~ tag your vacation reading photos @travelbystephanie ~
My husband and I recently celebrated ten years of marriage by sailing the California coast on board the Grand Princess. With a stay in San Francisco and stops in Santa Barbara, Long Beach/Los Angeles, San Diego, and Ensenada, Mexico we were able to see some wonderful coastal highlights and balance that with some relaxation.
My reading life since becoming a mom hasn't taken too much of a hit, but I do love the extended reading sessions I am rewarded with when my husband and I travel. During a course of six days, I plowed through four books, all of the page-turner variety.
While cruise ship libraries often feature less-than-desirable passenger cast-offs, the Grand Princess library, "Leaves", offered readers several shelves of purchased books including an area dedicated to the classics and the Princess Book Club. I could have easily pulled twenty books from the cases to take to my stateroom, but I grabbed The Roanoke Girls. I used a couple of my internet minutes to check its rating on Goodreads, saw the positive rating and review my friend Amy gave it (she never lets me down), and I immediately started it with a latte in one hand. While the subject matter of this book is extremely dark (major trigger warnings here), the author tends to it delicately while wrapping it in a completely engrossing family saga. What a read. This was a five-star for me.
Throughout the cruise, we really enjoyed spending time in the Leaves library. We played Scrabble from the board game collection, tried out some of the daily puzzle sheets left out for passengers, and of course, read our books. Because of the very cool temperatures of this trip, we spent more time indoors than we normally do.
Inadvertently, the last two books I read on the cruise both centered around California serial killers, one fictional and the other not.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark is the literary culmination of one writer's twenty-year obsession to uncover the man who terrorized California over a span of several years in the 1970s and 1980s. While McNamara passed away before the completion of her book, those who best knew her and the case finished a few of the chapters. Interestingly enough, while I was reading this, the Golden State Killer was finally arrested after about forty years of police evasion. Five stars.
Unsub, which I recently learned has been optioned for television, tells the story of a creepy killer (nicknamed "The Prophet") in the Bay Area who presents his victims in horrifying tableau. The case haunts both detective father and detective daughter, who must rexamine the case when similar murders resume twenty years after the case nearly destroyed her father. I read this book in one day - I could not put it down. I am not usually a fan of series, but as soon as I realized there was a second book, I put it on hold. Very dark, and could keep you up at night! Five stars.
My husband, who is normally only a vacation reader, finally started a book I have been encouraging him to read since I finished it over the course of two days in February. I became obsessed with Scott Kelly's memoir when I read it, and even signed up for and attended some local space talks, made my husband watch a Soyuz landing with me live on NASA TV, and bought a NASA t shirt. The book covers his early life with astronaut twin Mark Kelly, journey to becoming an astronaut, and full coverage of his year living at the International Space Station. Everyone I have recommended this book to has become completely engrossed and fascinated by him and his story as well. Five stars.
What did you enjoy reading on your last vacation? Comment below, or post a photo on Instagram tagging @travelbystephanie
Next to travel, reading is my greatest pleasure. When I can combine the two...even better.