The words “summer” and “vacation” go together like peanut butter and jelly. When summer arrives, our thoughts turn to travel and memories of summer trips. Yes, it is already July, but summer isn’t over yet! With my travel plans limited in recent years, I am reminded of the years I could not afford to travel. During college, I spent several summers working, where I dreamt of wonderful trips and escaped through books.

Sometimes the memories of trips taken via books ended up being better than actual vacations I have taken. Examples of such mishaps include a disastrous camping trip that resulted in the end of a romantic relationship and a missed Christmas flight where I spent eight hours with a newborn at the Newark airport. I propose we take a summer vacation with little chance of a bad ending by finding some getaways on Stillwater Public Library’s bookshelves.

Let’s start our trip with beaches. Nothing says summer like a beach house, the roar of the ocean and sunsets or sunrises over the water. “Fodor’s Florida,” a travel guide, is packed with information about things to do and see in the sunshine state. Reading about the Keys turns thoughts to snorkeling or scuba diving in that clear azure water. Follow those thoughts to “Reef in Time” by J.E.N. Veron and be transported underwater to Australia. We can discover all the fantastic sea animals and plants while remaining dry! Traveling from there to a beach in Maine, check out “The Last House Guest” by Megan Miranda. Not only are there beaches, but also plenty of intrigue, boats and parties. If you need more thrills in your beach vacation, borrow “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan. His memoir will take you to beaches around the world, complete with bushwhacking, camping and riding the waves.

Perhaps riding on the Autobahn is more your speed for a summer vacation. The combination of “Frommer’s Germany” and “Porsche 911” by Charles Piddock will take you there, hugging the curves in a beautiful car. Or, maybe slowing down and taking in the Alps through “Hiking with Nietzsche” by John Kaag or “The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Riding the Iron Curtain” by Tim Moore is more your style. If so, you can slow down the vacation even more and pick up “Around the World in Eighty Wines” by Michael Veseth. Follow that by sipping your way through Italy with a romantic adventure about a food writer and his bulldozer with “My Italian Bulldozer” by Alexander McCall Smith.

Since this is a book staycation, we are not constricted by time or even the world. Check out some exciting times of love, hardship and decadence with New York theater girls circa 1940 in “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Follow that up with a jump to 100 years later and a time of discovering how to beat death in “Walkaway” by Cory Doctorow. Or, get immersed in a more dystopian world by reading “The Power” by Naomi Alderman. This science fiction novel explores how the world changes when females develop the power to send electrical impulses into others, causing bodily harm. Then to lighten the vacation up a bit, let’s explore “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman, a magical tale of true love and fantasy.

If thrills are on your must-have list, travel to Arizona and the political intrigue surrounding a Senator’s family in “Girl in the Rearview Mirror” by Kelsy Dimberg. Follow a real-life adventure as astronaut Michael Collins describes his career from an Air Force test pilot to his time on the Apollo 11 mission in “Carrying the Fire.”

Whew, it looks like we have a full vacation schedule! Feel free to follow the itinerary I’ve created or make your own with books from our Library shelves or the OK Virtual Library. In any case, I hope you enjoy your literary vacations and the remainder of summer

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