When people ask me about myself and what my hobbies are, I usually draw a complete blank and have no idea what to tell them. I write, sometimes I run, I like to organize things and learn hula hoop tricks...but I also really like to read. I feel strange defining that as a hobby, though, because to me, reading is just something I do. It feels as normal to me as watching TV or aimlessly scrolling through Facebook, and those aren't hobbies, right? But reading is a hobby, and I realize this more and more the older I get.
To some, reading is a chore, it's something they were maybe forced to do as a child either by their parents or their teachers at school. Even as I write this at my job, the students at the elementary school I work at are having "reading time", where they all have to find a quiet spot and read for 30 minutes (during their summer vacation, "eww"!). Most of these kids hate reading time, but I honestly would have loved having an excuse to curl up with a book as a child. In fact, a good majority of my childhood summers were spent in libraries and used book stores, or reading in the car on the way to stay with my grandmother during the day. I love to read, and taking a good book on a beach trip (or any vacation or road trip, for that matter) is a must, and I usually end up taking more than two books with me on any given trip.
If you're a book worm like me and can't imagine a week away from the real world without a good paperback or two in your suitcase, here are my top 6 summer beach read picks!
1. The Girl On The Train (Paula Hawkins)
This is the most recent book I've finished, and I honestly can't remember the last time I finished something so quickly. The story is so intricate and interesting, and you really begin to fall in love with Rachel, the protagonist, despite her quirks and flaws. It's told from multiple perspectives and is kind of like a modern day murder mystery that's incredibly easy to follow and relate to. A film adaptation possibly starring Emily Blunt is in the works, and I seriously could not be more excited about it!
2. The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
I read this while on a cruise with my aunt two summers ago, and it's remained on my favorite book list ever since! Despite it's reputation of being really depressing and dark, I enjoyed the story and the characters and really appreciated how realistic and believable the plot is. At the risk of sounding like a pessimist, life doesn't always have a happy ending, and I really appreciate when books and movies reflect that reality.
3. Bad Feminist (Roxanne Gay)
Ok. I haven't actually finished this book, but I really, really like what I've read so far. With the exception of a few essays about things that I'm not very interested in (like Scrabble...no thank you), I think the majority of this book is really funny and insightful. It's definitely a fun non-fiction option for summer reading; it's light hearted enough to casually enjoy on a vacation, but it's also educational and thought provoking enough to keep you interested throughout the book. I'll take that over Nicholas Sparks any day!
4. The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Like The Bell Jar, this book is sort of known for being a bit dark and gloomy. Jeffrey Eugenides is probably my favorite author, and I absolutely love his stories and the beautiful imagery he includes in all of his books. The Virgin Suicides is about five teenage sisters in mid-1970s who all end up taking their own lives by the end of the book (kind of a spoiler alert, but can you expect from a title like this?). Yes, it's depressing, but it's also beautifully and uniquely written. I highly recommend it every other book by Jeffrey Eugenides (especially Middlesex)!
5. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)
Y'all, I was obsessed with this book after I finished it back in September. I listened to half of it through Audible and loved it so much that I just had to buy a copy of it mid-way through. There's just something about physically holding a good book that makes me incredibly content. I can't describe it, books just warm my heart. Anyways.,Gone Girl is very much like The Girl On the Train, but maybe just a bit more of a page turner. The movie for this is also amazing, but I always recommend reading the book first, you'll be glad you did!
6. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling)
This is definitely the most fun book on my list of summer beach reads. Mindy Kaling is pretty much my hero, and her writing is absolutely hilarious. She's so relatable and down to Earth, and after reading this I want her to be my new BFF. I love when memoirs talk about things like the writer's childhood and adolescence rather than just focusing on their lives after they become famous-it really reminds you that they're still a real person and not just some character on TV all the time. I still haven't seen The Mindy Project (I'm desperately waiting for it to come to Netflix since I'm not a Hulu gal), but I know I'll adore it once I do!