The Anti-Beach Reads List: 6 Books to Dig Into This Long Memorial Day Weekend


By Meredith Turits

Glamour • May 25, 2012

I’ll admit I love zoning out to a(n admittedly mindless) beach read as much as the next girl. But more often than not, I find digging in and engaging with an immersive true story even more rewarding. If you’re looking forward to spending the long weekend flipping your brain switch into the “on” position, consider these 6 books (or ebooks!) to do the trick.

For the girl who dreams of making a big change…

by Stacey Edgar (St. Martins, 2012)

Global Girlfriends is the real story of Stacey Edgar, who took her $2,000 tax return and created a socially-conscious business from scratch. She’s helped women on five continents feed and educate their families, and proves that you don’t need to have a business plan–or even a passport–to make a huge difference.

For the politically-minded woman…

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power 
by Rachel Maddow (Crown, 2012)
I couldn’t take my nose out of Rachel Maddow’s debut book when it first came out a couple of months ago. She makes a fascinating, non-partisan argument for why the country has become oddly complacent with a constant state of war. Maddow takes a look through the history of the country, particularly at our wars and combat history–if you’re fascinated by national security, and captivated by fact and wit, this one’s a must-read.

For those fascinated by food culture in America…

by Tracie McMillan (Scribner, 2012)
The genius, genius Tracie McMillan went from growing up eating a lot of processed foods to cultivating an interest in fancier, local cuisine, to even writing for high-end culinary publications including Saveur mag. Her personal journey led her to write this must read, which investigates our food system and what’s exactly keeping Americans from eating well, and what we can do to fix it. (Did I mention genius?)
For the activist who dreams of influencing the world…
by Gloria Feldt (Seal Press, 2012)
Gloria Feldt already holds a dear place in the Glamour family–she’s a 2003 Woman of the Year for her unique take on leadership, motivation, and courage. Her book, originally released in 2010, is out in paperback for 2012, which means it’s perfect for your suitcase for vacay. Lie on the beach, or flip veggie burgers while reading about how to seize socially responsible leadership. Sounds like the perfect weekend to me.
For the woman who knows women can do anything…
by Saima Wahab (Crown, 2012)
You have to read this book blurb to believe it. The book tells the story of Saima Wahab, who’s already been through more in her life in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the U.S. than most people ever life, period. She’s one of the only Pashtun female translators in the world, and has returned to Afghanistan to work as a cultural adviser with the U.S. Army. If you’re interested in the current role that women are playing in the Middle East through a rare perspective, pick this up ASAP.
For those who think two heads are better than one…
by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane (Center Street, 2012)
My mom is way-important in my life, so I love the idea behind this book. Bonnie St. John and her teenage daughter, Darcy Deane, collaborate to take a peek at what’s propelled some seriously heavy-hitting women like Hillary Clinton, Geena Davis, Condoleezza Rice, Denise Dresser, Wendy Kopp, Sheryl Sandberg, and more to the top. It’s Motivation 101 in a BIG way.
Which of these books sounds most readable to you? Are you taking a non-stereotypical beach read with you this long weekend? Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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