Good Summer Holidays Reads that Keep Your Mind Active

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You are looking at a lengthy summer break or just looking at a few weeks of holiday “getaway.” You know you want to “veg” out and so you have plans to get into the sun, to party it up a bit, to eat fattening and “bad” foods, to drink a bit too much, and to love the time of no responsibilities. At some point, however, this all gets a bit “old,” you are putting on the pounds, and you’ve had one too many hangovers. It’s time to stimulate that brain again, if only by reading a book or two. For the non-fiction and fiction lover both, there are some potentially pretty good stories out there – stories that will provide humor, inspiration, and some real-life truths. Here, then, is a list of possibilities for you:


1.       Primates of Park Ave. by Wednesday Martin.

While set in New York City, this story could be told anywhere in which the uber-rich reside, settle into their privileged lifestyles and raise their children. This book is rather a condemnation of the manners in which some very wealthy conduct themselves, but it offers some great insights into personal values.

2.      Intimacy Idiot by Isaac Oliver

As a performer, Oliver is hilarious. As a writer, he is equally as so. This newest book is a compilation of a gay man living the wildlife in New York and dating anyone and everyone. It is both outrageous and outrageously funny, but has some serious points to make about the LGBT life.

3.      Irrepressible by Emily Bingham

Bingham has written a biography about her aunt, Henrietta Bingham, who grew into adulthood during the 1920’s Jazz era of the American South. She rejects her family’s pompous lifestyle and nurtures her own persona through sex, jazz and addiction. Her family’s attempts to “hide” this errant child are to no avail. The inevitable clash of values between rebellious teens and inflexible parents is portrayed in both humorous and inspirational ways.

4.       Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This is a great read about dating, love, and romance among young adults of the 21st century. Through a variety of personal experiences, Ansari paints a picture of love relationships that are touching, hilarious, and sometimes outrageous.

5.       You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Tracy Daugherty

This autobiographical sketch is written by a young woman who has not even lived half of her life. It is a story of determination, risk-taking, failure, and a rise to fame on the Internet that has become a modern rags-to-riches story.

6.       Guantanamo Diary by Mohamendon Ould Slahi

If you are looking for something gruesome and horrific, then you will want to read this book, written by a Guantanamo prisoner who is still there. After three years of detention and having no idea why he was imprisoned, the author began a daily diary which was spirited out and is now published. It is a harsh tale and demonstrates mankind at its lowest, and describes a prison that defies all of the values of justice by which America says it stands.


While fiction is often not as inspiring, there are still great reads that will cause you to pause and contemplate a few things. Great new reads ready for you trip to the beach include the following:

1.       Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

A thriller about a crazy mysterious marriage, this you will not be able to set down. You’ll even skip that party to finish it!

2.      One More Time by B.J. Novak

Here are a collection of fictional short stories, absolutely funny, but with some very good insights into society and human nature as a whole. This one you can obviously read in segments, so it’s perfect for a holiday schedule.

3.       No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey

When a wealthy family living in London loses everything during the crash of 2008, they are forced to move to New York City, where hubby has had to take a job with a huge pay cut. The adjustments and insights that they gain as they adjust to their “downfall” are zany and crazy, but, in the end, they get their priorities straight.

4.       One Last Time by Johnathan Tropper

A poignant tale of a middle-aged man who has made a mess of his life and is now living pretty much in poverty while his wife and daughter have moved on. When he discovers he has a heart condition that will kill him, he elects not to have life-saving surgery, and, instead, plans his final days and how to redeem himself. The story is both touching and inspirational.

5.       The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla

While the book is a fantasy about after-life, the story is both shocking and revealing. So many statements about human frailty, love, irrationality, and betrayal.

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