The Books of Summer

Nothing can ruin a long-haul flight or a lazy August afternoon at the beach as much as lack of good reading material. The best #TripLit reads — the ones that distinctly evoke place — can enhance your travels or even inspire you to explore fresh destinations.

Wherever you are, put your Wayfarers on and hit the sand with one of these new books:

  • The Rathbones, by Janice Clark: In this debut novel about a quirky whaling family, characters have mouth-filling names like Hepzibah and Erastus and the setting comes soaked in the salt water of the Connecticut coast.
  • Ten Trees and a Truffle Dog: Sniffing Out the Perfect Plot in Provence (new in the U.S.), by Jamie Ivey: A London couple escape to the daily food festival that is Provence, build a country home, and then discover it’s not so easy to get into the serious business of truffle hunting.
  • This is Paradise, by Kristiana Kahakauwila: This native Hawaiian author writes about the intersections of tourist-brochure Hawaii and the often gritty reality of living on these tropical islands in her debut collection of short stories.
  • Crazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan: This dishy debut novel throws open the gilded doors for a satisfying peek at the lifestyles of Singapore’s super rich.
  • The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese, by Kathe Lison: The cheesehead author here celebrates the French dairymen who still milk cows by hand, the young people who leave office jobs to take up sheep farming, and others for whom cheese is not just a food but a way of life.
  • I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place, by Howard Norman: The writer of the best-selling The Bird Artist presents a memoir rich in the landscapes he’s experienced in his life — the Arctic, Vermont, Nova Scotia, and Point Reyes, California.
  • Delirious Delhi: Inside India’s Incredible Capital (new in the U.S.), by Dave Prager: “We knew we would love living in Delhi the moment we heard the door-to-door paella salesman.” And that’s just the first line of Prager’s humorous, insightful account of taking up residence in this megacity of 16 million.
  • Trains and Lovers, by Alexander McCall Smith: Taking a break from lady detective agencies in Botswana, the enviably prolific Smith interweaves four tales of romance on the rails.
  • The Cleaner of Chartres, by Salley Vickers: You just know that quiet cleaning lady with the enigmatic past has a backstory as vivid as the Chartres blue of the famed cathedral’s stained glass, right?

Amy Alipio is an associate editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine. Follow her story on Twitter @AmyTravels.

Now it’s time to hear what you’re reading. Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter by using the #TripLit hashtag.