One thing that I love about cruising is the opportunity to get caught up on my reading. Especially on sea days, I love to give myself a day of pampering and physical and mental self-care. I start my day with ten minutes of meditation followed by an early morning sunrise walk on deck. Then I treat myself to half an hour of Yoga or Pilates, followed by a fabulous breakfast from an overflowing buffet of edible delights.

Then with my body relaxed and calm, I find a comfy chair, wrap myself with a cuddly shawl wrapped around my shoulders. With a thermos of green tea by my side (so that I don’t have to move for the next few hours) I start reading my Kindle.

On a cruise, I usually bring along a few magazines that I love. Flow and Happinez are two of my favourites that are available online.  But for the reading deep-dive, my Kindle is loaded with one book in each of the following categories.

Mystery

Who doesn’t love a great mystery story!  My recommendation is Princess Charming by Jane Heller.

The story? Elaine Zimmerman has just finalised her divorce when she meets two new friends who have also just got divorced. As a celebration, they decide to take a Caribbean cruise aboard the Princess Charming.

On the cruise, Elaine falls for Sam Peck, an attractive and mysterious passenger who is a “cross between John F. Kennedy, Jr. and a Greek god.” The book falls into the ‘fantasy’ category here.  When she learns that there is someone on board trying to kill a divorced wife, she sets out to solve the mystery and possibly the lives of her – or her two friends.  

Romance

Cruising solo might also involve cruising single so why not fantasise a little? This one might be a little tame, but a recommendation is One Day in December by Josie Silver. This is a classic British romance that was recommended in Reece Witherspoon’s new Book Club.   It is a story about love at first sight. Short summary. Laurie falls in love with a stranger she sees in a bus and is surprised when her best friend Sarah introduces this same man to Laurie as her new boyfriend, Jack.

Laurie refuses to share her feelings for Jack with her friend and we follow the trio over 10 years of ups and downs, relationships and heartbreak. It was highly recommended by several people whose literary acumen I trust. Cruise reading for sure!

Fiction

My recommendation for a good fiction book is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This book could be described as a historical fiction, romance mystery. So, it offers something for everyone! It was recommended by a good friend who read 125 books last year so I feel great recommending it.

The story is set in the 1950s and revolves around a young woman named Kya Clark, who is from rural North Carolina. Known by others as the Marsh Girl, she lives alone in nature—but she is pulled to the city by love. This brings her into contact with the greater world. This novel can be read on many levels. There is a great nature story, a coming of age revelation and complex characters whose true personalities are revealed gently and over time. It’s one of those books that you intersperse with dreams and wandering reflections on your own life. All in all, perfect cruise reading!

Short Stories

There are lots of distractions on board, so you may want to line up a book of short stories or even poetry. I personally love reading poems by T.S. Eliot, Rilke and Emily Dickinson. But if you are looking for the master of short stories, I suggest Nobel Prize winner, Alice Munro. Some of her works are moody but we all know that feeling. There are several wonderful compilations I can suggest including Dear Life.

The Alexander McCall books from the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series are also a good choice. They are shortish and I have loved the one’s I’ve read.

Lifestyle

If you are travelling solo, you might also be thinking about your lifestyle in general. You might be planning to reinvent some aspects of your life and create a more harmonious home when the cruise comes to an end.  Northern European countries and Japan have put a strong focus on achieving life balance. They focus on finding ways to live in harmony with your environment.

One book I would recommend is based on the Danish concept of Hygge. This is all about creating a cosy home and lifestyle! Think white candles flickering and a glass of red wine. Imagine conversations with friends and family sitting together by a roaring fire. Here’s a video that I recorded about Hygge that you might enjoy!  The second book is about Ikigai. Ikigai originated on the Japanese island of Okinawa, its basic goal is to find balance in all the areas of life: love, family, spirituality, sense of community, knowledge and work. This book is a great introduction to an intriguing lifestyle.

Silly

I don’t know if you read silly books, but the one that I absolutely love is only for women who have young children or grandchildren. I guarantee if you read this one on a cruise, you will have a hard time not giggling out loud. After a drink or two, there might be all out guffawing! It’s called The Wonky Donkey! Honestly, I can say no more.

What kind of books do you like to take on a cruise?  Please share your favourite titles so that other women can enjoy them too! Let’s start a conversation! 

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