Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Escapist Reads Transport You Far Away
One of the best parts of traveling is temporarily escaping your everyday life. Even if you're not jetting off to a faraway destination, reading can transport you to new places and experiences. Escapist fiction provides the perfect mental getaway when you need a break from reality.
Losing yourself in the vivid scenery and compelling characters of a novel set in a distant land is an easy way to be whisked away on an armchair adventure. Historic epics like War and Peace or Outlander immerse you so deeply in another era that you'll forget what year it is. Following protagonists like Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins on their fantastical journeys satisfies the inner child in all of us. And glamorous stories featuring larger-than-life locales and adventures, like Crazy Rich Asians or The Great Gatsby, let you live vicariously through the characters while providing plenty of eye candy.
In our always-connected world, escapist books provide a rare opportunity to unplug. Once you open the pages, you can leave behind work stress, phone notifications, and everyday hassles. Good fiction takes you out of your head and fully engages your imagination and emotions. With an engrossing book in hand, you can tune out distractions entirely and enjoy hours of uninterrupted escapism. It's a welcome break from our frenetic modern lives.
Vacations may be finite, but the adventures you can have between the pages of a book are limitless. Some reads transport you back centuries or across oceans, while others take you to fantasy lands limited only by the author's imagination. When you don't have time for an extravagant trip, a quick escape into a novel can refresh your mind and spirit.
Armchair adventures also have advantages over real ones. You don't have to deal with lost luggage, screaming babies on the plane, or disastrous weather ruining your tropical vacation when you travel through a book. And you can set the book down whenever real life intervenes.
What else is in this post?
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Escapist Reads Transport You Far Away
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Laugh Out Loud Funny Books Keep Things Lighthearted
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Mysteries and Thrillers Add Suspenseful Twists
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Page-Turning Romance Novels Set the Mood
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Indulgent Food Writing Tempts Your Tastebuds
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Coffee Table Books Showcase Stunning Photography
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Historical Fiction Immerses You in Other Eras
- Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Reference Guides Enhance Your Surroundings
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Laugh Out Loud Funny Books Keep Things Lighthearted
Laughter truly is the best medicine, and loading up your suitcase with hilarious reads is a foolproof way to boost your mood on vacation. When you need a break from sightseeing, nothing chases away stress and boredom like Laugh Out Loud funny books. Laughing increases endorphins, oxygenates the blood, and relieves tension—exactly what you want on a getaway.
Packing a few riotous page-turners ensures you’ll have plenty of laughs no matter what mishaps come your way. Travel inevitably involves inconveniences like flight delays, wrong turns, language barriers, and other headaches. But maintaining a sense of humor in the face of adversity prevents frustration from ruining your trip. Cheerful books help you take setbacks and snafus in stride.
Funny memoirs like Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened or Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me? will have you guffawing so hard people will stare. Of course, nothing is off limits for comedy legend David Sedaris, whose dry wit dissecting his adventures abroad in Me Talk Pretty One Day and other essay collections is priceless. For family road trips, audio books like Jim Gaffigan's Dad is Fat will keep everyone chuckling for hours on end.
Can't resist a steamy beach read? Look for a romantic comedy like Sophie Kinsella's hilarious Shopaholic series. Parody novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies put a humorous spin on classics you read in school. For a thought-provoking perspective, humor writers like David Rakoff and Nora Ephron tackle weighty topics like illness and heartbreak with a generous dose of wit.
Humor's ability to relieve stress and connect us makes it the perfect tonic when traveling with family or friends. Sharing laughs and inside jokes brings you closer together. Comedy also breaks down barriers when you meet new people. Swapping book recommendations or reading passages aloud is an icebreaker that lightens the mood. Funny books inspire playfulness, joy, and fellowship—ingredients for an unforgettable vacation.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Mysteries and Thrillers Add Suspenseful Twists
Nothing complements a dream vacation like an engrossing page-turner to keep you gripped during lazy beach days or long flights. When rest and relaxation lose their luster, mysteries and thrillers sweep you into high-stakes adventures that get the blood pumping again. These suspenseful stories full of shocking twists inject your getaway with a jolt of adrenaline.
Who doesn't love matching wits with literary detectives to solve puzzling whodunits? Agatha Christie's classic Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries never grow old, no matter how exotic your destination. Modern series like Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike novels and Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad books offer sophisticated, multi-layered puzzles. Psychological thrillers like Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train keep you compulsively turning pages during long layovers. The shocking endings gasp-worthy reveals leave you floored.
For action-packed intensity, you can't go wrong with heart-pounding reads by veterans like Lee Child, John Grisham, and James Patterson. Blockbuster authors like Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Tom Clancy take you on cinematic adventures overflowing with conspiracy theories, international intrigue, and nonstop excitement. Picture yourself racing through their books' exotic locales and death-defying exploits.
Traveling solo? Keep a creepy, isolating thriller like Ruth Ware's In a Dark, Dark Wood or Paul Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World close at hand for companionship during lonely nights far from home. These eerie page-turners ramp up your heart rate and keep you alert when you're out of your element.
Thrilling audiobooks are ideal for family road trips or long drives through remote destinations. Let a talented narrator voice the dialogue and sound effects while you take in stunning scenery passing by your windows. An absorbing thriller makes the miles fly by unnoticed.
Avoid monotony during lengthy travel days by diving into books guaranteed to shock and surprise you. The exhilarating rush of adrenaline and dopamine from an addictive thriller's endless twists and turns is a welcome break from lounging lazily on the beach all day. The unexpected peril facing charismatic heroes keeps you invested in their plight. Racing against the clock to uncover clues and secrets before time runs out is the ultimate vacation distraction.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Page-Turning Romance Novels Set the Mood
There's nothing better on vacation than some quality time with your significant other. And reading romantic page-turners together is an intimate, affordable activity perfect for couples getaways. Curling up with steamy love stories enhances relaxation, brings you closer, and sets the mood for passion.
Indulging in a heart-fluttering romance novel allows you to escape into an idealized fantasy world. The beautiful tropical setting of your vacation makes an idyllic backdrop for falling under these books' spell. Passionate declarations of love and lavish romantic gestures feel even more magical when you're already in paradise.
Reading romance aloud to each other fosters intimacy in a playful way. Taking turns voicing the dialogue lets you perform for your partner. Giggling over the steamy parts gives you a naughty secret. You'll learn which lines make you swoon or roll your eyes, sparking lively conversations.
Getting wrapped up in the characters' emotional journeys gives you insight into your lover's hopes, dreams and fantasies. Discussing the books strengthens communication and understanding. You'll gain inspiration for thoughtful romantic gestures to delight your partner.
Curling up together to read cultivates physical closeness and affectionate touch. Having your bodies pressed side by side releases oxytocin, the "love hormone" that promotes bonding. Tracing a finger over your lover's skin as you follow along builds tantalizing tension.
When things start heating up between the book covers, that passion inevitably spills over. Spine-tingling scenes set the mood for real-life romance better than any playlist. Novel-inspired flirting and caressing soon turns to sweet kisses and more.
Reading also facilitates slower-paced quality time away from sightseeing and adventure activities. You can bask lazily in each other's company without rushing to the next item on your vacation to-do list.
Pack a few captivating romances to enjoy snuggling up with your sweetheart. For a modern fairy tale, try Emily Henry's Beach Read. Its sparks-flying enemies-to-lovers plot complements beach vacations perfectly.
If you prefer an escapist historic happily-ever-after, Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series provides swoon-worthy courtship full of witty banter and longing looks. The lavish Regency England setting and period costumes would pair wonderfully with an elegant cruise ship or villa getaway.
For an emotional rollercoaster, try Jojo Moyes' heart-wrenching novel Me Before You. But keep tissues handy for the tearjerker ending. Its beautiful backdrops of idyllic English countryside and Parisian cafés call to mind scenic European river cruises.
Or pick up Jasmine Guillory's delightfully diverse contemporary rom-com The Wedding Date for an anti-racist spin on a classic "plus one" trope. Its playful tone and real-world escapades offer a modern backdrop for your own big-city adventure.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Indulgent Food Writing Tempts Your Tastebuds
Indulging in mouthwatering culinary writing is a delicious way to stimulate your taste buds and appetite for adventure while traveling. Armchair foodies can explore exotic cuisines and culinary destinations without leaving home. Vivid descriptions of decadent dishes and far-flung ingredients transport you to bustling market stalls, fragrant kitchens, and charming cafés around the globe.
Nothing complements a leisurely vacation better than losing yourself in evocative memoirs recounting formative eating experiences. Ruth Reichl's tales of becoming editor of Gourmet magazine in Tender at the Bone immerse you in New York's dynamic restaurant scene. Reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential gives you a taste of his raucous early exploits as a chef. Francis Lam's Buttermilk Graffiti takes you on an emotional journey through the Vietnamese American food landscape.
Planning an upcoming trip? Immerse yourself in the flavors of your destination through cookbooks and culinary guides. Transporting accounts like Diana Henry's From the Oven to the Table capture a region's unique culture and history through its traditional recipes and ingredients. Or get restaurant recommendations from chef-authors like Jesse Schenker, whose Recipes for the Dead recreates his favorite dishes from around the world.
When you need a break from the beach, browse stunning coffee table books celebrating food photography and artistry. Tables of Contents by the team behind Australia’s curated food journal puts innovative chefs’ visions center stage. Phaidon’s restaurant industry bible The Silver Spoon showcases authentic Italian home cooking. These visually stunning volumes are works of art for your coffee table or e-reader screen.
Food writing also transports you to far-flung places you've never visited. Following charismatic hosts like Anthony Bourdain and Padma Lakshmi as they film travel food shows inspires future excursions. Reading Samin Nosrat's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat or Alison Roman's Nothing Fancy sparks kitchen creativity. Their relatable, welcoming prose makes cooking feel achievable, not intimidating.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Coffee Table Books Showcase Stunning Photography
Gorgeous coffee table books highlighting food photography and artistry transport you to bustling kitchens and markets around the world without even leaving your vacation accommodation. These visually stunning volumes double as interior design objets d'art as well as engrossing reads. Leafing through the vivid images and artistic plating will have your mouth watering in anticipation of your next locally-sourced meal.
Phaidon's industry bible The Silver Spoon showcases authentic regional Italian cooking with lovingly detailed photos. Dishes like handmade gnocchi, beef braciole, and tiramisu appear backdropped by charming trattorias or Italian country homes. The sweeping photography immerses you in la dolce vita ambience. You can almost smell the basil and parmesan wafting off the pages.
Australian taste makers serve up innovative, ingredient-focused cuisine in Tables of Contents. Clean, modern compositions celebrate global flavors like yuzu kosho, labne, and Sichuan peppercorns. Striking minimalist tablescapes mixed with hyper-local elements like river stones and eucalyptus adorn its pages. This contemporary culinary vision makes for enviable Insta-bait.
Photographer Marcus Nilsson's On Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat visually explores chef Samin Nosrat's cooking philosophy. Sun-drenched shots of pantry staples like avocados, eggs, and fresh herbs connect food with its origins. You feel a personal intimacy, like you're peering inside Nosrat's kitchen. Vivid step-by-step cooking sequences illuminate technique. Even novice chefs will feel empowered looking at these photos.
The Cook's Atelier by chefs Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini reveals daily life inside their charming French cooking school. Students chat at shared wooden tables and tour outdoor markets brimming with fresh-caught seafood, aromatic olive oils, and just-baked baguettes. You'll be transported right to provincial Beaune. The unfussy recipes, like roast chicken with Gigi's herbs or Ile Flottante, capture cozy French home cooking with panache.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Historical Fiction Immerses You in Other Eras
Nothing brings history to life like losing yourself in vivid historical fiction during a vacation. Immersing in novels unveiling bygone eras makes imagining yourself time traveling to the past irresistible. Exploring these reimagined settings and fully realized cultures satisfies wanderlust when you can't venture far. Watching seminal moments unfold through relatable characters' eyes illuminates how progress arose. You gain appreciation for modern conveniences we now take for granted.
Renowned authors like James Michener extensively research actual events to ground their epic sagas spanning centuries. His sweeping saga Hawaii transports readers back to the Polynesian voyagers first discovering the volcanic islands. The Source richly depicts archeological digs unearthing civilization's Middle Eastern beginnings. Reading these meticulously detailed epics helps contextualize the Hawaiian luau or Israeli shuk you’re visiting. You vividly visualize daily life in that society developing around you.
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy envelops you in the treacherous Tudor court of Henry VIII. Seen through the sharp eyes of political manipulator Thomas Cromwell, you gain new perspective on seismic upheavals like England’s split from Rome. The calculating machinations, archaic traditions, and extravagant aesthetics make the ruthless 16th century come alive. You feel immersed in history, not just reading it.
Or escape into the Parisian salons and decadence of Les Misérables, brought vibrantly to life by Victor Hugo. Rebellious students and forgotten street urchins speak to contemporary concerns about inequality and oppression despite the 19th century setting. Following relatable everyman Jean Valjean through two epic decades of turmoil keeps you invested in the characters amidst the history.
Fans immersed in Diana Gabaldon’s ongoing Outlander saga experience Scottish highland culture shock right alongside time-traveling protagonist Claire. Her deflate reactions to deprivations we take for granted, like antibiotics and toilet paper, starkly highlight conveniences of modern life. The threat of violence looming over daily tasks reminds us to be grateful for current relative peace. Readers live within the constrained expectations governing women and many minorities just decades ago. This revelation inspires greater open-mindedness.
Page Turners in Paradise: The Best Books We Packed for Our Dream Vacation This Year - Reference Guides Enhance Your Surroundings
Whether you're exploring an unfamiliar place close to home or venturing farther afield, having the right reference guide can open your eyes to details you might otherwise overlook. Human nature being what it is, we often simply don't notice things right in front of our faces. We need context and stories to make a place come alive. That's where a talented guidebook author can make all the difference.
The sheer wealth of information from local experts available at our fingertips is astonishing - and endlessly useful for travelers. While googling reviews of the top-rated restaurants and museums is a good start, reading an in-depth guidebook before your trip allows you to dive deeper. Perusing the history and highlights curated by a knowledgeable author provides insight you can't get from a superficial online search.
For example, when visiting Paris, Rick Steves' classic guidebook highlighted for me the significance of places I would have breezed right by without a second thought. Like the medieval memorial plaque marking the site of the old gibbet where public executions took place outside the Saint-Jacques Tower. Or the faded 19th century letters still visible on the walls of Père Lachaise cemetery, advertising the long-gone groundskeeper. Tiny details like this create a lens to perceive a destination more meaningfully.
Beyond reciting dry facts and figures, talented writers convey what gives a place its spirit - the quirks that make it unique. Like how English humorist Bill Bryson captures the British psyche so warmly and irreverently in Notes from a Small Island. His witty take on culture clashes as an American exploring the U.K. elevates mundane mishaps into revealing insights.
Or Frances Mayes' evocative rendering of Tuscan life in Under the Tuscan Sun. Her poetic observations about savoring seasonal rituals and meandering countryside daytrips conjures vivid images well beyond a typical travel brochure. Readers come away feeling they've personally experienced fading village folklore and breathtaking landscapes she depicts so lovingly.
Even for a huge, heterogeneous country like India, a book like William Dalrymple's City of Djinns manages to eloquently convey its essence. He thoughtfully probes Delhi's multilayered history, weaving in interviews with everyday citizens from all walks of life. This humanistic perspective enlightens readers about the complex soul of the city in a way statistics alone never could.
Local publishers are an invaluable resource for side trips or adventures off the beaten path. For hidden Pacific Northwest trail guides and foraging tips, Mountaineers Books can’t be beat. When road tripping around my native Deep South, University of North Carolina Press handbooks unearthed out-of-the-way barbecue joints, farm stands and folk art finds I never knew existed.