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Lorrie Orr

I just finished "Chasing Cezanne" by Peter Mayles (of A Year in Provence fame). Fun, light and perfect for the beach. Best of all, I read it while in the south of France enjoying a dream vacation with my husband.


A Year in the World by Frances Mayes is great and will make you really hungry - which is also great on vacation!

sandy maniscalco

I read both of Peter Mayles other books, A year in Provence and one other name I forget and they were both enjoyable. I also read Debbie Macomber, A good Yarn, Shop on Blossom street and Back to Blossom Street. Very light and fun reading. Enjoy whatever book you do read. sandy


Hmmm. How 'bout The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreeve. Or, I just loved The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman, but don't know that it would be light, fun vacation reading!


"Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Piccoult. :)


These are both old books...

I recently read a charming memoir, "My Family and Other Animals" by Gerald Durrell, it's a silly and sweet read and good fun.

I just started "The Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey, because it was one of my mother's favorites and it would have been her 86th birthday last week. It's quite often on people's lists of *best mystery ever*.

Wishing you lots of summer reading fun!


"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I didn't want it to end. Loved it.

Wylie Hunt

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy
A thousand Days in Tuscany by Marlena Deblasi
Anything by Alexander McCal Smith, Elizabeth Berg, or Jodi Picoult
Anne Lamott -- Grace (Eventually)

Enjoy your vacation. Your blog is breathtaking!

Rocks In My Dryer

London by Edward Rutheford, if you like historical fiction

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz if you're up for a mystery!


I really enjoyed a few of Maeve Binchy's books, like Tara Road, Quentins, and Scarlet Feather.

I've reread Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden so many times I think I need a new copy. Much better than the movie, but isn't that always the case?


Burning Bright, by Tracy Chevalier... or any of her fabulous and previously written books, if you like historical fiction.

K. Winch

try THE SHADOW CATCHER by Marianne Wiggins a new novel by a wonderful writer


I'm just finishing Eat, Pray, Love and it's been wonderful. After the first few pages I thought it might be too *chick flick-y*, but it's very engaging and I'd highly recommend it! Very unlike what I usually read.
The Kite Runner and The Namesake are recent-ish novels that have been favorites, too.


I love the 3 "Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter" books by Susan Wittig Albert. The first one is called The Tale of Hill Top Farm, the second is The Tale of Holly How, the third is The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood. Very quaint!

An all time favorite is The Secret Life of Bees if you haven't already read it.


Astrid and Veronika, by Linda Olsson!!! I just finished it, didn't want it to end, nearly started it over again! I just love a book like that. Enjoy!


Well there is a whole batch of summer reading material over at Willow House but one not showing (yet) is The Stabbing in the Stables by Simon Brett a quintessentially English murder mystery.


I love anything by Elizabeth Berg, and would especially recommend her book: We are All Welcome Here. Although with your Chicago ties, you might enjoy her new one: Dream When You are Blue - set in Chicago during WWII.


Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift from the Sea" is wonderful, especially on a beach. And "Pride & Prejudice" comes to mind because it will always be my favorite book.

Anne Marie

"87, Charing Cross Road," by Helene Hanff. The published correspondence of a "starving artist" NYC writer and a quaint little London bookseller. Sound dry? Anything but. It's laugh-out-loud funny on one page, and the next thing you know there'll be tears in your eyes. A quicker read, at about 90 pages.


When I was a teenager my mom recommended "Calico Palace," by Gwen Bristo. I loved it and read it 3 summers in a row!


I second anything by Elizabeth Berg... or my favorites by Louisa May Alcott: Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.


For a serious read, 'The Kite Runner' is one of the most evocative books I've ever read. It is amazing. For a wonderful,charming book, I wholeheartedly recommend "The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency". It is a refreshing glimpse of simple goodness. Becky

Shelly C

I have read all of Jodi Picoult's books this summer including nineteen minutes and the pact. Awesome!


I am nearly finished with Far Pavilions and it is a wonderful vacation read. Really takes you to another place and has a love story and immerses you in all things India. I am just loving this VERY BIG book!


The Razor's Edge....wonderful to read lovely writing. Actually perfect for lying in the shade on the beach, taking a moment and gazing at the clouds. Carol


I generally reach for a classic - Austen, for example. Or a classic mystery - usually Christie.


The Pact, Jody Picolt. about teenage suicide, but I always wanted to know what came next.
The Kite Runner - AMAZING, wonderful!
and just finished The Widow's War by Sally Gunning. very easy reading pre-revolutionary american widow loses her home and rights and fights the system. Very good. Looked forward to going to bed each night to see how Lyddie was doing. based on a true story.


Love the bookmarks and the book sounds very interesting!


I just finished the most glorious romantic/sad/poignant/marvelous and wonderful novel by Pat Conroy "Beach Music" published in 1995 by Doubleday. I read the large print edition (old eyes : ) and cried/despaired and reveled in each page. The epilogue will take cups of tea or coffee (my choice) and show the strength of real love after the beloved has taken her own life. Her legacy is awesome. A line "It's beneath the sea and angels float in it's corners and peek out behind the cupboards." Another "...and because she taught me to honor the eminence of magic in our frail human drama..."
Unfortunately, it is Tuesday evening and I would not be able to get it to you in time for you to take it on vacation : (
One of the best books I have been priveledged to hold in my hands and drink in the words. Liquid nervana worthy of a person with a heart.
Take care

Linda Warlyn

I really enjoyed Ruth Reichel's two memoirs, Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me With Apples. Ruth is the editor of Gourmet magazine and former restaurant critic of the New York Times. She is a delightful writer and both books are fun, interesting reads.

janey jennings

Any book by Anne Lamont.
I Love all of her fiction and non-fiction.
She is the author of Bird By Bird.

stephanie t.

I just finished 'Eat,Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert...fabulous book!

However my most favorite vacations reads are... 'The Mists of Avalon'
'The Secret Life of Bees' and 'The Mermaid Chair' (The lst two by Sue Monk Kid)

Have a wonderful vacation!!

Stephanie A

One of the best read, read and read again books I enjoy is Secret History by Donna Tart. Also, a collection of letters to and from Evelyn Waugh and/or his diaries (pre pc blogging!) are wonderful for dipping into and drifting off to a different world with much dressing for dinner and afternoon teas! Have a wonderful time.


One of my all time favourite reads is 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by Frances Mayes. Definitely a good holiday read which has now become my 'comfort book', which I'll pick up anytime and read a few pages if I feel the need to be transported somewhere wonderful for a little while.

Melissa Lobdell

I have to chime in with a loud third for Elizabeth Berg. Her novels are just beautiful--her voice is just magical. It's really like talking to your best friend. My personal favorite is Range of Motion--there's a little vintage imagery thrown in. Of course, any book read on a beach can't be bad, can it?? xo-Mel


My recommendations are along the art 'aisle'...Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan follows the development of Renoir's famous painting. The only problem with this one is that it will only be in hardcover, so not much fun to carry to the beach or in your purse.
Along the same lines and very Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman(small paperback). This quick to read story is about Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia and the few paintings that she does based on Lydia. Lydia is dying and it is a very poignant book that you will think about for a while afterwards. And last but not least is Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda. It is set in Paris and teams up unlikely housemates. I adored this book. I loved all the quirky characters!
Have fun on your vacation!!!


What a wonderful list of great recommandations here in your comments :-) There are so many I would love to ecco.

Right now I am readiung The Lollipop Shoes by Joanna Harris, a kind of sequel to her famous Chocolat. I love it.

More recommandation in my Sunday column Booktalk on a Sunday:
where books from India was the theme last Sunday.

Have a great vacation. WE fly down to Italy on Monday.


The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio by Terri Ryan is a great read. Tender, sweet, humorous- all about how one woman provided for her family by entering contests in the 50's. (It is a true story.) I just loved that book. If you don't want to read it, you can rent the DVD! :)


I will agree with Eat, Pray Love. Really neat.
The Secret Life of Bees I think you would like too.
Gift from the Sea is neat for the beach and makes you think.
But my choice would be Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Author of DaVinci code and if you haven't read that one -it's good too! Angels and Demons was written first and its a page turner to the end.
Heck, Just take all the suggestions by everyone! You can never have too many books!


Ijust love your blog--it brightens my day--or evening--whenever I get to it. You are so insightful--don't stop! My suggestions seem to agree with other post already ie. Eliz Berg novels, also Secret life of bees is sooooo wonderful! "First you must know kindness" Chris Bohaillion sp? Enjoy your vacation!!


I love the Josephine B trio by Sandra Gulland. The first in the series is The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.

Oh wait, also along the same lines is The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory.

All are excellent historical fiction.

P.S. Your bookmarks are just lovely!


I have to print this list when I am done, everything sounds great. I would recommend 2 books, The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks, based on a true story. It was a great book! Another was Oldest Living Confederate Widow tells all by Allan Gurganus. This one is hilarious!!!


Nicole Mones, she has written at least 3 books.
her newest, title slips my mind, but her descriptive writings about Chinese cuisine are sensational

and another book, with LIGHT in the title, which I haven't been able to find.
Maisie Dobbs mysteries, very unique mysteries written between WWI & II in England/France.
The Janissary Tree, currently reading, by Jason Goodwin, a British writer
Donna Leon, mystery writer, a wonderful series in Italy, about 10 books!



This isn't new, but one of the best books I've read is Isaac's Storm, by Erik Larson. It is a non-fictional account of the hurricane that destroyed Galveston Island, Texas in 1900. It draws you into to the setting and the storm, and Larson' vocabulary forced me to keep a dictionary at hand.

I also loved Timeline, by Michael Crichton.

Laura Bray

I love Gabriel Garcia Marquez! Love in the Time of Cholera & 100 Years of Solitude are two favs. Marquez is one of the many reasons I married my husband, but that's a story for another day...Also, anything by Tom Robbins-he is incredible! Skinny Legs & All or Jitterbug Perfume first. WARNING: All my suggestions require a love of magical realism.


hope you have a great vacation. My eldest daughter and I really enjoy reading all of Lori Wick books. So far her book " Sophie's Heart " is my favorite, and "Pretense" is a close second.

Joan Ellis

I just finished Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad about My Neck" and two books by Karleen Koen: "Through a Glass Darkly" and the sequel (Historical fiction) "Now Face to Face".


I'll second the motion for Pat Conroy's, Beach Music. Other Pat Conroy books are good, too.

For a good summertime fun read, there is Paula Deen's, It Ain't All About the Cookin', her memoir. I laughed and cried all through this book.

At the moment, I'm reading Maureen O'Hara's autobiography, 'tis Herself.

Have a great vacation, Charlotte!
Back Porch Musings


The history of love by NIcole Krauss.

Not at all schmaltzy (like the title would suggest). Really clever and well written story.

or Julia and Julia (a foody book about this girl who decided to learn to cook, blog about it and ended up with a very enjoyable book.

Have a good holiday.


Another recommendation for Paula Deen's "It Ain't all About the Cookin'", fast-read would be perfect for the beach.

SOuthern Hospitality

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