Americans are forgetting about the importance of vacations. According to a recent survey, employees use only 51 percent of their eligible paid vacation time. In addition, more than 60 percent of Americans report that they work while they are on vacation.
In the 2014 Harris Interactive survey of 2,300 workers, one-in-four respondents reported being contacted about a work-related matter by a colleague while taking time off, and one-in-five reported being contacted by their boss while on vacation.
Another study by GfK Roper Public Affairs and the U.S. Travel Association found that one-third of more than 1,000 respondents said they cannot afford to take their vacation time. About 40 percent said they fear returning to a huge amount of undone work and 35 percent reported that no one else can do their work while they are away.
The benefits of taking some time away from work are numerous, however. For example, according to research by the National Academy of Sciences, an annual vacation may reduce the risk of heart attack by as much as 30 percent in men and up to 50 percent in women.
Whether you find it relaxing to hit the ski slopes or the beaches, winter is a great time to get away from the stress and strain of your job. And to further put you in a vacation mindset, we have put together a list of books for you to read while you are away. There is nothing like a good book to get your thoughts away from the office and from your to-do list.
Seven fiction & non-fiction books for your winter vacation reading list
You’ll see that we have included a mix of fiction and non-fiction and old and new books in the hope that you will find something to tuck into your carry-on bag or to download on your tablet before you head out on your journey.
Fiction & Non-Fiction Books: On the Road by Jack Kerouac
In this book, first published in 1957, Kerouac (as Sal Paradise) relates the experiences he shares with Neal Cassady (as Dean Moriarty) as the two friends roam North America on a “quest for self-knowledge and experience.” Kerouac’s creative use of language and the sense of freedom he evokes make this a classic tale of adventure.
Fiction & non-fiction books: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
With a series of 13 short stories all including Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher from Crosby, Maine, Strout gives us a look into life, love, friendship and, ultimately, hope, that will keep you thinking long after you have finished the last story. This outstanding novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.
Fiction & non-fiction books: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Released just this past fall, this memoir gives us this talented actress and comedienne’s personal reflections and advice on love, friendship and parenthood. It is a brash, funny ride that is perfect for the plane or for a lazy afternoon on the beach.
Fiction & non-fiction books: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
This book will provide you with an unforgettable journey as you get to know Joe Kavalier, a young artist, and his cousin, Sammy Clay, and follow their escapades in New York City during the golden age of the comic book. Chabon’s unique way with words offers an escapism that is perfect for a vacation.
Fiction & non-fiction books: The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
In this ground-breaking 2005 book, New York Times columnist Friedman addresses the “flattening” of the globe and the resulting effects globalization is having on nations, companies, communities and each of us as individuals. Reading this book will get you thinking about your business and, hey, some of us get our best ideas when we are away from the office.
Fiction & non-fiction books: The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe
Through his protagonist Sherman McCoy, a “Master of the Universe” with a Park Avenue apartment, a prestigious Wall Street position and beautiful women, Wolfe gives us a searing look at life in New York City in the 1980s. Warning: Once you get into this book, you will not be able to put it down.
Fiction & non-fiction books: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
This memorable book gives us a look at the history, the practical dos and don’ts and the characters the author meets as he prepares for and hikes the Appalachian Trail. Surprisingly funny and entertaining, A Walk in the Woods will leave you at alternate times dreaming of hiking the trail yourself and swearing you will never do so.