Vacation books

You’ve got the time, here are the books.

The holidays give many of us time for some leisure reading.  These books are all recommended as well-written, absorbing reads but not dense or depressing.  I’m reluctant to say that they are mostly the winter equivalent of beach reads because that’s not accurate.  They are entertaining, interesting, distracting, appealing and perfect travel companions.

If you enjoyed Anthony Horowitz’s Foyle’s War, you will most likely enjoy The Daniel Hawthorne Series.  Horowitz writes himself in as a character who joins Daniel Hawthorne in investigating the murder. There are four books in this series so far, with more expected.  $11.99 each.








Lessons in Chemistry is an entertaining debut novel by Bonnie Garmus about a scientist in the 1960s who is cheated out of her doctorate and left by the love of her life.  The story is about her spunk and courage and how she salvages the mess she is in, which in the 1960s was not easy to do. $18.28







The Ephron sisters have written some of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and Delia also wrote the romantic comedy “You’ve Got Mail”.  This book is lovely and tells the late in life story of Delia who loses her sister and husband in the same year to cancer.  She then has a momentous tussle with Verizon that she writes about in an op-ed piece.  That produces a response from a recently widowed man who is a psychiatrist in California and who shared a few dates with Delia fifty-four years ago.  $14.59


Olive Kittredge Oh William! (2021) And Lucy by the Sea (2022) have the same central characters.  Lucy and William are a divorced couple who have remained friendly.  Oh William! has the couple reuniting and taking a trip together and Lucy by the Sea has them quarantining together in Maine during COVID. Elizabeth Strout is one of Maine’s great current fiction writers and these two recent books do not disappoint.

Oh William! Is $14.10.

Lucy by the Sea is $18.89.

This is a creative love story about two childhood friends who reconnect in Boston in college.  They get together to create video games and before they turn 25 years old, Sam and Sadie have created a blockbuster.  It spans 30 years from Cambridge, MA to Venice, CA, is a most unusual love story and a great read. You do not need to know anything about ‘gaming’.  It was recommended by ASE supporter Ellen C.  $14.69


The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan has something for everyone – historical fiction, cooking competitions, resilient women, and friendship.  It is charming.  $18.91.


This novel is based on real life events.  It is about an orphaned teenager who ends up driving two giraffes across the United States to the San Diego Zoo in 1938. It gets rave reviews and is a very touching story with adventure, love, and history intertwined with fiction. $10.99.


This book by Ruth Ware appears on several year-end lists of the best mystery of 2022.  One reviewer refers to it as ‘unputdownable’.  It is the story of Hannah Jones and her dazzling close friend at Oxford, April.  At the end of their first year, April is murdered.  An arrest is made, and a man is convicted and sent to jail.  Ten years later, after the murderer has died in prison, the case is re-opened, and Hannah becomes deeply involved.  $17.99.


This is Book One of a delightful series called Murder For Christmas: A British Holiday Murder Mystery.  There are currently five books in the series. One reviewer says, “A mystery series perfect for fans of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot”.  $14.99.