Books for My Beach Bag: Summer 2014 Edition

by Kim on July 3, 2014 · 24 comments

books for my beach bag

Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Every year that I can, I join my family and a ton of friends up my my parents’ cabin in northwestern Wisconsin for a long weekend of relaxing by the lake. Since it’s right before my birthday, it’s always felt like a special weekend to me.

As you might expect, I always bring an insane number of books with me — always more than I can possibly read, especially since I will spend at least a one afternoon this weekend sitting on a boat with an alcoholic beverage in hand (Booze Cruise!). I also spend a long time trying to narrow down my book pile before every trip. I’m always trying to balance out a range of genres and styles so there is a book for any mood, and trying to make sure they’re books that are going to work for beach reading (easy to pick up and put down, smart but not complicated, forward momentum).

I’ve been adjusting this pile for about two weeks now, but I think I’ve finally settled on the five books that are going into my beach bag:

  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (Aug. 5 from Harper Perennial)
  • Embassytown by China Miéville
  • This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
  • Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark (Aug. 19 from Little, Brown)
  • Hidden America by Jeanne Marie Laskas (partially finished)

The other exciting part of this trip, for me, is that it’s going to start out with a stop at a bookstore! Our drive to the cabin takes us right past a Barnes and Noble and, since it’s my birthday month, I’m going to make the boyfriend stop for a bit. I’ve spent the last month trying not to impulse books online… so I’ve got the itch.

I’ve been putting together a Goodreads list of books I want, but I’m most excited to take time just to browse. I’m almost certain I’ll leave with Tom Rachman’s new book, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, but the rest is up to chance. I’ll be back to the blog next Monday!

How to you choose the books you take on vacation? Any books you’re excited to read over this holiday weekend?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon @ River City Reading July 3, 2014 at 6:08 am

Ah, this totally makes me miss summers in Michigan! I’m just about finished with Bad Feminist right now and it’s great. Really excited for Sweetness #9, too!


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:45 pm

I started Bad Feminist this week — so far it’s great.


Sandy July 3, 2014 at 6:24 am

Ahhh, Ann Patchett. That book will warm the cockles of your heart, especially the book lover part of the heart since she writes quite a bit on being an author, owning a bookstore, and HOW to write. Amazing bit of work. When I travel to IN to see my family, most of my books are on my Kindle because it is easier. I bring a few hard books JUST IN CASE something bad happens to the Kindle. And I just got a coupon from B&N, so I’m getting the itch too! Have an awesome time!


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:46 pm

If we were traveling by plane, I’d have packed fewer books. But since it was just a long car ride, I could load up and be just fine. I love that part of road trips.


Athira July 3, 2014 at 7:10 am

Those are some really good book choices! Hope you enjoy your weekend. Spending it at the cabin sounds like a fabulous way to spend it!


bermudaonion (Kathy) July 3, 2014 at 9:40 am

You take much heavier reading to the beach than I do. Have fun!


Hillary July 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

I just finished Bad Feminist and it was great!


tanya (52 books or bust) July 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

Nice mix. I think this should do you well. I’m just coming up with my summer reading list as well.


Catherine July 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Any way you can read on the Booze Cruise so as not to lose reading time?

The Ann Patchett is a wonderful book- a happy making book!

I have Hidden America on the shelf but have not tried it yet so hope you finish and review!

Enjoy the vacation!


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I probably could have read while boozing, but I’m not sure I’d have remembered much of what I read! Plus, we were too busy swimming to have books :)


Finley Jayne July 4, 2014 at 6:20 am

We have a week long camping trip coming up later this month and usually I bring a big stack of books. But, I think this year I’m going to do things differently and bring one large book. I usually shy away from bigger books, so taking one on vacation would give me the chance to just have the down time to tackle one. I’ve got two I’m thinking about, Outlander, which is 870 pages, and The Forgotten Garden, which is 648 pages :)


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I love the idea of bringing one big book on a trip. I’m not sure I have the personality for it — I get bored and like to switch between books — but I love the idea.


Bryan G. Robinson July 4, 2014 at 7:31 am

Booze and books. Sounds like a good weekend to me. :)

I’m reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and enjoying it so far. After that, I’m not sure, probably finish up The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg for my birthday month.


Jenny @ Reading the End July 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

I’m finishing up a book about obscenity trials of various novels (the ones you’d expect — Ulysses, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, etc.), and when I’m done with that I have a big pile of library books. Which, to be honest, I am probably going to ignore in favor of going to B&N and buying Landline and the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys cycle. :p

Happy 4th!!


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Ignoring old books for new books is always a fun time — that’s what I ended up doing!


Andrea (aka Rokinrev) July 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

I was so excited to download “Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law” by Michelle Granis. I had tried numerous times to win a copy, and now I have one!

And, although I’ve finished them, if you like Regency, try “A Constant Mercy” by Anna Fisher Kruse, and I am no Janite so it had to capture me if I was going to read it, and it was very good.

How about a bit of “tongue-in-cheek” horror with P. S. Clinen’s “House of Tenebrae”. This is NOT at all my type of book,but I have yet to stop sharing it.

Finally, Jennifer Hart’s” Confessions of a Laundry Hag”, which is a laugh out loud cozy mystery about just being a wife and mom in a crazy neighborhood.


Tanya Patrice July 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I’ve always make lists of books I want to take/read, and usually end up going with some random selections. I can’t wait for you to read Embassytown – that’s one weird book. I didn’t get it, but I’d love to see it from your perspective.


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

I love weird fiction, so I think that one is going to be up my alley once I get around to reading it.


Sheila (Book Journey) July 5, 2014 at 9:13 am

Looks like a good mix of reads! Enjoy!


Jennine G. July 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

An, nothing like a new list to motivate you. Best of luck getting through it!


Leah @ Books Speak Volumes July 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I think I have about the same criteria for vacation reads as you, and I’m already thinking about which books I’m going to bring on my lake vacation at the end of the month.

I’m almost done with Bad Feminist and really loving it. All of the essays are really short, so it’s very easy to pick up and put down. Great vacation choice! I’m looking forward to Sweetness #9 as well.


Kim July 8, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I spent a really long time whittling down that list… and then didn’t read any of them :) That’s pretty much how my reading life goes.


susan July 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Oh the Ann Patchett book in your beach bag is good. I liked it a lot. There’s some new July books I have my eyes on over at



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