16 Exciting and Inspiring Books to Read During Your Staycation

Just because you’re staying home this summer doesn’t mean you can’t go on a page-turning adventure.

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- Posted on Jul 30, 2020

A woman reading a book in a hammock.

Have your summer travel plans been scuttled by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans have canceled their annual getaways and are opting to spend their vacation days at home.  While a “staycation” is certainly a safer way to relax and practice proper social distancing, it can still be hard to ignore the lure of the travel bug. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to experience some adventure right in your own backyard, including opening up a book. Open up a book. Whether you’re looking for travel, fiction, inspiration or a biography, here are 16 titles—some new and many classics— that will make your staycation more exciting, one page at a time.


Travel

These exhilarating travel stories can take you on a whirlwind adventure—all without leaving your hammock.

A Walk in the Woods

This 2010 bestseller, journalist Bill Bryson sets out to walk the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail with a friend. This compelling read combines adventure, a hearty dose of humor, and the history of this beautiful American mountain range.

Due North

Nigerian photographer and travel writer Lola Akinmade Åkerström was inspired to travel the globe after seeing a map of the world in her geography class. This book showcases her travels through her stunning photos and the relatable stories (“From Manicures to Machu Picchu”) behind them.

Secrets of Wayfarers Inn

Travel on a journey like no other with this series of books by Guideposts writer Shella Gillus. Inspired by the true story of the Underground Railroad, Shella’s historical fiction shows us a whole new side of the fight for freedom. “On our journey through life there are safe houses along the way,” Shella says, “places we can go to find rest and comfort: our homes, our churches, our communities. But what’s most beautiful are the people God sends who have found what we’re looking for, who walk before us leading us to places we’ve never known.”

Wild

This award-winning memoir by American writer Cheryl Strayed follows her soul-searching hike on the Pacific Crest Trail after the unexpected death of her mother. Ultimately, Cheryl finds a way to heal by surrounding herself in nature.

 

Fiction

Whether it’s a romance or a mystery, immersing yourself in a good story can be escapism of the best kind.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

This comedy mystery – told entirely through letters – follows the story of Bernadette Fox, a mother who goes missing right before her family’s vacation. Join in the wacky adventure as you piece together the clues to figure out where Bernadette went.

My Dearest Dietrich

Amanda Barratt’s historical fiction about famed German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis in 1945 for his vocal resistance, adds a twist to the real-life story.  Maria von Wedemeyer was a computer scientist who was engaged to Bonhoeffer. In this page-turning romance, Barratt expounds on their relationship; it will give you a whole new perspective on Bonhoeffer’s inspiring story.

Savannah Secrets a Guideposts Series

This mystery series, penned by ordained minister Marlene Chase follows two friends as they start their own detective agency in Savannah, Georgia. "Readers will feel like they're really there,” says Chase, “smelling the magnolias and seeing some of these great historical places." For a limited time, get two free gifts when you buy the first book in the series, The Hidden Gate.

The Wedding Date

After two strangers, Alexa and Drew, meet by chance on an elevator, they hatch a plan to attend Drew’s ex-girlfriend's wedding together so he doesn’t have to go alone. What starts out as a simple deal turns into something more than either of them expected. Maybe their meeting wasn’t chance after all.

 

Inspiration

It’s more important than ever to keep your spirits up and your hope alive. Check out these heartening stories that will keep you inspired.

The Wisdom of Sundays

On Oprah Winfrey’s Emmy award-winning show, Super Soul Sunday, she talks with different people about their spiritual journeys; this book is a collection of the most important lessons she learned in her conversations. “It’s not my journey, it’s yours,” Oprah says of the book. “That’s my goal, to get people to see that for themselves.”

Divine Interventions: Heartwarming Stories of Answered Prayers

This Guideposts exclusive book tells true stories of times when God answered the prayers of those in need in unexpected ways. Each story includes examples from Scripture that perfectly illustrate each inspiring message.

All the Light We Cannot See

This uplifting novel follows two children— Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German orphan—as they try to stay safe during WWII. The two children find hope and eventually each other through the power of radio transmissions. Doerr’s masterpiece won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015.

Just Mercy

This rousing book by Bryan Stevenson, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, tells the true story of how he fought to release an innocent man, Walter McMillian, from wrongful imprisonment. The story was later made into a movie, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

 

Biography

A well-lived life is worth knowing about: take the time during your staycation to learn something new about a famous figure.

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

Learn the story behind your favorite neighbor in Maxwell King’s heartwarming biography. Go behind the scenes of the television show and see how Mr. Rogers used his show to highlight issues close to his heart.

Corrie ten Boom: A Spirit-Lifting True Story from Guideposts

Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker, helped hundreds of Jews escape the Nazis during WWII. This free e-book by Guideposts tells her true story of courage and highlights the amazing miracles she experienced in her life.

Hidden Figures

This biography follows three African-American women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, who worked for NASA during the space race while also battling racism and sexism in the workplace. Shetterly’s award-winning book was also made into a movie, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe.

A Light So Lovely

Sarah Arthur learned that she had breast cancer just as she turned in her final manuscript of a biography about beloved American author Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time). Arthur found strength through L’Engle’s inspiring story—you will too.

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