My Top Book Recs for Your Next Holiday Away

Travel prep is fully underway at the Lanning household as my trip to China is only two weeks away (Don’t tell the cats). And while things such as fully understanding the Chinese to American dollar conversion rate should be my top priority, what I actually can’t stop debating is what books I’m going to bring along with me on holiday.

I don’t normally plan my travel TBR list this far in advance but the question was posed to me while on a date last weekend and it felt entirely out of character to not completely overthink it. I mean, we all know that our everyday reading selves can be entirely different from our travel reading selves so some consideration must be paid.

For example, maybe you’re a memoir devourer during the breaks of your 9 to 5 but put you on a beach in the Caribbean, with a mojito in hand, and suddenly you’re all mystery thrillers, all the time. I know it sounds shocking but I’ve seen it happen. Fiction devotees suddenly stealing time away in the nonfiction section of their travel destination’s bookstores; SyFy fans drawn into the pages of the latest romcom — the juicier the better.

So while Brooklyn Carly is really leaning towards packing The Shadows of the Wind, Swing Time, and The Argonauts into my backpack, will vacation mode Carly be just as chuffed about these decisions? Honestly, I’ll probably be so jet lagged I won’t be able to string sentences together but it’s the thought that counts. I’m going to continue narrowing down my choices until the last minute but until then, should you be taking a trip of your own and looking for a good holiday read, here are some of my favorites below. Enjoy!

  • A Gentlemen in Moscow if you want to read something that gives you all the feels and keeps gifting you with pearls of wisdom that you can’t help but reread over and over again.
  • Beautiful Ruins if you’re looking for a well-crafted love story set between Italy in the 1960s and modern day Hollywood.
  • What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding because maybe you want to hear the story of someone who, like you, is living their life a little differently from the traditional get-married-have-two-kids-buy-a-house dream.
  • Middlesex if you’re looking for a meaty, complex, life changing novel to dig your teeth into.
  • Dear Sugar if your heart and brain need a hug and you don’t mind sobbing publicly.
  • Call Me By Your Name which will break your heart and rebuild it all at the same time. Just read it, it’s one of my favorite books of all time and it’s so small it won’t even put your suitcase over the weight limit!
  • The Vacationers, it’s kind of in the name.
  • Nutshell if you’re looking for a thriller that will grip you. It’s a modern retelling of Hamlet by my man Ian McEwan but told from the perspective of an unborn child in the womb.
  • A Study in Charlotte is a three-part mysteries series following Charlotte Holmes, the great great granddaughter of Sherlock, and Jamie Watson who must solve a series of crimes at their boarding schools and also … fall in love? It’s complicated, the sexual tension is HIGH, and I’m here for it.
  • Little Fires Everywhere if you’re looking for a moving, beautifully written story about what it means to be an imperfect, complicated mother.
  • How to Be a Woman for laughs, cries, and a lot of nodding because being a woman is hard. Also highly recommend Shrill for the ultimate feminist pep talk.
  • Furiously Happy if you’re looking to laugh until your abs hurt but also want some real talk about mental health.
  • Dune if you’re craving a true SyFy classic.
  • Big Magic if you’re looking for some life guidance and inspiration before returning home.
  • Jitterbug Perfume if you’re looking for a very unconventional love story.

And here are a few reads I’m deeply excited to dig into once my book buying hiatus is finally over.


If you have any reading suggestions please send them my way! And if you’re looking for even more book reviews here’s a list of some of my favorite books of all time.


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