Reading Retreat 2019

Reading Retreat 2019

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I caught up with a few friends recently for a reading vacation. We dubbed it Reading Retreat 2019, and we had a blast! I promised I’d tell you guys about it, so here I am!

Reading Retreat 2019

My friends and I have been saying forever that a reading vacation sounded like fun. You too?!? Finally we said, “Enough talking. Let’s make it happen!” (We’re getting better at saying that, and I’m glad.)

Donna is from New Hampshire, so she didn’t need much of an excuse to escape the cold. Sheila lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and she offered to host the event. Donna flew into Savannah, where I live, on Thursday evening; I picked her up and we had dinner in Savannah at East End Provisions. We were also able to duck into E. Shaver Booksellers for a few minutes before they closed. Bonus: We got to see all three of their bookstore cats!

Skimbleshanks is the youngest of E. Shaver’s three shop cats.

Friday morning we ate brunch at Collins Quarter and made a quick visit to Books on Bay’s stunning corner of Wright Square Vintage & Retro Mall. (Books on Bay has three locations, and this one’s my favorite!)

See the book theme we had going on?!?

Coffee at Collin’s Quarter
Donna (on the right) and me at Books on Bay.

Then we hit the road and headed to Sheila’s house in Jacksonville. We did some catching up, grabbed our books, and headed outside to soak up the sunshine while we read. Later Sheila and her husband took us out in their boat to see Jacksonville’s gorgeous skyline from the water! SO much fun! We boated to dinner–Wicked Barley has a dock!–where we met up with Lisa and her husband. A perfect ending to a perfect day!


Saturday we did LOTS of reading and some visiting too. Lisa and Natalie (yet another bookish friend) came over for a delicious dinner, and we talked for hours! I headed home Sunday morning, but Sheila and Donna walked two of Jacksonville’s bridges and hit the books again Sunday afternoon. Donna headed home Monday, and now we’re all missing each other and wanting to do it all again next week!

Here are the books we read. Some of them just needed finishing up. Some were new reads.

Sheila’s goal this year is to focus on reading books she already owns, a la #unreadshelfproject, and she had started several books in January. Over the weekend she finished:

  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  • The Finishing School: A Practical Guide to Everyday Life by Valerie Woerner
  • Cozy Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith
  • A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg

Donna read from these books:

  • Beauty Marks: Healing Your Wounded Heart by Linda Barrick
  • Jesus Every Day: Prayers to Awaken Your Soul by Mary DeMuth
  • Becoming Mom Strong by Heidi St. John
  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  • Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure

My list is less impressive! I focused on the first one because it’s my book club’s book for this month but alternated it with the second book when my brain (oh, the irony) got flustered and weary.

  • In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli.
  • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston.

This whole weekend was amazing! I’m thankful for good times with good friends!

Here’s what my friends and I want to tell you about our reading vacation: YOU SHOULD GATHER SOME FRIENDS AND HAVE A READING VACATION TOO! Seriously! Keep it simple and make it happen! We absolutely enjoyed our time together and are hoping to do it again!

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