These 7 Reads Are Like Taking an Exotic Vacation Without Leaving Your Bed
It happens to the best of us — Bali dreams with a Myrtle Beach budget. While the ideal vacation length is eight days, sometimes all our PTO is spent on co-workers’ weddings, sister’s graduations and friends’ destination bachelorette parties. So, sadly, some of us won’t make it to the top travel destinations of the year IRL, but thanks to these seven new books set in exotic locations, you can go on an adventure no matter where you are. Buckle up.
1. All Summer Long by Dorothea Benton Frank ($27): As a southern husband and his New York socialite wife prepare to move from the big city to South Carolina, where he’s originally from, even the promise of southern charm and a slower pace of life doesn’t make things easy. Their first summer back is full of new discoveries, leaps of faith and strengthened connections. Frank’s writing is vivid, thoughtful and memorable, so you’ll feel like you’re a part of the dynamic cast of characters yourself.
2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi ($27): Homegoing follows the journeys of two sisters born in 18th-century Ghana. The first sister is married to an Englishman and lives in a castle on the Gold Coast. The second sister, in drastic contrast, is sold into slavery and shipped off to America. The book follows each sister’s life as she grows up. What becomes of each of them is surprising, heartbreaking and ultimately inspiring. You may want tissues nearby for this one.
3. The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone ($11): Maddie O’Neill’s grandmother has quite the unconventional bucket list. The terminally ill matriarch has decided to take her entire family on a “death with dignity” cruise around the world. Seventeen-year-old Maddie gets thrust into a summer filled with adventure, love, excitement, loss and heartbreak that will shape her entire future.
4. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel ($27): From the author of the award-winning book Life of Pi comes an epic ghost story-meets-contemporary fable set in 1904 Lisbon, Portugal. There, Tomás finds an old journal with clues in it to an ancient artifact that, if found, could rewrite history. It’s an adventure tale told from three separate perspectives, over the course of three decades, and spans the entire country of Portugal. Critics are already praising The High Mountains of Portugal for being just as ambitious and rich as Life of Pi, so this is definitely a must-read.
5. Stork Mountain by Miroslav Penkov ($26): A young American student returns to Bulgaria, his birthplace, to track down his grandfather — a man who cut off all communication with his family three years prior. The student’s travels take him to the border of Turkey and Bulgaria, high in the Strandja Mountains. It’s there he reunites with his grandfather and learns about the secret past of his family.
6. The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun and André Naffis-Sahely ($26): Set in vibrant Morocco, this is essentially a he said/she said story — already sounds awesome, right? The first half of the book is told from the husband’s point of view, a man who is convinced he suffered a stroke at the height of his art career, because of his failing marriage. Next comes his wife’s version of the story, which, as you can imagine, is MUCH different than her husband’s. The unraveling love story is interwoven with themes of women’s rights, creative freedom and secrecy — an intellectual beach read, for sure.
7. Barkskins by Annie Proulx ($32): Barkskins begins in the 17th century with two poor French brothers becoming wood cutters (or barkskins) for a feudal lord in exchange for land. Their stories fork dramatically from there. A truly epic story that Proulx pulls off beautifully, the rest of the novel spans 300 years and follows their descendants through North America, China and New Zealand. It’s a family saga, for sure, but it also reads as an environmental fable.
Which one of our adventurous summer reading picks sounds good to you? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
(Photo via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
Want to feel motivated to take the next step for your business? Let Office Depot OfficeMax give you the confidence you need with a suite of business services & solutions to help you put your best foot forward. Make a good first impression with business cards & build the business pitch of your dreams with custom presentations. With Office Depot OfficeMax you'll find the tools to reach new customers with confidence.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.