A Reading List for Every Kind of Summer Vacation, So No Excuses

What to read at the beach, in the woods, at a BBQ and more

May 25, 2018 9:00 am

This is but one installment of 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September. Stay tuned all month for more.

You don’t bring a hardcover anthology as your reading material to the beach. (Unless you’re using it to weight down your towel when the wind picks up, in which case we’ll allow it.) 

Likewise, a Rolling Stone is never gonna hold up campside … that beautiful overnight dew you go camping in order to wake up to? It’d wither that recycled pulp before the weekend even kicked in. Save it for your commute.

Instead, refer to this: a collection of 12 new titles (and six podcasts) to bring to all your summer destinations, covering everything from the beach to the grill to the hotel bar.

And right before a long weekend to boot.   

The Setting: A seaside villa, a tray of ‘ritas and wavy waves

Read: Cocaine + Surfing: A Sordid History of Surfing’s Greatest Love Affair by Chas Smith
Or peruse: Session cocktails: Low-Alcohol Drinks for Any Occasion
Or listen to: Disgraceland, sordid true stories about rock icons and their dirty laundry

The Setting: Your campsite. Adventure HQ by day, a hearth by night.

Read: Hideouts: Grand Vacations in Tiny Getaways by Gestalten
Or: Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro
Or listen to: The Habitat by Gimlet, a true story (with original audio) of six volunteers picked to live in a Mars simulation

The Setting: Your patio, within a few hours of grilling meat

Read: Michael Symon’s Playing With Fire: BBQ and More From the Grill, Smoker, and Fireplace
Or: Good FIsh: 100 Sustainable Seafood Recipes From the Pacific Coast
Or listen to The Dave Chang Show, a podcast from the man behind Momofuku and roughly half the restaurant concepts in New York

The Setting: At the lake playing board games, talkin’ about simpler times

Read: Calypso by David Sedaris
Or: Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
Or listen to: Slow Burn, A Podcast About Watergate, an in-depth and fresh look at the scandal that rocked modern democracy to its core

The Setting: At home as you please (probably binging Netflix)

Read: Robin by Dave Itzkoff
Or: The Outsider: A Novel by Stephen King
Or listen to: Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, in which the actor opens up about gritty experiences with addiction and trauma, but like in a funny way

The Setting: A business trip with a really nice hotel bar counts, right?

Read: Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership
Or: Uncorked: My Year in Provence Studying Pétanque, Discovering Chagall, Drinking Pastis, and Mangling French by Paul Shore
Or listen to: America Abroad from WNYC, hour-long single-issue reporting on crucial topics regarding our relationship to the world beyond our borders

Editor’s note: Did you notice how this time we skipped the guilt trip altogether about how it’s halfway through the year and nary a title has been crossed off your to-read list? You’re welcome. Except we just did. So nevermind.

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