September 6, 2018

And just like, that summer is almost over.

We’re only a few weeks away from the season of pumpkin spiced lattes, apple picking, and big comfy sweaters. And, if you’re like me, then you’re probably thinking, “But, there’s still so much I want to do?” But how would you feel if I told you there’s still time for that summer vacay you’ve been dreaming about since last winter?



Bonus: This vacay doesn’t involve getting out of bed and dealing with the stress of going through TSA and throwing out an half empty bottle of perfume because it’s 0.1 oz too big. And, to make things better, this vacay is totally affordable.

So ready to know how you can end your summer with the perfect vacay?

Pick up a book!

I know what you’re thinking, “I really wanted to go somewhere exotic, Ebony—not the library.”

But here’s the thing: We forget the power of a good book. Studies show that books can help us reduce worry and stress, become more empathetic, keep our brains sharp, and even help us sleep better.

Plus: Books have the power to transport us to worlds we would never be able to visit on our own. Think about it: We would have never been able to visit Hogwarts if J.K. Rowling never wrote Harry Potter. A 2009 study from the University of Sussex showed that even just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent.

Even just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68 percent.

“By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination,” study co-author and neuropsychologist David Lewis told The Telegraph.

So, ready to take a trip via the pages of a good book? In honor of #ReadABookDay, here’s a list of the Shine community’s favorite books that will transport you to a different world:

1. Crazy Rich Asians—Kevin Kwan

Picked by: Haley Goldberg, Shine HQ’s Content Strategist


This New York Times Bestseller and now successful box office hit will give you an inside look into the extravagant world of Singapore’s social elite. From jealousy to constant gossiping to greed, there’s nothing this book doesn’t cover about the world of the rich and famous.

2. The Nightingale—Kristin Hannah

Picked by: Shine member Megan, @meg_garrell


Set in France in 1939, the world of two sisters are turned upside down when the perils of WWII spill over into their country. Occupied by Germany, France is no longer the country it used to be which forces these sisters to do whatever they can to survive and protect the lives of those around them. Their harrowing story will change how you view resilience.

3. The Borrowed—Chan Ho-Kei

Picked by: Ebony Bellamy, Shine HQ’s Editorial Intern


Taking place in Hong Kong during the 1960’s to present day, this riveting tale follows the career of a detective and highlights the six biggest cases of his career. Each case reveals the changing political and social climate in Hong Kong and will show you how history has a habit of repeating itself.

4. The Muse—Jessie Burton

Picked by: Shine member Maddie, @maddie_joanna


This exhilarating and suspenseful tale will take you the streets of London and Spain in the early and mid-1900s. The novel follows two women connected by a painting, and it’ll open your eyes to what it means to be passionate, driven, and how your actions will always have a consequence.

5. Pachinko—Min Jin Lee

Picked by: Mia Lavimoniere, Shine HQ’s Senior UX Designer


This heartbreaking tale dives into the evolving world of Korea and Japan during the 1900s. Through the eyes of four generations of a Korean family, Pachinko takes you on a journey of acceptance, love, family, and shows you what WWII was really like in East Asia. This book will open your eyes to the daily struggles we face as we learn to love who we are.

6. Stay With Me—Ayobami Adebayo

Picked by: Shine member Becky, @rebeccaboer


Ilesa, Nigeria, is the setting for this heartbreaking yet beautiful story about the perils of marriage. Seen from the husband and wife’s point of view, their story will teach you the true meaning of love, hope, sacrifice, and female strength.

7. Home Fire—Kamila Shamsie

Picked by: Haley Goldberg, Shine HQ’s Content Strategist


This book spins a spider web of tales that span between London, Massachusetts and the Middle East, shining light on the modern-day Muslim experience, love, loyalty, and honor.

8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time—Mark Haddon

Picked by: Ebony Bellamy, Shine HQ’s Editorial Intern


This captivating and uniquely written murder mystery takes place in the late 1990s in Swindon, England. Told by Christopher John Francis Boone, this story will open your eyes to the complexity of the human mind, the peril of family betrayals, and the innocence of a young boy with autism.

9. The Selection—Kiera Cass

Picked by: Shine member Rachel, @the_tinytang


This New York Times Bestseller will introduce you to a world of budding romance and social climbing. In a world where everyone belongs to a certain economic class, the potential to rise to the top is almost non-existent until the “selection.” The Selection is not only a story about love, but also a story about following your heart and opening yourself up to new opportunities.

10. The Power—Naomi Alderman

Picked by: Haley Goldberg, Shine HQ’s Content Strategist


Thought-provoking and provocative, this book brings up the question, ‘What would happen if women had all the power in the world?” Set in a dystopia world, this novel will challenge the way you view gender dynamics and power.

11. Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them—Newt Scamander (J.K. Rowling)

Picked by: Ebony Bellamy, Shine HQ’s Editorial Intern


If you’re a Harry Potter fan, get ready to be transported back to the wizarding world with this book. Documenting all the magical beasts, the parts of the world they can be found, and how dangerous they are, this “textbook” will remind you that the possibilities are endless when it comes to the power of your imagination.

12. All the Light We Cannot See—Anthony Doerr

Picked by: Shine member Terri, @nmfrida


A tale of survival, and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this story will give you an inside look into WWII in France and Germany. Through the eyes of an unlikely pair whose paths cross during the war, you’ll see the resilience of the human heart and the depths humans will go to be the best person they can be for someone.

13. Einstein’s Dreams—Alan Lightman

Picked by: Shine member Rachel, @rachelwebberwrites


This whimsical story will transport you to the dream world of Albert Einstein as he works on his theory of relativity. His exploration of time and physics will give you a deeper understanding of the world of creativity, the intertwining of science and art, and the power of dreams.

14. Inhuman—Kat Falls

Picked by: Shine member Tanvi, @tanvitee


As the first book in a trilogy, this story follows Lane McEvoy as she travels east of the Mississippi River to a civilization that was destroyed by a biological disaster. Her journey will show you just how far someone is willing to push themselves for the people they love.

15. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon

Picked by: Ebony Bellamy, Shine HQ’s Editorial Intern


This historical adventure will take you to Scotland during two different time periods—1945 and 1743. Torn between two different eras, the main character’s journey to stay alive and adjust to her situation will give you a quick history lesson while also showing the lengths we are willing to go for love.

Read next: 14 Books We Love at Shine HQ to Celebrate National Book Lovers Day