gotta keep some Canadian content in there .

    Lately I’ve been enjoying Goodreads to keep track of my reading, and for keeping a list when I find book recommendations that I want to read (Ahem, like here).

    All-time-best-book-I-ever-read: The Elegance of the Hedgehog-Muriel Barbery

    • nicole

      YES! I love the book sections especially in little thrift stores where prices tend to be so cheap! (Second Glance in Leduc charged by inch of thickness so books were a steal!!!) Now I need to thrift another book shelf – ha! Good point about the YA books – this one is def not angsty nor was another recent fave of mine – Walk Two Moons (I cried and cried). I loved Curious Incident (I am an OT and have worked with hundreds of kids on the spectrum and gotten to know their families, and have so many friends with kids on the spectrum too, so it touched my heart) and was fortunate to see it as a play at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton. It was so powerful, moved me to tears. I read the first Outlander book and of course I am watching the series with my pal Lisa – has *nothing* to do with hot Jamie! I have been meaning to read the rest of the series and I agree, it wasn’t Harlequin at all. Have read The Forgotten Garden but will have to read more of hers as well as the other Canadian authors you mentioned. I do have a Goodreads account and linked it in the post but haven’t utilized it to its full potential. I am planning a post on best book ever! That will be so fun! Will def read The Elegance of the Hedgehog!!! Thanks for reading and for commenting!!!

    • nicole

      BTW YES to time travel tales – LOVE LOVE LOVE them since I was a kid! Loved Life After Life and God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, Time Travelers Wife (obv) and most recently The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – SOOOO GOOD! Which should I read next?

      • Coljemdan

        I just got God in Ruins! Life After Life was so good. ♥️ My eldest is spectrum (Aspergers), which is what led to Curious Incident, of course. SO GOOD.

        Looks like I have a couple more to add to my TBR list. L Thanks!

    • I was equally surprised to be so engrossed by Henrietta Lacks. It originally got my attention because I am a cervical cancer survivor, but there was so much there to learn and get interested in.

      Glad to hear someone else liked it as well.

      I just put Elegance if the Hedgehog on hold at my library. Thanks!

      • nicole

        I believe a three-way commenting convo constitutes a community! (also alliteration) Yipee!

  2. Karen Diaz

    Started Bear Town but just couldn’t get interested. It was highly recommended by NYT Review of Books as an exciting thriller. Generally I like books that are set in circumstances and/or places with which I’m unfamiliar but Bear Town didn’t capture my imagination. But I’ll definitely explore the other selections on your list.
    You might consider Goodreads. This site was recommended to me by a librarian friend. Goodreads allows you to record and rate the books you’ve read as well as keep a list of Want To Read titles. You’re able to follow friends or authors, join book clubs. And GR will inform you when new books by authors on your list are set for release.

    • nicole

      Well I didn’t even know Bear Town was a thriller! Ha! We shall see how it goes once I get into it. I do have a Goodreads account and linked it in the post. It was connected to a former email address for a few years so I hardly referred to it but am using it more and more! My biggest problem is that I don’t take the time to record and rate the books I’ve read. Seems like keeping a list is the best I can do! I’ll have to start using it more! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I haven’t read ANY of those, although The Great Divorce and Dreamland Burning are on my TBR list. I just finished reading The Thin Man, which was great (somewhat spoiled by me having seen the movie a few times), and I’ve started reading a new to me mystery series by Charles Todd about a WW1 nurse. The holds feature at my library has been invaluable in tracking them down and reading them in order. I’ve also picked back up reading Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsy series. For fiction, I’m really into “cozy” mysteries right now. Diverting, preferably witty, but not too violent or graphic. The world has enough horror in it already. I also read quite a bit of nonfiction, with a preference for the Gilded Age and epidemiology (not necessarily at the same time).

    For the last couple of years, I have read almost exclusively through the Kindle app on my tablet and phone, but this summer I realized most of my TBR booms were available through the holds feature at my library. Even on sale, buying ebooks adds up quickly, so I am thrilled to be able to read for free. It takes a bit of patience to wait a week or two for the books to be available sometimes, but instant gratification is not necessarily a good thing!

    • nicole

      This is so FUN! Now I’ve got a whole bunch more on my TBR list! I concur about the library being THE BEST for series! I had started working my way through the Ladies No 1 Detective Agency series and his other series set in Scotland but then got sidetracked by other books but now I’m freshly inspired! I’ve not read the Gilded Age but I too like nonfiction so will add it to the list! I don’t mind waiting for library holds to come in most of the time. I buy when I know I want to keep the books and one of the reasons I like paper books is because I like to write in them and fold down pages and highlight and such! Sacrilege for some, the sign of a loved book for me! Thanks for the comment! Means a lot to me!

  4. Mary van beveren

    Hey!started reading Crazy rich Asians by Kevin Kwan for our book club. I have been having trouble reading the last few months as I think I should be busy doing something else or the problem that I just can’t concentrate . Once I am reading though, I do find that my mind quiets and I’m in a much better head space . I just need to force myself to get back into it. I did pick up Ready player one and I think seeing the movie first is the reason why I can’t get into it . Incredibly fun book though so I think I will try again.

    • nicole

      I *think* my library hold will come through in time so I haven’t started it yet but cant’ wait! That will be a fun night! Book discussion, food/drink/friends, movie! I totally get the roadblocks to reading – felt the same thing many times but like you, I find once I start, my whole outlook and mood improve. Miss you, Friend! Looking forward to coffee/daydrinks when I return!

  5. I have seen recommendations for Bear Town twice before, now yours, so I will put it on hold at the library.

    You might like Charles Martin for semi-light reading. “When Crickets Cry” will overtake you life and “Where the River Ends” will break your heart and stay with you forever. Something about “On the Mountain” or something like that is gripping and suspenseful. Read in very hot weather or you’ll vicariously freeze your butt off. All his work is good and I use it as mind candy when I can’t stop thinking about work.

    Jonathan Carroll. “Sleeping in Flame” “Land of Laughs” are two places to start. A book jacket blurb says something like “theses are books with strange tricks in them.” They start out like a normal story and then all of a sudden – wham – you’re in the rabbit hole.

    If you want to lose a good portion of your life, Diana Gabbaldon’s Outlander series will do it.

    Anne Rice’s “The Witching Hour” “Lasher” and “Taltos” all set in New Orleans. Historic. Spooky. Thought provoking. Superlative.Little bit of vampires.

    I live in NC and so have a thing for Appalachian writers and stories. Ron Rash’s “The Cove” “Above the Waterfall” and “Serena” (the movie was terrible, book is great) are three of his best.

    Anything by Kent Haruf who wrote very simple yet very engaging and enjoyable books about contemporary plains life.

    Ken Follett. Anything. But there’s a series starting with “Pillars of the Earth.” I believe it was on TV but I don’t watch anything but Big Bang Theory occasionally so wouldn’t know. I always prefer to read. I like to learn history while being entertained.

    Michael and Kathleen Gear. Many many books by acclaimed archaeologists and historians detailing prehistoric indigenous people. I’ve learned so much about areas from Alaska to Florida. There’s probably even one about a tribe in Texas! And definitely Canada. All totally engrossing while histrrically accurate and so richly detailed.

    Enough now from a fellow bookworm. Gotta go read.

    • nicole

      Thank you thank you thank you! I have only read a couple you mentioned above so this could keep me busy for months! I was just in New Orleans so maybe I’ll focus on that for a start! And if you haven’t watched Outlander on TV, maybe you should – at least the first season! I found it fairly true to the book and Jamie is pretty good at taking one’s mind off of work (or anything). 😛

      • Ha about Jamie on TV being a distraction. I’ve seen pics. He is just not as big as my imaginary Jamie. Claire looks a lot like I imagined. I might sign up for Starr in the cold weather just to watch it. I do love the books.

        • nicole

          It took me a while to reconcile the casting choice with what I had envisioned but by episode 5, I was on board with the choice! 😉 You might be able to request the first 2 seasons from your library by now! (In Canada, it was on Netflix – don’t know why it cant be so here!)

  6. I read Ready Player One and The Dry on my recent holiday. They were both great – I really enjoyed both of them even though they are quite different from each other. I have Bear Town on my “interested” list, but have not read it yet. I hadn’t heard of Present Over Perfect until you listed it here, but I noticed that it says it has a forward by Brene Brown….so I’ll add it to my list as well! I read a couple of Brene Brown’s books while on my holiday (in particular Braving The Wilderness was incredible). I’m currently reading The Light Between Oceans…I’m about halfway through and it is quite good too. Looking forward to hearing what you thought of the books on your summer road trip reading list!

    • nicole

      Yep there is a forward by Brene Brown. Wilderness is on my list – my Canadian book club did it in Feb but I missed it and never ended up reading it but I want to! I have watched her TED talks, listened to her on podcasts, follow her on social media and love everything. She calls Jesus “Ballsy Jesus”. Love that. Plus she lives in Houston! Would love to meet her one day. I read Light Between Oceans and loved it.I think it’s a movie now?? Beyond the Bright Sea reminds me of it. Thanks for reading and commenting! Always makes my day!