Snow, sleet, freezing temperatures—it feels like this winter is lasting a frigid eternity. So if the polar vortex is making you feel blue, just remember that summer is coming. Whether you’re booking your annual trip to St. Maarten or planning on setting up your umbrella at the local beach, these sunny reads will have you dreaming of blue skies, warm breezes, and beachside margaritas.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s beautiful memoir is about finding out who she really was and what she really wanted from life. Aiming to visit three places where she could examine one aspect of her own nature, she spends a year traveling to Italy, India and Indonesia. But it is more than the appealing locations and heaping plates of pasta that caused Eat, Pray, Love to touch a nerve among both readers and reviewers. Intensely articulate and wise, Eat, Pray, Love showed that a woman can claim responsibility for her happiness and stop living in imitation of society’s ideals.
Hailed by critics, loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, and featuring what is arguably one of the most iconic covers of recent years, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline in 1962. Funny and romantic, the beauty and wisdom of Jess Walter’s writing in the last chapter alone will leave musical lines of prose engraved in your memory.
Travel to Paris and London with a failed monogamist who attempts to answer the question: Is it really possible to fall back in love with your spouse? Skillfully balancing wit with a deep emotional undercurrent, this funny and touching read is perfect for fans of The Vacationers or Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat near Nantucket to celebrate the marriage of their daughter to the impeccably appropriate Greyson Duff. The weekend is full of champagne and practiced bonhomie, but when old resentments, a beached whale and an escaped lobster are added to the mix, the wedding that should have gone off with military precision threatens to become a spectacle of misbehavior, marital infidelity, and a monumental loss of faith in the rituals of American life.
Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at his elite Manhattan prep school. But every summer, Benji escapes to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own in the Hamptons. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that the summer of ’85 might be one for the ages.
For the Kellehers, Maine is a place where showers are taken outdoors and old Irish songs are sung around a piano. As three generations of Kelleher women descend on their beachfront property, each brings her own hopes and fears. By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.
Maybe you’ve seen the film adaptation featuring beautiful beaches, family drama, and George Clooney running down a road in flip-flops. Here’s the inspiration. Fortunes have changed for the King family, descendants of Hawaiian royalty and one of the state’s largest landowners. As his wife lies in a coma, Matthew King makes the startling discovery that she has been having an affair. Forced to examine what they owe not only to the living but to the dead, Matt and his daughters, Scottie and Alex, take to the road to find his wife’s lover.
When Frances Mayes bought and restored an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside, she found faded frescoes beneath the whitewash in the dining room and a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles. Settling into her Italian countryside life, she created dozens of delicious recipes from her simple garden and local markets, all included in this book. A feast for the senses and a celebration of Tuscan life, Under the Tuscan Sun explores the tastes and pleasures of Italy with verve and passion.
A lot of us get through the daily grind with carefully tended fantasies about a charming cottage in the South of France—Peter Mayle took the plunge. Moving into a two-hundred-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote countryside of Provence, he endured the climatological challenges of life in the Rhone Valley, discovered the secrets of goat racing, and delighted in the glorious regional cuisine. Witty and warm-hearted, Mayle’s memoir lets us vicariously live out this long-cherished dream.
From the first perfectly soigné meal that she and her husband savored en route to their new life in Paris, Julia Child had an awakening that changed her life. Soon this tall, outspoken California girl was chatting with purveyors in local markets and enrolling in Le Cordon Bleu. Filled with photographs and laced with the good spirit that made her such an extraordinary success, Julia’s memoir of falling in love with French food makes for the perfect winter escape.