Travel-Ready Picks For Every Kind of Summer Reader

Blue Willow's Guide to Summer Reading

What says “summer reading” to you? It could be the soon-to-be-sandy paperback at the bottom of your beach bag. Maybe it’s a stack of travel books to help you plan your next getaway. Or perhaps something fizzy that pairs well with a glass of prosecco?

We’ve put the question to our booksellers—a crack team, if we say so ourselves—and they came up with a delightfully varied list of titles that runs the gamut from informational to lighthearted to… Erik Larson, for goodness’ sake! So if you’re looking for something to read in an armchair, or in an airplane, or on a beach, or before an adventure this summer, look no further. You’re sure to find something that sounds like “summer” below.

The Passenger Series

Jennifer K.

The Passenger Series

Published by Europa Editions

This series is perfect for armchair travel with essays, stories, and images specific to place. If you’re planning a visit, The Passenger gives a real sense of place beyond the usual tourist blurbs.

Purchase The Passenger: Mediterranean

Ireland Walks and Tours


Ireland Walks and Tours

Published by Rough Guides

If you’re planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, then you should consider buying the Pocket Rough Guide: Ireland Walks and Tours. It includes detailed itineraries highlighting all of the best places to visit, including hotels and restaurants, as well as a pull-out map and a free ebook.

Purchase Ireland Walks and Tours


20,000 Steps Around the World


20,000 Steps Around the World

By Stuart Butler & Mary Caperton Morton

For me, it's not a vacation unless it includes some hiking on an awe-inspiring trail. This book includes 50 classic hikes in different parts of the world in every kind of landscape with something unique to offer. Start dreaming and plan your next vacation!

Purchase 20,000 Steps Around the World


Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun

Cat B.

Here We Go Again

By Alison Cochrun

This is a perfect summer vacation read for anyone who loves queer romances as much as I do! Taking place over a whole summer, best friends to enemies… to hated coworkers… to travel companions (???) Rosemary and Logan are enlisted to roadtrip their ill mentor, Joe, from Washington to his beach house in Maine. Along the way they make many unplanned pit stops to Rosemary’s chagrin and Logan’s delight. They also discover what happened to their friendship so many years ago and realize they don’t want to have any regrets.

Purchase Here We Go Again


Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune


Meet Me at the Lake

By Carley Fortune

For me, summer time and travel mean a trip somewhere sunny.  This is a perfect summer beach read, and it pairs perfectly with a swimsuit and a cocktail—let the romance and relaxing begin!

Purchase Meet Me at the Lake


The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley


The Guncle Abroad

By Steven Rowley

If Patrick O'Hara ever offers to take you on vacation, say yes immediately! This delightful follow up to The Guncle takes place on a European tour with the cast of the first novel and some wonderful new characters. It's full of humor, grief and moving forward—I read it in one sitting and ADORED it.

Purchase The Guncle Abroad


Night Flight to Paris by Cara Black


Night Flight to Paris

By Cara Black

To be honest, I haven’t read this yet. (Christina will vouch for it!) I grabbed it because it had “Paris” in the title. Sometimes the best summer reading is a surprise. And it’s hard to beat Paris as a destination.

Purchase Night Flight to Paris


Open Throat by Henry Hoke


Open Throat

By Henry Hoke

I’m going to call this a beach read because it’s short enough to read in one sitting and it takes place in sunny Los Angeles. Mostly, though, it’s because I can’t believe no one has picked this off our shelves—it’s a gem. This is a novella-in-verse, written from the point of view of a hungry mountain lion in Griffith Park. It’s clever and feral, with an explosive ending. You’ll whip through it in one sitting, then find yourself wishing it was longer.

Purchase Open Throat


The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson


The Demon of Unrest

By Erik Larson

It's classic Erik Larson. He takes a huge event (the Civil War) and breaks down how our country led up to the maelstrom. With primary sources, you start to understand how the men (and women) who were involved felt. The hatred from both sides is palpable. I highly recommend it. And if you need something for a roadtrip, the audiobook narrator is awesome.

Purchase The Demon of Unrest