Summer vacations are where we do some of our most serious thinking — whether we're sitting by the ocean, cradled in a hammock, or strolling alongside a river. And yet, when it comes to summer reading, we can be quick to grab the latest flashy espionage novel or an earthy romance slathered in buttery prose. Not that there isn't a time and place for brain popcorn, but lately, I find that I want my summer reading material to match my buzzing mind. And for that kind of constant engagement, I turn to memoir.
I wasn't always a memoir reader, but in recent years, as I have grown older (and more wistful), I find myself longing to commune with others' memories. Reading memoir pushes the mind to confront another's actual, lived experience, and in doing so, reflect on one's own. Plus, in the hands of a beautiful writer, nothing tears at the heart like something true.
Last summer, Cheryl Strayed's Wild became a hit — a memoir so intense that it caused me to weep on a subway in front of a gaggle of strangers. This year's fresh crop of true-life tales are just as engrossing. (Hint: Throw some tissues in your beach bag.) Enjoy your vacation meditations!