If you’re about to spend a few days on the sand, what do you really need to pack? Not much more than a solid beach bag and a book to throw inside. Here are our top island-themed picks for the Caribbean-bound book hound.
Islands in the Stream
The curt language of Hemingway’s work is not an indication of how prolific he was. In this final novel, published nine years after his death, he reflects on fictional adventurer Thomas Hudson’s life and travels in Bimini and Havana—and reveals a rare bit of humor.
Water and Light: A Diver’s Journey to a Coral Reef
If you’re more of a lounge-chair-fruity-drink type, you can live vicariously through Stephen Harrigan’s first-hand account of diving off Grand Turk Island. The descriptive detail will make you feel like you’re exploring the coral reefs yourself.
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
How about a love story? British newlyweds the Harwoods arrive in Trinidad and spend 50 years embedding themselves into the local culture, with the help of Sabine’s green bicycle. Full of romantic ups and downs, Green Bicycle will keep you engrossed through several beach sessions.
The Rum Diary
Hunter S. Thompson
For a chance to really be swept up, take on Thompson’s classic ode to alcohol and utter madness, set in 1950s San Juan. Prepare to be shocked (and to head home wanting to rent the 2011 film adaptation starring Johnny Depp).
Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World
Pulitzer Prize winner Kidder tells the story of Paul Farmer, infectious-disease specialist and do-gooder, as he travels from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia. The Haitian proverb "Beyond mountains there are mountains" serves as backbone—and title—for the fascinating narrative of Farmer’s quest to inspire and serve universally.
Photo credits: Islands in the Stream courtesy of Simon and Schuster, Havana via Shutterstock; Water and Light: A Diver’s Journey to a Coral Reef courtesy of University of Texas Press, Grand Turk Island via Shutterstock; The White Woman on the Green Bicycle courtesy of Penguin Group, Trinidad via Shutterstock; The Rum Diary courtesy of Simon and Schuster, San Juan via Shutterstock; Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World courtesy of Random House, Haiti via Shutterstock