7 Books You Should Pack for Your Honeymoon

And what not to read, too

Michael and I made a few mistakes while planning our honeymoon. We waited forever to go on one, for starters, and we agreed to share our trip with friends who don’t exactly… travel like we do. But there were a few things we did right. We paid extra for the private beach at our all-inclusive resort. (You know who else pays for the private beach? Elderly couples. And they are, by far, the best beach companions.) And Michael gifted me his hand-me-down Kindle so that I wouldn’t do that thing where I spend $50 on new books at Hudson News in the airport and then complain about how heavy my purse is.

I’ve been opting in to streaming entertainment since ABC started releasing online episodes of LOST the day after they aired, and I’ve been a member of Hulu since they launched their Beta platform. So it surprises me that I was resistant to try digital books for so long. But as circumstance would have it, our travel buddies ended up contracting Montezuma’s Revenge during our vacation, so instead of participating in our planned activities, I spent my honeymoon sipping coconut cocktails and downloading books from the convenience of my beach bed (oh yes, there are beds on the private beach). Needless to say, I am now a devoted digital reader when I travel. (And I’d probably be a devoted digital reader at home too… if only I could give myself long enough of a break to read while not on vacation.)

Since then, I’ve been looking for a subscription based e-book service that allows me to try out new books on the fly without having to commit to them on the spot. (The pressure of picking out the perfect book is how I end up spending almost as much time researching new literature as I do reading it.) So I am really excited that we get to partner with Oyster today on APW’s very own honeymoon reading list, because it combines my favorite things:

  • Not having to get up from your comfy spot while on vacation
  • Risk-free purchases
  • Recommended book lists

If you haven’t heard of Oyster yet, it’s kind of like the Netflix for books. You pay $9.95 for monthly access to their library of over 500,000 titles (or start a free 30-day trial here). All Oyster books can be read at will on either your iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire, or NookHD. You can sync up to six devices if you want to use switch between a phone and a tablet, and since Oyster stores your ten most recently viewed books for offline reading, you can stock up on reads before traveling to avoid international data charges. Oyster says their mission is to lower the barrier to trying out new books, especially ones you might be hesitant to purchase outright.

Humorously, it turns out most of the APW staff accidentally took really heavy reads with us on our honeymoons. (But who’s surprised about that? Not us.) So we thought we’d put together a list of our favorite books for reading poolside, combined with a list of our favorite books that you should probably leave at home for when your partner is gone and you’ve got a bottle of wine handy. The following list is from our reader-in-chief Meg. (I’ve built my current library almost exclusively from her recommendations.) She says browsing Oyster feels like all the library browsing she did as a child, before the world went digital. It’s funny how sometimes the perfectly designed digital space brings us right back to the pleasures of real life browsing.

Meg’s Honeymoon reads:

11/22/63 by Steven King: Look, if there is one book on this list that you MUST READ on your honeymoon, I’d argue this is it. Steven King’s 842-page time travel novel about the assassination of JFK is such a page-turner that I read it in three days. It landed on the New York Times top 10 best books of 2011 list for a reason, but unlike most of the books that end up there, it was pure joy to read. I want to read it again right now. I can stop work to do that, right?

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran: Since this was an APW book club pick circa 2011, before it was even out in the US, you might have read it. But then again, you might not have been an APW reader then, and haven’t gotten around to it. If so, SEIZE THE DAY. Or the honeymoon. I didn’t read this on my honeymoon (wasn’t out yet), but I did read it on the Islands in Greece. It was one the best, most thought-provoking, inspiring, and funniest vacation reads I’ve ever stumbled on. Hell yes, feminism.

Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans: Because it’s clearly hilarious to read a book by this title on your honeymoon! Ha. No, let me be totally frank here. UK bestseller Harriet Evans is my new cousin-(not)-in-law, and is a funny and amazing badass feminist, who also happens to write some of the page turning-est chick lit books that exist. Until I met her, and really soaked in her arguments for why commercial women’s literature is not taken seriously (which are the same as my arguments around running a commercial women’s website), I’d pretended I was too good for chick lit. Let’s all eye roll at past-Meg. After reading some of her stuff, I wondered WHY, exactly, I hadn’t figured out this is how you do light reading ages ago. Because LITERATURE is great, but I’m not always in the mood. So do some light reading at the pool, courtesy of a feminist.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: Apparently this is the world’s best selling mystery. DESERVED. I was possibly a slightly precious reader as a child (who had no TV to distract her), so I read all of Agatha Christie’s oeuvre in middle school. This is one of the best. It’s light enough to be perfect for the pool, and engrossing enough to keep you guessing. And guessing. (Hint: If you suspect them, they’re out. If you suspect them because you don’t suspect them, they’re also out.)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky: Confession, I haven’t read this book yet, but I want to. But the movie was fantastic. (It somehow wrapped it’s arms around exactly what teenager-hood felt like to me. I saw it while I was waiting to give birth and sobbed over the “one day we’ll have kids” ending. ) And books are always better than movies.

A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers: His first. What put him on the map. There was a point back in 2002 in NYC, where this novel was so popular (and for such good reason) it was sort of uncool to admit you actually liked it. I loved it, and I really don’t care who knows.

1,000 Places To See Before You Die For planning all the mini-moons you’ll have, for the rest of your long lives together. Honeymoons are for dreaming. Suddenly I’m sad I’m not on my honeymoon again.

NOT Honeymoon reads:

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon: Look. It’s supposed to be great. (I love Chabon, though I sometimes struggle with him, but it’s always worth it.) But it has a twelve page long sentence. It’s… not a beach read. I carried around a Chabon book for my whole honeymoon, and never made it past page two. It ended up being one of the best books I’d ever read, but the honeymoon was not the time or the place for it.

A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggars: I worked on this (keyword, worked) through the last days of my pregnancy. It’s good, in a Death of a Salesman kind of way. But the pages don’t exactly fly through your fingers. Leave it for bedtimes, on work nights.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer: I haven’t read this one yet either, but I’m pretty sure I want to. That said, the tale of a failing marriage is basically what you don’t need to bring with you on your honeymoon. Seriously. I know you’ll feel all ironic and wise doing it, but the nonsense fights you’ll pick (if you’re anything like me) are not going to be appreciated.

Since APW is full of the smartest readers on the Internet, we thought we’d kick it to you guys for your recommendations.

Which books should everyone be loading onto their devices for the honeymoon and which ones do we definitely want to read, but maybe later in the comfort of our own homes? and stay tuned next week for a few more summer reading picks from the rest of the staff!

This post was sponsored by Oyster. Thanks Oyster for helping make the APW mission possible! Don’t want to wait for the honeymoon? Click here and get your first thirty days free with Oyster!

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  • SarahG

    I really want to read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History on honeymoon, just because I always heard good stuff about it. Anybody read it? Is it a bad or good idea for a honeymoon read? Also, I freaking love Heartbreaking Work. His descriptions of the Bay Area are the best: “Up there we see everything, Oakland to the left, El Cerrito and Richmond to the right, Marin forward, over the Bay, Berkeley below, all red rooftops and trees of cauliflower and columbine, shaped like rockets and explosions, all those people below us, with humbler views; we see the Bay Bridge, clunkety, the Richmond Bridge, straight, low, the Golden Gate, red toothpicks and string, the blue between, the blue above, the gleaming white Land of the Lost/Superman’s North Pole Getaway magic crystals that are San Francisco.”

    • Laura C

      I think The Secret History is a YMMV book. It’s definitely not bright and sunny, but it’s separate enough from (most people’s) real life that it’s probably not going to bring up intense personal stuff for you to work through? This is my memory from reading it years and years ago, so maybe someone who read it more recently should chime in.

      • Meg

        Yeah I really loved it but it wasn’t really honeymoon reading

  • Cleo

    FYI: you’ve misspelled Dave Eggers’ name in this post. There’s no “A” in Eggers

    ps off to pick up 11/22/63 — love me historical fiction and time travel?!

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Fixed, thank you. :)

      And you will not regret a moment of 11/22/63. I read it at Meg’s suggestion earlier this year (well, listened to it on audiobook), and found myself looking for excuses to drive around just so I could play it. :)

      • Meg Keene

        GOD it’s so good.

      • JDrives

        I heard the audiobook is the bee’s knees. My friend commutes an hour a day and picked it up to make the car ride more bearable. I almost wish I drove to work to have an excuse to listen!

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          I have a lot of respect for audiobook narrators that can act. And whoever read this one is a champ. Also, A++ for authentic New England accents.

          Similarly entertaining to listen vs. read is Middlesex. I’m convinced the reader of that book should get an Oscar.

          • macrain

            YES to this. Audiobooks are my jam, and sometimes I even prefer them to reading. People keep bringing up Beautiful Ruins, and the audio book (narrated by Edoardo Ballarini) is the best ever. I can’t count the number of times I’ve listened to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Claire Danes. I know that seems like a strange one to revisit many times over, but it’s that good.

      • Ariel

        The kindle edition is only $2.99, woohoo!

  • Ella

    I haven’t read The Wife by Meg Wolitzer, but I did read The Interestings. That would not be a bad book to read on your honeymoon. Another bad book (that I haven’t read, but I hear is not a good couples book): The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Maybe don’t read that one….

    • anonpsu

      I loved The Interestings. Where’d you go, Bernadette? is also a good beach/vacation read.

    • Angela

      I read The Marriage Plot on my honeymoon last month. Definitely not recommended for a honeymoon! I was stuck with it though, since I was in a small Mexican town, with no options for another book to read. I DO recommend Beautiful Ruins, which is the other book I brought and read. That one was just lovely – the perfect amount of lighthearted/serious for a beach honeymoon.

      • Lawyerette510

        I second Beautiful Ruins. It was a wonderful book with enough depth but not too much and lots of laughs.

  • AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! I love this idea! I get digital books from the library all the time, and I end up caving and buying kindle books whenever there’s a book I want the library doesn’t have. This would be a much cheaper solution!!!!

  • Laura C

    My mom was just last night saying she wanted to give me Kindle books for the honeymoon! She hasn’t given me the list yet of what she’s giving me, but I will definitely be picking up that Harriet Evans book — looks right up my alley. I also need to get a library membership in my new city, both because it would be sketchy to keep using the ebooks from the library in my old city for too long and because I’m hoping for a slightly different selection. Might have to consider a pay lending library if the local library selection won’t keep me going for long enough. Anyway we will not be beaching for the honeymoon, but long plane flights and some train rides will require reading.

    A few suggestions from me, which are my perennial suggestions: pretty much anything by Elinor Lipman, but especially The Way Men Act and The Inn at Lake Devine. But really pretty much anything by her. Free Food for Millionaires, by Min Jin Lee … maybe a little much for a honeymoon, but maybe not. Beautiful book, anyway. Horse Heaven, by Jane Smiley. Great choice if you’re like me and have trouble putting books down, because it’s one of those books that’s always a pleasure to read but never has a can’t-put-it-down moment. Very relaxing. Something by Jennifer Weiner, for another author of commercial women’s literature who’s really smart about pushing back on not being taken seriously. Marian Keyes. Bill Bryson (especially if you’re honeymooning somewhere he’s written about).

    For myself, I also need to look into if Mercedes Lackey or any of my favorite romance authors — Mary Jo Putney, Amanda Quick, so many others — have anything I haven’t read yet that I can get at a decent price.

  • Ella

    Also, Oyster isn’t the only subscription-based program. There’s also Scribd which is $8.99/month, I believe. I’m not sure either Oyster or Scribd can be supported on a traditional Kindle, though…I think it’s an app that only works on tablets. So if you’re like me and just have a regular Kindle, Oyster and Scribd are out. Still, you can also check out books from your library on your Kindle, or go through Amazon’s new subscription service, too.

  • Alyssa

    The week before my wedding (2.5 years ago!) my little sister read the first Hunger Games novel out loud to me. Needless to say, we purchased books 2 and 3 while on our honeymoon! Some of my favorite memories of that trip were reading in bed together as husband and wife – him one book behind me. As we were in dreary, wintery, rainy Canada (the best!), reading was a must.
    That being said, some less gruesome options I suggest are: Pride and Prejudice (let your inner Lizzie thrive! If not on your honeymoon, when?), The Fault in our Stars, by John Green (YA Lit is a great vacation option, because it’s still deep, witty, and poignant, but with a heap of youthful energy and nostalgia), and Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell (boy who works in IT falls in love with a girl by reading her emails – how could they possibly have a meet-cute after that?!).

    • lady brett

      pride and prejudice, obviously (because i *love* 200-year-old chick lit).

      also, being read to is *lovely* – that’s so sweet.

      • Erin

        Right? 200 year old chick lit does it for me too. And much as I love Jane Austen, I turned to my other favorite Jane, Eyre, for some fun, gothic romance while staying at a (somewhat manor-ish) BnB outside of Acadia in Maine. Love-ly!

        • lady brett

          i just finished re-reading jane eyre a few days ago!

          • Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorites. For funsies, I also read Jane Slayre, but I much prefer the read deal.

      • Alyssa

        She’s a sweetheart. It’s one of my favorite memories of the week leading up to my wedding – when I was so tired but couldn’t sleep. Being read to is so lovely – I had forgotten.

    • The Fault in Our Stars was probably my favorite book of the last year. Great characters, touching story and amazing dialogue!

      • Meg Keene

        Lucy says don’t read this on your honeymoon. She did, and apparently just ugly cried at the pool, and it was no good.

        • Oh my lord. Do NOT read this anywhere you can’t weep without shame. I had to stop reading this on the subway because too many strangers asked if I was okay.

        • Agreed. Also, don’t read it on public transit. “Excuse me ma’am, you’re scaring the children.”

        • Alyssa

          Fair! Fair. 1st anniversary trip, then? :)

    • Meg Keene

      Hunger Games is PERFECT honeymoon reading.

    • Irena

      I am not even kidding, I JUST read those EXACT three books on my honeymoon a couple of weeks ago! Spooky! Granted, both P&P and TFIOS were re-reads for me. I listened to Attachments as an audiobook when we were taking the Eurostar from Paris to London, and I re-listened to the ending literally at least five times in a row, weeping copiously the whole time. Ina good way! My husband (and others I’m sure) thought i was crazy.

      • Alyssa

        That’s awesome! We are clearly book buddies.

  • Felicity

    Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Italy, Hollywood, long lost love!) I read it at the beach this year and it was beyond fantastic and as a bonus, funny.

    • macrain

      Seriously. I loooooooved it and cried happy tears at the end. I’ve even given it a second read and it’s just as good.

    • Meg

      Just read that too! would make a great vacation read.

    • Erin

      I just finished Beautiful Ruins! I loved it. Sweet, funny, and so hard to put down. It’s not anything like what I normally like to read, but I’m so glad I picked it up.

      • Erin

        Yes yes yes! Every honeymoon reading list should include a literary romance that has Richard Burton as a character.

  • Jessica

    Where’d You Go Bernadette, Ready Player One, The Art of Fielding, Fangirl (or any Rainbow Rowell, really), Jennifer Weiner, or the Sookie Stackhouse books are all great beachy summer reads.

    Not all libraries have ebooks, but it’s worth checking out if your library does. I love being able to reserve ebooks that are recommended (for instance, I immediately pulled up the elibrary and put all the recommended books on hold), they also offer a wishlist function. No charge, lots of books, and I don’t have to worry about returning them on time!

    • Jess

      ready player one! loved that one.

      • Jessica

        Yes! They are making a movie of it soon. Also, Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook for extra nerdiness on top.

        • macrain

          Yep! I’ve listened to the audio book and I LOVED it.

    • Gina Florio

      Upvote for Ready Player One!!! Picked up that book on a whim for a beach vacation. I pretty much didn’t surface from reading for the entire day and a half that it took me to finish it. Then I re-read it on the plane home. What a phenomenal book. Although I’d label it with a pretty strong nerd warning.

    • M.

      Yes! I read Where’d You Go Bernadette on my honeymoon. Perfect read!

    • laurabird

      I read this post on my phone, and went to my regular computer literally so I could comment with Ready Player One. That is definitely one of my favorite books that I’ve read in the past five years.

      I’d been telling my fiance about it for a year before he finally picked it up, and he was hooked as soon as he started it.

      It’s the perfect combination of Willy Wonka and World of Warcraft, with a love story thrown in for good measure, and I love that it kind of gets a message across without being preachy. So all in all, yay for Ready Player One!

      • THIS made me rush to the library site and place Ready Player One on hold. :) Way to intrigue me, Laurabird!

    • mackenzie

      Where’d You Go Bernadette is such a fun read!

  • Stephanie B.

    I have a wee tale of honeymoon book synchronicity that ties directly back to APW. When I got engaged early in 2013, I read through the APW archives, and I bookmarked a post in which Meg quoted from Barbara Kingsolver’s “High Tide in Tucson,” because the quote spoke so deeply to me:

    “Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, the loss of a job… And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another — that is surely the basic instinct… Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.”

    In July last year, I lost my job 2 months before the wedding, which was about as full of chaos, turmoil, and tears as you might expect. But I remembered that Kingsolver quote, and I posted it on FB the day I lost my job, trying to be optimistic.

    Fast-forward to our honeymoon in October. The cottage where we stayed had a shelf of books that guests were free to take, if something caught their interest. We arrived at the cottage in darkness, 4 hours late, tired and hungry, but started looking around.

    On the bookshelf was “High Tide in Tucson,” and my heart made a little leap of recognition. The book that Meg quoted from, the quote I held on to when my life got chaotic 3 months prior!

    I picked up the book and noticed one page had the corner folded down. I swear I’m not making this up: the page that was dog-eared was the page with that exact quote. Swear to god. I ran and showed it to my husband, who said, “You’d better read the rest of that book, because I think it wants to tell you something.” So that’s how I ended up reading “High Tide in Tucson” on my honeymoon.

    • MC

      This is an AMAZING story!!! I love that quote, and pretty much everything that Barbara Kingsolver has ever written. That lady has gotten me though some deep shit.

    • I am glad you brought up that quote. I remember it from before, when Meg mentioned it. But now, where I am in my life it resonates so much more. Maybe I should add it to my list of books to read…

    • And your story about finding it on your honeymoon is fabulous. :)

  • MC

    A few summers ago I read The Princess Bride (the book!) and loved it, especially because I love the movie and could imagine all the characters’ voices in my head, and I think that would be fun honeymoon/vacation reading. I also just realized that both Amy Poehler’s book and Lena Dunham’s book are coming out in the month before my honeymoon sooooo I will probably need to read both of those. Re-reading Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is not out of the question either. Also, Tiny Beautiful Things is my current Favorite Book – it’s heavy, but chock full of good advice and hilarity and you really can’t go wrong with Cheryl Strayed. Books!!!

    • Jessica

      Cheryl Strayed is highly recommended!

  • Sara

    Here’s what not to read on the plane to be MOH at your college roommate’s wedding: Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin. Whoops. Probably should have read the summary on my kindle first. That’s gotten me into trouble more than once.

    If you’re looking for some other chick lit, I love Jennifer Crusie’s writing. And I read Rob Lowe’s autobiography and Mindy Kaling’s book by the pool on my last vacation, which were both great reads.

    Now off to download Happily Ever After and 11/22/63!

  • macrain

    Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy! I’m trying to save the third one for my honeymoon. For more beachy reads- The Rules of Civility by Armor Towles, Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I also just finished Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan and really loved it- a light read but also has some heart. Her book The Engagements is also supposed to be good.

    Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh will make you die.
    Lastly, My First Five Husbands and the Ones Who Got Away by Rue McClanahan, because Blanch from Golden Girls, obviously.

  • On our honeymoon vacation in May I read Tana French’s “A Broken Harbor” and started “Wild” from Cheryl Strayed. I loved both!

    Now I’m reading “The Bat” from Joe Nesbo and about to start Roxane Gay’s “An Untamed State”.

    I’ve been in a reading lull for a few years and it feels good to be reading again!

    • A note on Roxane Gay, her “Bad Feminist” book tour begins August 6th at Schuler Books in Lansing!

    • LifeSheWrote

      I love Tana French and my favorite of her four is The Likeness. Definitely pick it up if you liked Broken Harbor. In each of her books she picks a character that doesn’t have all that much depth and makes him/her the protagonist in her next novel. You don’t have to read them in order but it’s so cool to see glimpses of someone and then dive into their world fully (or in reverse, bare references to characters you already know so much about).

      • The Likeness is the first Tana French book I read. Oh my goodness, it is the best. I loved it. What a story.

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Love love love Tana French. If I loved In The Woods, will Ilike The Likeness even better?!

        • LifeSheWrote

          Um, only so much better! It picks up 6 months after In The Woods left off (these two books have the most overlap actually) and is all about Cassie Maddox. You will love it. Probably go get it right now and start reading it tonight. :-) @kater711:disqus, that was my first one of French’s too! My feelings exactly.

    • GCDC

      Another vote for Tana French. I basically buy In the Woods for anyone who even casually mentions that they are looking for a book to read. So good!

  • Jess

    i read most of the enders game saga and mr. penumbra’s 24 hour book store. my husband started jasper fforde’s thursday next series (on my recommendation since it’s my favorite series ever.) he made it through the 1st and loved it, and by the end of the trip was was re-reading them myself. (we were on a beach. lots of sunny reading time) :)

    • Jessica

      Penumbra made me really start paying attention to typography–loved it.

    • LifeSheWrote

      Have you read Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde? (NOT to be confused with FIFTY Shades of Grey which came out two years later and is decidedly… different than the one I’m talking about.) I LOVED that book and can’t wait for the prequel which is hopefully coming out next year. I’ve also read all the Thursday Nexts… but Shades of Gray totally stole my heart. Also, I love love all of the Ender’s Game books (still reading them as they come out even though the newer ones can’t hold a candle to Ender’s Shadow) so I’m guessing we have similar tastes….


    • Oh I love Jasper Fforde! My friends and I ended up at two stops on his same signing tour because we’re nerds or groupies or just plain weird (all of the above perhaps?).

      Also I just looked up Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store and I’m intrigued!

    • Kara E

      Love love love Thursday Next!

  • Leslie

    Gah! I was begging for this about a month ago before I left on my honeymoon. I am still happy to have it for future travels, or just general beach reads. Anything by David Sedaris is my absolute favorite reading for travel. It’s funny, engaging, and the vignettes he writes mean that you can read small sections while on a train/plane/bus and not worry that you forgot something when you go back to it four days later. I also brought with me The Reader because I grabbed a copy for next to nothing at Goodwill. Um, not a good honeymoon read. I also generally love any kind of young adult fiction when I want something for traveling/beach/lake house reads.

    • JDrives

      I rarely buy books, because libraries! But I own hardcover copies of Every. Single. David Sedaris. Book. That’s how awesome I think he is. Fist bump!

      • Meg Keene

        Buy books sometimes! For authors! Signed, an author who likes feeding her kid <3

        • JDrives

          You’re so right! And I do, but definitely not enough. I bought your book though! (and am currently tracking down which fellow bride-to-be I lent it to…hmm).

          • Meg Keene

            HA. It’s ok. If that book is being passed from hand to hand, it’s basically living a publishers wet dream ;)

          • JDrives

            It’s the only unsolicited advice I give to my newly engaged friends. “YAY CONGRATS!! Wanna stay sane? Buy this book, read this blog. Any questions? Good. Let’s drink champagne.”

          • KnitterBride

            I lent my copy to an engaged friend before we started planning our own wedding, and keep renewing a library copy for myself. It is definitely being shared!

    • Stephanie B.

      My advice about David Sedaris is — if you are the driver, do NOT listen to him on audiobook, because you will laugh so hard that you’ll be in danger of running off the road. True story. (Didn’t run off the road, but it was a close call. There are some cows in central Ohio that still talk about me.)

    • Amanda

      I love David Sedaris so much we read one of his essays at our wedding. My mom thought I was insane but it was just perfect. “The End of the Affair” from “Dresa Your Family in Cordurory and Denim. We have tickets to see him in October and I plan on having him sign the copy we bought just for the wedding.

      • Leslie

        I love this! I actually read that book on my honeymoon. When I finished it, I left it at the apartment we rented in Paris so somebody else could enjoy it.

  • Jessica

    Oh! I need to plug Mark Reads here, because he is amazing. He reads a lot of books out loud and then talks about the individual chapters and the entire book in the context of social constructs and justice as well as what he just does and doesn’t like. I listened to him read the entire Song of the Lioness series (I was obsessed with them as a tween), along with some other old favorites. If you want to hear a new view on an old favorite check out if he’s read it! http://markreads.net/reviews/

    Also the Vaginal Fantasy book club curated by Felicia Day and a couple other really smart nerdy ladies is definitely worth checking out if you’re into the romance genre.

    • Meg Keene

      SONG OF THE LIONESS! Readers, unite!

      • Yessssssss. I was (let’s face it, still am) moderately obsessed with Tamora Pierce as a tween, and Song of the Lioness is the besssssst. Ima gonna need to buy new copies of her books for when I have kid because some of them might be too worn out by then (although the most recent copy I saw in the bookstore of Song of the Lioness have Alana posed between her two love interests and it pissed me off so much (strong woman! on her horse in the middle of the desert! Why do you need the cover to focus on the love triangle when this is really a book about her finding herself that happens to involve some dudes but should not be the focus! bah.)

      • Caroline

        The song of the lioness is my comfort object. I have several copies because as a teen, I needed one at mom’s house, one at dad’s house, and if I went out of town and forgot it, I probably needed a copy with me for the week.

        I’ve estimated that at this point, that I’ve read Alanna the first adventure about 150 times.

        I’ve been a huge fan since I was a pre-teen. (In middle school, I played hookey with my french teacher to see Tammy speak and get books signed) Tamora Pierce will always be my favorite author, and the Song of the Lioness my favorite book. I may have other also-favorites, but it will always be my favorite, by virtue of my long love for it.

    • Jenny

      The fact that the Vaginal Fantasy book club exists is making my day!

  • Amanda

    I bought Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” for the honeymoon. Not sure what I was thinking. It was definitely a page turner, but the ending just left me going w.t.f. It was like a how-not-to have a healthy marriage.

    • Mallory2

      Gah! Gives me anxiety just thinking about that book! The further I get away from reading it, the more I appreciate the character development, intricate interweaving of the plot, and insight into the mind of a sociopath, but sheesh! Def not a good honeymoon read :)

  • LifeSheWrote

    I love love loved the book I read on our honeymoon. I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer (in actual paperback form) and it was a fabulous honeymoon read. Loved the vivid characters wound together through three seemingly disparate stories that intersect perfectly by the end. Love the idea that we’re all a part of this bigger picture, a web where individuals come and go but together we make up LIFE. It was just the right amount of funny, sad, and sweet to make a worthwhile and enjoyable read (and the great love stories, one pretty steamy, didn’t hurt either!).

    • kate

      i LOVE prodigal summer!

  • JDrives

    Excited to share this post with my fiance – he’s in a book club (which is where he read “The Circle” by Dave Eggers, which is when he told me about it, and I read it and HOLY COW WHAT A GOOD BOOK) so I think Oyster would be right up his alley. Or that Kindle service mentioned in another comment. Genius!
    I got kinda stuck with 11/22/62 but all this love is making me want to pick it back up.

    • macrain

      I didn’t love it as much as you did, but I am STILL thinking about The Circle, like every time I’m on social media. What stuck out to me is how needy everyone in that book becomes. It’s frightening but feasible!

      • JDrives

        Yes – I think that’s why I say it’s good (because while reading it, I kept going “Yeeeeuch, these people!”), because months later, I still think about it all.the.time. It’s so fascinating and definitely not outside the realm of possibility for our world!

    • Meg Keene

      Totally enjoyed that. Read it on vacation in London over Thanksgiving and it actually sort of fucked with my head. It’s so right on the money it’s depressing. So. I’m not sure I would read it on my honeymoon, but I’d for sure read it.

      • JDrives

        Oh yeah. It’s way too much of a mindfuck to be an enjoyable honeymoon read.

  • Meg

    I just devoured Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings over the course of a week. Was really great

    • ItsyBit

      Me too!

    • scw

      I love “The Interestings”! have you read “The Uncoupling”?

    • Meg Keene

      Ok, damn. Now I have to read this. It looked good, but I’d never heard of her, but you clearly all have.

  • Lawyerette510

    I’m enjoying my Oyster subscription, though I’m looking forward to improvements to the Android App that will allow notes and highlighting (mainly for when I’m reading my book club books). They don’t have everything, but it’s a nice compliment to the library and decreases the number of books I purchase.

    On our honeymoon I picked up a copy of Cutting For Stone from the book swap by the pool, which was great but heavy and not necessarily a honeymoon read, but well worth the read.

    As for other great recent reads: The Ocean at the End of the Lane was awesome. Life After Life was brilliant in its structural tricks, and Americanah was all around fantastic.

    • Ragnhild

      I just read the Ocean at the end of the lane on my honeymoon a couple of weeks ago! Loved it, and wished it was much longer…

    • macrain

      I LOVED Cutting for Stone. The kind of epic, sweeping tale you really get invested in. Love love love. The author is also a physician himself, which I think is interesting- how many doctors do you know writing novels in their spare time!

  • Grace

    And Then There Were None is hands down one of the best mysteries, or just books, I’ve ever read. I make it a point now to pick up a new Agatha Christe book at the used book store in the town my fiancé’s family vacations at. Other things I’m very into that I think would make great honeymoon reads would be anything Douglas Adams has ever even touched, or the Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch (fiancé and I listened to all thee driving to and from family vacations…so good, and so suspenseful!). And John Hodgeman has a couple of fake comedic almanacs that are hilarious, especially in audio book if that’s something you’re going to do.

    • Meg Keene

      RIGHT? I kind of want to read it again right now. When I was browsing Oyster and I found it I was totally like OMG THIS I FORGOT THIS OMG!

  • sarah l

    important note: if you are honeymooning and it looks exactly like the brochure and your beach chair is in the shallow water of the ocean at the height of luxury, remember: the ground is actually water. if you get up to get more pina coladas and drop your kindle, it won’t work anymore, you didn’t just drop it on the ground. even if the resort people are awesome enough to give you a bag of rice to dry your kindle off in, you would still be better off if you hadn’t dropped your kindle in the ocean.

    a quart size ziploc bag will still allow you to operate touch devices while keeping your electronics slightly safer.

    • Meg Keene


      I mean, not that anyone would ever do a thing like that, obviously. Says the girl who’s phone really worked better before it fell in the toilet from her back pocket. TWICE.

  • ha i brought a seriously heavy book on my honeymoon – the luminaries by eleanor catton. it’s huge but a page turner, and i was so happy to spend much of my honeymoon reading on a lake dock :-)

    • JDrives

      That’s next on my to-read list! I’m hoping it will be available through my library by the time my honeymoon rolls around.

  • Pileofstix

    AMERICANAH. It’s a wonderful story about an African immigrant to the US (who also happens to be a whip-smart feminist) and her adventures in love and life. I’m making it sound a bit more wispy than it is and it’s a pretty long read at 608 pages but I seriously plowed through it in about 3-4 days. Seriously, pick it up wherever you’re going. Or not going. JUST GET IT!!


  • Lauren

    Timing couldn’t be better APW! Honeymoon in 6 days!!!!

  • One of the books I took on my honeymoon was “Second Honeymoon” http://www.amazon.com/dp/1455515957 It’s a murder mystery by James Patterson about honeymooning couples getting murdered. I couldn’t resist the humor of taking it on my honeymoon, then lent it to a friend for hers, so the book got to go on it’s own second honeymoon.

    It’s definitely a fun beach read. Murder, mystery, romance… and it’s fast-paced which I like for vacation books.

  • Caitlyn

    The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the only book your list that I have read. BUT WOAH – it is one of my all time favorites and you should definitely read it. I discovered it in high school way ages ago so it holds a special place in my heart – and the movie is one of the few movies that actually got the book (I think the author wrote the screenplay). I shared it with my fiance’s little brother when he was in high school and I knew he was struggling. Of course, he never told me this, but I know it got him through some rough times (evidenced by the fact that he still has my copy!). In fact, every time I see a copy secondhand, I pick it up to give to the next kid I meet that I can tell needs it. It is just one of those books that really understands what it is to be a teenager, but also to feel alone. And it makes you feel so very much less so and very understood. So read it and then give your copy to a teenager :)

    The rest of your recommendations sound lovely and I could really use some new books, so I will be working my way through them – thanks!

    • ItsyBit

      Right? The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of my all-time favorite reads… ever. And I don’t even really like the construct of “favorites.”

  • LifeSheWrote

    Some books that I think would make great honeymoon/travel reads include American Gods (Neil Gaiman), A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), Away (Amy Bloom), Bel Canto (Ann Patchett), Blind Sight (Meg Howrey), pretty much any of Barbara Kingsolver’s books (especially Prodigal Summer or Flight Behavior), The Likeness (Tana French), and The Whiskey Rebels (David Liss). My recommendations are based on what I think is the right ratio of worthwhile and meaningful to light enough to allow you to function and enjoy your trip without feeling overwhelmingly sad or picking fights with those around you (*ahem* not that that ever happens to me), engrossing stories that I couldn’t put down because I didn’t want to leave the world the author has created with those particular characters, and memorable books that stuck with me as (lighter) favorites that I find my thoughts returning to, months and years later. [Anybody who read/liked any of those books have any recommendations for me?!]

    • moonlitfractal

      I love American Gods, but would probably avoid it on a honeymoon. The stuff with Laura would probably upset newlywed me.

      • LifeSheWrote

        Oh yeah. Excellent point. Actually I read it shortly after we got engaged and loved the notion of “everyone has to do their own time” and made (ok maybe ridiculous) parallels to everyone planning their own wedding dealing with their own issues no matter how much APW you’ve read. Ha! (I felt like an expert until, predictably, I had my own wedding-related challenges to face!) (And I totally know it’s preposterous to compare in any way jail sentences and engagements but maybe that’s indicative of how I felt at the newly-engaged-holy-shit-we-gotta-plan-an-actual-wedding-with-our-actual-families stage?)

      • LifeSheWrote

        Oh yeah. Excellent point, @moonlitfractal:disqus. Actually I read it shortly after we got engaged and loved the notion of “everyone has to do their own time” and made (ok maybe ridiculous) parallels to everyone planning their own wedding dealing with their own issues no matter how much APW you’ve read. Ha! (I felt like an expert until, predictably, I had my own wedding-related challenges to face!) (And I totally know it’s preposterous to compare in any way jail sentences and engagements but maybe that’s indicative of how I felt at the newly-engaged-holy-shit-we-gotta-plan-an-actual-wedding-with-our-actual-families stage?)

  • Bsquillo

    Well, shucks, now I’m wishing I was on my honeymoon again.

    • Meg Keene

      Me too. I got really bummed out when I was putting together this list. Maddie offering to take the kid for 24 hours for our 5th anniversary in two weeks is… not going to be quite the same… though lovely. SLEEP, MAN.

  • Emily

    The Rosie Project– really funny light read!

    • Libby

      This was one of the books I just read on my honeymoon (got back yesterday!) Definitely second this, perfect for a honeymoon read!

    • Mallory2

      Yup, also read it on my honeymoon! Lovely, light, romantic!

  • ART

    I did not read on our honeymoon – my husband isn’t a reader so I knew he’d feel a little abandoned if I brought my book – but when we left for our wedding/honeymoon trip I was in the middle of Vanity Fair…that’s a trip to be reading as a newlywed :)

  • I like every Dave Eggers book EXCEPT Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, I’m just contrary, I guess. My public library lets me download e-books for free, so that’s typically what I use. They’re good for 21 days and I can load up a ton if I’m going out of the country and I don’t have to worry about data or licensing or anything. My “beach reads” have been from Susanna Kearsley and Sara Donati (her Into the Wilderness series is awesome) recently, both recommended to me because I enjoy the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I recommend all three authors very highly!

    • Nicole

      I second Susanna Kearsley!

    • LifeSheWrote

      I feel the same way about Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius. Just not my jam.

  • Mezza

    Anyone else out there who reads a lot of fantasy? I started the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss on my honeymoon – actually on the plane on the way home, but I plowed through the entire 600+ page first book on the flight. There are only two books so far, The Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear, but both are super engaging (and long!). The worldbuilding is incredible, and the mythology created for the world could practically be its own series of novels.

    My current favorite series, though, is Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora trilogy. Hilarious, smart, incredibly broad in scope, and continually impressive in its representation of women, characters of color, diverse (if imaginary) cultures, and varying sexual orientations. Would make for excellent beach reading, aside from a few gory battle scenes (and the fact that no character is safe, a la Joss Whedon and George RR Martin).

    • I loooooove Patrick Rothfuss- there’s a novella about Auri coming out this fall to help tide you over. I’ll have to check on the Lock Lamora trilogy. In terms of favorite books from someone who’s read a decent amount of fantasy, I really love Robin McKinley and find her books to be very engrossing (esp. Sunshine and Spindle’s End) and Jasper Fforde’s Eyre Affair and everything else by him (esp. Shades of Grey).

      In terms of other long worldbuilding books but with more of a romance-y spin (for the beach-reading), I enjoyed Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel books- the first one is Kushiel’s Dart- although that can be more of a hit or miss for recommending to people- I enjoy the alt-Earth setting and the courtly intrigue part, but the main character is a courtesan who deeply enjoys BDSM and the third book gets really really dark (like trigger warning dark) so YMMV on that one.

      • Ragnhild

        Thanks for the notice about the novella! I started the series not knowing it wasnt finished yet, and it is so hard to wait!

    • Caroline

      The Locke Lamora is on my to-read list, thanks for the reminder to put it on the honeymoon reading list!

      I’ve been reading a little more sci-fi than fantasy lately, but I definitely have recommendations.
      I LOVED Six Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente. It’s a novella which is an absolutely brilliant retelling of Snow white and the seven dwarves. I loved it. And the ending!! I don’t want to ruin it, but let’s just say, the author is definitely a feminist in the best way. (Okay, I may have to come back later with more, can’t of them right now.

    • Natalie

      LOVE LOVE LOVE the Kingkiller Chronicles! He gets the ecology of the world correct. I haven’t found another fantasy author who understands and describes the ecology/environment of the world so well. Best fantasy I’ve read since… maybe ever? Definitely rivals Guy Gavriel Kay, my other fav fantasy author, and his Fionavar Tapestry & A Song for Arbonne and Tigana.

      I haven’t read Scott Lynch. I’ll have to check him out.

  • scw

    I read all of the comments and am still sure I must have missed someone recommending this, because I know APW has a lot of Tina Fey fans, but “Bossypants” is a wonderful, engaging, super easy read. Perfect for the beach and airplanes (as long as you’re OK laughing in front of strangers. I read this while proctoring an exam and it was probably not the most professional decision I’ve ever made). [Edited: oops, I still did miss it, but I’m leaving this here anyway because it’s a favorite vacation recommendation of mine!]

    I read Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom” flying and camping on my most recent trip and loved it as a vacation read. Probably not an excellent honeymoon read, for similar reasons to the Wolitzer mentioned above, but I highly recommend it in general if you like a longer novel.

    • Erin

      Bonus for reading Bossypants on your honeymoom: no matter what is happening on your trip, you will have written proof that you are having a better time than Tina and her poor husband had on their honeymoon.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    I had to download 1 or 2 more books to my nook when our sleep schedules never synced on our honeymoon and I had lots of time alone at night. (We were in Rome from the West Coast and each handled jet lag differently.) I couldn’t get through the Nathaniel Hawthorne that would have been appropriate. I read “The American Way of Eating” by McMillan and “Overdressed” by Cline.

    While the maps didn’t work on my b&w nook, I really liked having our guidebook on an e-reader – lighter, more easily searchable, and unlike the guidebooks my husband got from the library, we could mark it up.

  • Erin

    I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower on a flight from Hartford to L.A. about seven years ago. So. Fucking. Great! And in my post book daze, I left the book on the plane! I was sad not to be able to immediately loan it out to everyone I know, but also have always hoped the person in that seat on the next flight picked it up and had a magical reading experience on their flight. (And the movie is great, too)

    • ItsyBit

      Awww, I know that feeling of “NOOO MY BOOK!” But I will say that Charlie probably would have approved the whole “finding a used copy of the book on a plane” thing. :)

  • Erin

    Okay I just commented and forgot to add how thrilled I am that Amy Poehler’s book comes out the month before my wedding. Will I be able to save it for the honeymoon or will I need it to escape to in those last weeks of planning insanity? That is the question. …Also, I am hoping so hard she does a book signing in NYC so I can have her sign my nook. I have been collecting writer autographs on it for 3 years now, and since I am a comedy writer, the ones I treasure most are Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling and Kristen Schaal. Amy is the only missing piece to my Nook of Inspiration!

  • Mallory2

    World War Z by Max Brooks. Toted as an oral history of the zombie war. Sucked me right in and had short chapters/interviews that were loosely tied together, so it was easy to put down and pick back up. Also a great plane read for those longer flights!

    • Jess

      Really enjoyed that book! I hate zombie movies and shows – the imagery really gets me – but I LOVE post-apocalyptic stories. So go read it!

  • Sarah

    Am I the only one who is wondering why people are reading so much on their honeymoons? With all the sights to see and experiences to be had, not to mention the time we wanted to spend together, the last thing we wanted to do was sit with our noses in books. I suppose we could have read a ton on the flights (come to think of it maybe I did finish a book on the flight home) or maybe I would have read if we had gone to a beach resort (we backpacked southeast Asia), but reading just didn’t fit into our travel plans. Is honeymoon reading a thing? is it because more people go to beach resorts and have a bunch of down time? I enjoy a good book as much as the next person, but my reaction to this post was “people READ on their honeymoons?!? What about traveling and boning?” Haha, guess we’re unique.

    • Stacey H.

      I’d say to each their own on this one. There’s a lot of variables– it really depends if reading is a part of your lifestyle/relationship and what kind of vacation or honeymoon you want to have.

      Some couples really like to read and talk about what they read, some people really enjoy their own quiet time as a part of their relationship, but other people don’t like to read at all! Some people like to travel when they vacation, some people like to stay in one spot– some people are active and others like to relax by a pool. I actually knew one couple who had an entirely separate day from one another on their honeymoon— he went to play golf and she went to the spa!!

      In our case, we have a couple of months before our wedding, but I have an incredibly stressful day job and he’s finishing his Master’s, so we’re truly looking forward to having some time to unwind and relax. We don’t get that very much in our normal lives so we planned our honeymoon to allow us to recharge. We’re definitely going to do a lot of interesting things, but I expect that there will be some moments where we are sitting on our balcony sipping coffee, just enjoying the view and reading together.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I didn’t expect to read so much, but we adjusted to the time change differently. We were up together from late morning through dinner, but one of us always slept in, and one of us always crashed early. (That’s still about 9 hours/day of activity together, which was plenty.) When I was up early, I could explore alone, but I didn’t like being out alone in the foreign city after dark, when I was up later. A lot of people would read lots when they have hours on end in an apartment they don’t have to clean, with no work responsibilities or TV.

      We’ll definitely discuss time zone adaptation before our next overseas trip, though.

    • Caroline

      My honeymoon plan is definitely “Sit on the beach in front of our cottage reading while my sweetie swims. Come inside briefly to prepare fabulous meals made with fresh local produce. Eat really good food. Read some more. Swim when it warms up enough to warm me up after. Eat a really delicious dinner. Intimate evenings.” So yes, tons of reading!

      • that was very similar to mine! i love that i married someone who was happy for us to spend our honeymoon just reading and relaxing. there will be other more adventuring vacations.

    • Iz

      I totally agree with you, Sarah. My reaction to this post was just the same!! I read a ton in my “normal” life – but barely on vacation, and certainly not on honeymoon! (we went to Iceland, so between sightseeing and cool bars, there wasn’t much time for reading). I always take one book with me when we travel, but it’s generally just for the plane/airport.

    • Ragnhild

      We both love to read so it was no surprise we read a lot. Also, it was great to not have to run around and see stuff all day, even every day, and just chill with a book after all the craziness of planning a wedding.

    • Natalie

      I usually travel like you do, but every once in a while I end up on an unintentionally relaxing trip. There was the time we were staying in a tiny fishing village in Mexico with my fiancé’s parents, and it poured rain for 3 days straight. Our plans for long day hikes and bird watching and snorkeling and whale watching had to be revised, and I was very glad to have a ton of unread books on my Kindle. There’s only so many times you can play the same board game with the same 3 people in 24 hours…

  • Stacey H.

    Holy crap thanks to this fantastic post and the comments, I now have an excuse to buy a Kindle and a book list long enough to get me to my honeymoon, through my honeymoon and the first year of marriage. HOLLA!

  • Susanna

    Fun topic. In the same vein of “Wallflower,” I second the recommendations of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple. If you’re looking for some smart and sassy chick lit, check out “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell. Or anything by Rainbow Rowell. For some good, fun mysteries, two of my favorite books, period, are “To Say Nothing of the Dog” by Connie Willis (time travelling Victorian comedy of manners, what!?) and “The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley (I mean, a precocious nine-year-old solves murders using chemistry). Non-honeymoon reads- The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

    • Emily Shepard

      YES to “The Sweetness At the Bottom of the Pie”!

  • Alyssa

    Read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I have been reading this series for over a decade (and I just turned 26). Few books have made me more confident in marriage and in my own marriage. It is fun, compelling, and will certainly keep you in the mood for that honeymoon.

    • Caroline

      I love the Outlander books!

    • Natalie

      The Outlander series does romance right. It’s not about the happily-ever-after, it’s about living and loving together day in and day out. So romantic. And such a perfect beach read. They’re all page turners.

  • teafortwo

    I read a beautiful (and very Canadian) novel that follows the protagonist through her childhood on the prairies, into marriage, kids and old age.

    Three quarters of the way through the book, her husband dies in bed next to her after 40+ years of marriage, and oh. It’s a quiet, understated scene in the novel. My reaction on my honeymoon was neither quiet nor understated. I turned to my husband-of-three-days, squeaked out, “I JUST REALIZED THAT ONE DAY YOU ARE GOING TO DIE AND IT IS GOING TO BE AWFUL” and then just let loose and SOBBED.

  • Aj

    On our first vacation after our wedding (not our honeymoon but a belated birthday trip) I read Gone Girl. I know I was the last person in the world to read it and I had no idea what it was about (I’m a bit under a rock about popular books…). Yep talk about picking unreal fights. Read it (I finished it in a day) but not on a romantic vacation!

  • Caitlin_DD

    Haven’t checked all the comments, but anything by Terry Pratchett! Funny, engaging, but also easy to put down and pick up at your leisure.

  • mackenzie

    Jumping onto this thread late to give a shout out to the Betsy-Tacy book series. How did I, a voracious reader, miss these books growing up? They’re just so wonderful. Though the books are over a hundred years old (which is in itself pretty awesome), the stories are timeless. The books begin when Betsy is five years old and follow her through college and beyond. The prose and themes get more sophisticated as Betsy grows us. Betsy is a self-confident, burgeoning feminist full of independence and dreams–pretty remarkable for a story taking place at the turn of the century. Truly, a sweet and enthralling book series. Great for the beach or any day. And this newest printing has forwards by current female authors who were inspired by Maud Hart Lovelace’s work–Judy Blume, Ann M. Martin, Anna Quindlan, Meg Cabot.