In this hyper-digital age, when even meditation and therapy are guided through apps, the distinct, unplugged pleasure of indulging in a book, with no distractions – no scrolling, no “likes” or “comments'' – feels almost radical. Statistics show the average American spends more than seven hours gazing at a screen every day, but a good autobiography, mystery, adventure, sci-fi, chick lit or piece of historic fiction allows us to escape sans screen time.
When hitting the road, rails or taking to the friendly skies, challenge yourself to unwind – even if for just a bit – by stepping away from your email and Instagram and settling into an old-fashioned page turner. If you prefer the idea of holding a whole arsenal of literary delights in the palm of your hand, an e-reader, like Kindle or Paperwhite, is your best bet (they’re also beneficial if you live in a small or minimalist space!). But be warned: unlike e-readers of the past, more recent models have Wi-Fi connectivity, so you’ll have to resist the urge to explore other apps, especially social media platforms.
Another alternative is to download and listen to audiobooks. Apps like Spotify, Google Play Books, LibriVox or even connecting to your local library’s website or app (pro tip: Overdrive works with local libraries around the country to make e-books and audiobooks accessible and free – all you need is a library card!), so sit back, relax and listen. And when it comes to stashing your reads, LEIGH Backpacks allow ample space to stash your carry on needs in addition to books or e-readers to assure everything you need is right at your fingertips.
Looking for some reading recs? We’ve assembled a book list here with some popular titles, new releases and hidden gems, arranged by category:
MEMOIR: The Storyteller, Dave Grohl
Before he was a two-time inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was a regular kid growing up in the D.C. suburbs whose life changed dramatically when he saw his first live rock show. From riding the wave of success that came as drummer for revolutionary grunge band Nirvana to collaborating with everyone from Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Neil Young and Elton John to Nine Inch Nails, Roger Taylor, Brandi Carlisle and Brian May of Queen, Grohl’s memoir is equally entertaining as it is introspective.
MYSTERY/THRILLER: The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave
Vogue called it the most anticipated book of 2021. It was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club selection. It is a certified #1 New York Times bestseller. “The Last Thing He Told Me” by proven master story-teller Laura Dave centers around Hannah, a newlywed whose husband, Owen, a tech executive, goes missing – along with $600,000 in cash. Her teenage stepdaughter Bailey begrudgingly works with her to try and unravel the mystery as together as they delve into Owen’s bewildering past, uncovering lies and discovering hard truths. Warning: this is a page-turner that will lure you in quickly!
BEACH READ: The Hotel Nantucket, Elin Hilderbrand
They don’t call Elin Hilderbrand the “Queen of Beach Reads” for nothing! With more than 30 titles under her belt, Hilderbrand welcomes summertime with a brand new release, The Hotel Nantucket (release date: June 14). It’s the story of Lizbet Keaton, who along with a personal fresh start, begins a new professional journey as the general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore. Striving to win the favor of the hotel’s new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, there’s plenty of drama that goes on behind the scenes of the hotel, despite its celebrity chef-run restaurant and idyllic wellness center. Even more daunting, the hotel can’t seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed nineteen-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet’s own romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?
HISTORICAL FICTION: Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge
Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the U.S., Libertie is the story of Libertie Sampson, an ambitious young woman coming of age in a free Black community in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn. Her mother, a physician, has a vision for Libertie to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to be independent? When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises a better life on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.
ADVENTURE/FICTION: This Tender Land, William Kent Kruger
Parade Magazine wrote, “If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, you’ll love This Tender Land … This story is as big-hearted as they come.“ A novel about four orphans who escape the school from hell and become a diverse vagabond family, this Great Depresion tale is part road trip/part coming of age story and all heart. Taking place in the summer of 1932, the kids journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift during this tumultuous period of American history, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds.
I hope you enjoy one (or all) of these titles! And as always, happy and safe travels - Andrea
P.S. Use promo code BLOG20 to save 20% on the entire LEIGHway Collection and all Masks & Travel Accessories. It's my special thank you to YOU for reading & sharing this blog post!
Andrea E. McHugh is a travel and lifestyle writer, food editor and content creator whose work has appeared in USA Today, Family Circle, Yankee Magazine, Yahoo! News, MSN, Travel Pulse, The Hartford Courant, Providence Journal and Daily Candy in addition to appearing on Good Morning America, featured in Conde Nast Traveler and more. She’s the founder of NewportStylephile.com. And in her free time (lol), Andrea blogs for LEIGH 2-3 times per month (lucky us)!