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  • Sarah Skilton 9:00 am on 2017/09/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , fresh complaint: stories, , hiddensee: a tale of the once and future nutcracker, jeffrey eugenides, , manhattan beach, mark helprin, , paris in the present tense, rules of magic, , the stolen marriage, Tom Hanks, uncommon type: some stories, , winter solstice   

    October’s Best New Fiction 

    If you’re in the mood for spooky witches this fall, Alice Hoffman’s Rules of Magic—a prequel to Practical Magic—delivers chills, thrills, and sibling strife. October also brings mystical retellings of the Nutcracker and Cinderella; two historicals set in North Carolina; and Jennifer Egan’s first novel since A Visit From the Goon Squad won the PulitzerRounding out the list are two short story collections. The first is by Jeffrey (Middlesex) Eugenides, and the second introduces us to a little-known, up-and-comer by the name of Tom Hanks.

    Uncommon Type: Some Stories, by Tom Hanks
    Whichever role you most associate with Hanks—boy who wishes himself Big; perpetually annoyed women’s softball coach; partner to Hooch—cast it aside and prepare for a new one: short story author. With 17 tales to choose from, one of which concerns showbiz life, and all of which involve typewriters (the actor’s a fan), this collection of character-driven and nostalgic stories will charm Hank’s acting fans and avid readers alike. Whet your appetite with Hanks’ 2014 piece from the New Yorker.

    Fairytale, by Danielle Steel
    If fairytale updates and mash-ups are your jam, add this to your stack, ASAP: a modern retelling of Cinderella, set in a Napa Valley winery called Chateau Joy. Tragic Parental Deaths? Check. Evil, mesmerizing stepparent (in this case a Parisian countess)? Check. Handsome prince and fairy godmother? Absolutely. Add a Harvest Ball, plenty of Steel’s trademark romance, and a dash of magic and you’ll never want to leave Chateau Joy behind. Within the story’s Cinderella roots, Steel brings her own unexpected twists to a classic story. 

    Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker, by Gregory Maguire
    The author of the bestselling book and Broadway smash Wicked invites you to take a fresh look at the Nutcracker in this “double origin” story of the famous wooden toy and its creator, Drosselmeier. Who is Klara’s mysterious godfather, born a German peasant and seemingly fated to provide her with the sensational trinket? And what dark enchantment did he experience in his youth? Combining myths and historical legends, and written in the style of a Brothers Grimm tale, Hiddensee promises to delight and intrigue.

    Winter Solstice, by Elin Hilderbrand
    The fourth in her heart-and-hearth-warming “Winter” series, which are always set in Nantucket at Christmas, Solstice treats us to a reunion with the eggnog-guzzling Quinn family (patriarch Kelley, who owns the Winter Street Inn, and his four grown children). Each of them need help with romantic, business, or military entanglements. This year, heavy issues rise to the surface, from PTSD to hospice care and late-in-life regret. But with patience, love, and the bonds of family, the Quinns will pull each other through the tough times in this touching story.

    Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
    After winning the Pulitzer Prize for A Visit From the Good Squad (2010), Egan’s highly anticipated follow-up appears to be less experimental than her previous works, but just as moving. Set in New York City during the Depression and World War II, Manhattan Beach follows the struggles of Anna Kerrigan, first as an adolescent accompanying her father on a desperate job-seeking mission, and later at 19, after her father has disappeared and Anna is charged with supporting her sister and mother by working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard as its sole female diver. A chance encounter with her father’s mobster boss begins to shed light on the truth about Anna’s dad. You may want to have tissues on hand for this detail-rich, feminist historical, which has already been long-listed for the National Book Award.

    Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman
    In this illuminating, entertaining prequel to Hoffman’s bestselling Practical Magic (also a 1998 film starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock), readers will learn what it was like for witchy sisters Franny and Bridget (Jet) Owens to grow up in 1950s/1960s New York City with a frustratingly strict mother (understandable, given the family curse: any man who falls in love with an Owens woman will meet a gruesome end). In Rules, we meet a charming younger brother, Vincent, who also grows up ignoring Mom’s warnings, with far-reaching consequences. Will any of the rules-averse siblings figure out a way to outwit their fates? If you loved the adolescent longings and heartaches of Hoffman’s poignant, private school-set River King, you’ll especially appreciate this coming-of-age tale.

    Fresh Complaint: Stories, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    The first short story collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex, Fresh Complaint depicts several relationships prior to implosion, including that of a young Indian-American woman who plans to ditch her arranged marriage; a poet-turned-criminal; and a friendship affected by dementia. Fans of The Marriage Plot will enjoy spending time with lovelorn Mitchell Grammaticus as he travels to Thailand in the story “Air Mail,” and there’s also a check-in with Dr. Luce of Middlesex fame, who throws himself into the study of intersex conditions after losing a patient to suicide. Written between the years of 1980-2017, this collection showcases Eugenides’ incredible ability to empathize with and write about people from atypical backgrounds.

    The Last Ballad, by Wiley Cash
    Juggling a 70-hour, night-shift work week at a textile mill (for which she’s paid crushingly low wages), marital abandonment, and four children who need feeding, Ella May Wiggins finds herself in the middle of a union dispute in 1929 North Carolina. The idea of a living wage, equal pay for equal work, and a 5-day work week sounds like a fantasy to her and her friends. Rather than give a speech, Ella May composes a song during a rally, a way to give voice to herself and the other workers. She and her cohorts are branded communists, but their devotion to creating a world worth living in for their children is especially prescient today, and the fact that it’s based on a true story is inspiring.

    The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain
    Bestseller Chamberlain’s latest concerns an aspiring nurse trapped in a marriage-of-convenience in a small North Carolina town where she is disliked and mistrusted. It’s 1943, and Tess’s life just took a hard left: Impregnated by a man not her fiancée, she casts off her dream of a medical career alongside her true love and moves away with Henry, the baby’s father, who is uninterested in Tess’s potential. It soon becomes clear Henry is hiding things from Tess. With the polio epidemic in full swing, Tess gets a chance to use her nursing skills at last, but the home front remains as unsettling and mysterious as ever in this suspense-filled, World War II-era tale.

    Paris in the Present Tense, by Mark Helprin
    74-year-old Jules Lacour, a teacher at the Sorbonne reeling from his wife’s death and inaccurately believing himself a failure, thinks it’s about time he left behind the earthly plane as well. But his leukemia-ridden baby grandson needs him to find the money for treatment, and he hasn’t yet made peace with the tragic, seminal events in his life, including the deaths of his family members in the Holocaust. Perhaps there is yet time to play the cello, fall in love again, and save the day, if he’s willing to take a few risks. Paris looks to be invigorating and haunting read.

    What new fiction are you excited to read this month?

    The post October’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 12:45 pm on 2016/08/02 Permalink
    Tags: ayana mathis, , , , , , , ekhart tolle, , jeffrey eugenides, , , , oprah's picks,   

    10 Favorites from Oprah’s Book Club 

    Deciding which book is the “next big thing” is a tough job. Good thing we have Oprah to do the job for us! Her thought-provoking book club selections are some of my favorites of all time—and in honor of her latest pick, announced today, we’re taking a look back at some of her best previous selections.

    Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
    Cheryl Strayed’s world was in shambles: her marriage was crumbling, she was struggling with drugs and infidelity, and she still hadn’t moved on from her mother’s death four years earlier.  So she decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail—over one thousand miles of rough terrain—alone. This memoir-turned-movie (starring Reese Witherspoon) is gut-wrenchingly sad but ultimately uplifting, as Cheryl finds the physical and emotional strength to push forward, both on the trail and in her life.

    The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
    “Handful” Grimke is a slave in Charleston during the 1800s. When she’s ten years old, she’s given to Sarah, the daughter of her owner, as a gift. The two girls are thrust together during a tumultuous period in history, both suffering great losses—and sharing in one another’s joys—against the backdrop of the abolition and women’s rights movements. Based on the true story of abolitionist Sarah Grimke, this novel tracks the evolution of a young girl brought up in privilege, and how she eventually fought for the liberation of people everywhere, especially slaves and women.

    The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis
    Hattie’s story is one of devastation and grit. She escapes Georgia in 1923 in pursuit of the American dream in Philadelphia. Instead, she marries a man she will grow to hate—especially after the deaths of her firstborn children, which could have been prevented. As a result, Hattie hardens herself toward her following nine children, hoping to better prepare them for the troubles that surely await them in a world that was not kind to their mother. Each child’s perspective is see in chapters carrying them all the way through 1980, resulting in a beautiful portrait of a family let down by a world they long to thrive in.

    Ruby, by Cynthia Bond
    Ephram Jennings has always loved Ruby Bell, ever since she was a little kid in their small Texas town of Liberty. But Ruby ran away as soon as she could, escaping a violent household and seeking refuge in 1950s New York City. Years pass, and when Ruby is finally lured home again by family tragedy, she and Ephram are reunited. But Ruby’s mental state begins to unravel once she’s home, and Ephram is forced to make a choice: rescue her from her own pain, or remain loyal to his hometown.

    Nightby Elie Wiesel
    A memoir of the author’s experience surviving the Holocaust, Night is a simultaneously terrifying and uplifting story of what happens when the entire world is ripped out from beneath you, and the strength it takes to begin again after tragedy strikes. Elie was an almost 11-year-old in Romania when World War II began, and the encroaching Nazi threat began to destroy Jewish families’ way of life. Eventually, Elie and his family were taken to Auschwitz, where he lost his father, endured unspeakable atrocities, and questioned whether God existed. A book that forces the reader to confront the deepest evils of humanity, Night is haunting, beautiful, and essential reading.

    A New Earth, by Ekhart Tolle
    Moving on from fiction to self-help, this next Oprah book club pick is all about you unleashing your best self on the world. In Tolle’s view, the ego is humanity’s enemy, and if we release our conscious attachments to our egos, we will live more fulfilling lives—and also end most of the conflict and suffering in the world. If you’re looking for a new start, this is the book for you.

    The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
    A man and his young son wander a postapocalyptic American wasteland, searching for survival on the coast—what awaits them there, they don’t know, but it can’t be worse than what they’ve left behind. The two are alone after the suicide of the boy’s mother, unable to live in the nuclear winter. Written in beautiful, minimalistic prose, The Road is mysterious, brutal, and ultimately hopeful, a treatise on the true love between a father and his son when the entire world around them has broken down.

    The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
    Against the backdrop of the Congo’s rebellion against Belgian Rule, Nathan Price brings his wife and four daughters to help him in his evangelist cause. The story is narrated by Orleanna, his wife, and later, their four daughters, as they recount their father’s involvement in the western colonization of Africa through a unique and sometimes prejudiced lens. But their time in Africa changes them irrevocably, and their journeys take them on different paths towards redemption.

    Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    The book opens with Cal sharing a defining fact of his life: he has not always been Cal, and sometimes goes by Calliope. Cal was born intersex, possessing both female and male genitalia. The journey Cal takes towards self-acceptance and understanding begins even before birth: it kicks off with the history of Cal’s entire family, beginning in 1922 with their grandparents’ journey to America, and the reveal of another secret: Cal’s grandparents were siblings, and married one another for protection in their strange new world. Family and personal history mingle with some of the most important moments in American history in this emotional story of a person reconciling their past and present.

    Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
    And finally, drumroll, please—Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, is the newest Oprah’s Book Club pick! Continuing the pattern of her previous picks, this novel deals with the intersection of race and gender against the cruelty and desperation of the Antebellum South. Cora, a slave, learns about the underground railroad from Caesar, a new arrival on the plantation where she labors. Together they decide to escape, encountering not just terror, pain, and the dogged pursuit of a slave hunter, but slipstream twists to the historical narrative, including the transformation of the metaphorical railroad into a literal one.

     
  • Jenny Kawecki 4:30 pm on 2015/06/12 Permalink
    Tags: jeffrey eugenides, , lang leav, , , noelle stevenson, put it on the list, , , ,   

    7 Books That Should Be on Your Required Summer Reading List 

    Required summer reading: occasionally awesome, but more often than not, a stack of unexciting books that sits around gathering dust until the very last possible moment. Can’t we all agree it’s time to add some new ink to the list? If I had my way, you’d all have to read these this summer (and hand me a 500-word book report on the first day of school. I’m nice, not a pushover)

    American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
    Shadow is expecting to be released from prison and return home to his beautiful wife. Instead, he learns his wife has died in an accident, and he enters the employ of a strange man named Mr. Wednesday. Soon, he’s entrenched in a battle between the old and new deities of the world, dealing with some of the most powerful tricksters of all time. Not only is American Gods an excellent read, it’s also an educational foray into various ancient religions of the world—a book that’s sure to make you just as interested in the myths behind them as you will be in now reading every Neil Gaiman book ever.

    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
    Cal’s family has a secret: a little trick of DNA that’s enough to turn Calliope, a nice Greek girl, into Cal, an American living in Germany who’s telling us his story. Over the course of three generations, he reveals how traits got passed down along his family tree, making him the man he is today—and not the girl his family originally thought he was. With loads of history and medical information to spare, Middlesex explores the world of personal transformation and self-discovery in a way that’s both fascinating and relevant.

    Love and Misadventure, by Lang Leav
    Because no summer reading list would be complete without a bit of poetry, right? Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure is the perfect choice for a wide audience. The writing is simple and unassuming, an easy segue into poetry for the non-poetic, and the topic is universal: love. It’s an easy-to-follow narrative, tackling the ups and downs of infatuation and heartbreak and everything in between. Bonus: there are even a few illustrations.

    Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson
    Reverend John Ames knows he’s not going to see his son grow up, so he’s writing him letters. As he explores his own life and the lives of his father and grandfather before him, Ames records his musings on life and love and faith, often choosing to focus on how beautiful and strange the world is. Gilead fills the dark and brooding spot on your required reading list—something to remind us you can be perfectly confused and lost and still feel an extreme amount of joy and wonder.

    Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson
    Meet Nimona, the shape-shifting sidekick of Lord Ballister Blackheart, villain extraordinaire. Together, they aim to reveal the dubious nature of the kingdom’s most well-loved heroes, especially Blackheart’s friend-turned-nemesis, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Why read it? Because in between all the hilarity and color, there are some important thoughts on the nature of good and evil and what it really means to have morals. (Yes, villains can have rules, too.) Plus, okay, it’s just fun to read.

    On Beauty, by Zadie Smith
    Meet the Belseys, an interracial family living in a very white, collegiate town. With their marriage on the rocks and their children set on chasing after very different (somewhat problematic) lives, Howard and Kiki hardly know which issue to pursue first, especially now that Howard’s arch-rival has moved to town. Caught between two very different cultures, each of the Belseys has to decide which standard of beauty they’re going to live for—because what else is there? It’s an important look at how our perceptions of what’s ideal affect how we treat ourselves, and what’s it’s like to feel out of place in a homogenous world.

    Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion
    Rounding off your new required reading with a little bit of nonfiction, Joan Didion’s essay collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem explores the world of 1960s California, contrasting lifestyles that are at opposite ends of the political, financial, and social spectrum—and yet still, somehow, eerily similar. Understanding without judging, Didion shows you can disagree and still respect the common thread of humanity that runs through us all. It’s not only a fascinating look at recent history, but also a glimpse at the joy of well-honed writing, with nothing extra to get in the way of the facts.

    What books do you think everyone should read this summer?

     
  • Whitney Collins 6:15 pm on 2014/11/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , douglas coupland, generation gap, generation x, , jeffrey eugenides, john hughes, madonna, MTV, , the 1980s,   

    The Generation X Bookshelf: Sweet 16 Must-Haves 

    Jeff Gordinier's X Saves the WorldGeneration Xers may be perceived in certain circles as tech-savvy slackers who know more about Centipedes than bookworms, but don’t get fooled again: this whip-smart group of now-fortysomethings—who are wedged between the hippies and the hipsters—knows a thing or two about books. Remember: most of their teenage weekends were spent in a library, doing time in detention and brushing up on their literary know-how. Here are 16 totally awesome books that every Gen Xer, like, for sure, needs.

    The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, by Mötley Crüe
    The crassest of chronicles about the planet’s wildest band of bad boys, The Dirt tells you everything you never knew you wanted to know about Mötley Crüe. Provocative tales abound of hot women, hard drugs, automatic weapons, rampant arrests, soaring fame, lifelong grudges, and all-around epic-ness. Full of never-before-published photos and jaw-dropping truths, The Dirt will be the bedtime story Gen Xers reach for again and again.

    American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
    A compelling, disturbing, and oft-banned novel, American Psycho describes the lavish and horrific life of  highly educated pretty boy Patrick Bateman, who commandeers Wall Street by day and murders innocents by night. Both a chilling social commentary that’s rife with satire as well as an important literary milestone, American Psycho reveals the darkest sides of both humanity and society in the face of material excess.

    Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir, by Cyndi Lauper and Jancee Dunn
    An essential addition to any Gen X bookshelf, Cyndi Lauper’s memoir tells the story of a life lived fearlessly and in true color. From her Queens kid and IHOP waitress, to Grammy winner and AIDS activist, Cyndi’s story is anything but ordinary, proving once and for all  “she’s so unusual.”

    Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now—Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything, by David Sirota
    David Sirota’s historical page-turner dissects the pop culture of the Atari Age and shows how a soaring economy, The Karate Kid, and “Just Do It” (among other phenomena) brought America to where it is today—socially, economically, and politically. A wild ride through the Decade of Greed, Back to Our Future forces us to face the Pac-Man ghosts of our past.

    The Virgin Suicides: A Novel, by Jeffrey Eugenides
    Eugenides’ riveting first novel takes place in 1970s Michigan and deftly captures the hidden morbidity of adolescent suburban life through the story of five sisters’ suicides. Lyrical, cynical, and magical, The Virgin Suicides seems written expressly for the Generation that was never afraid to face the darker side of life.

    Speed Solving the Cube: Easy-to-Follow, Step-by-Step Instructions for Many Popular 3-D Puzzles, by Dan Harris
    In 2003, the Rubik’s Cube World Championships were reinstated, prompting many Gen Xers to reemerge from the cubing closet and join a new wave of avenging nerds. Full of techniques from basic to advanced, Speed Solving the Cube is the ultimate 3-D puzzler’s manual. Never again will you stoop to removing those stickers!

    Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, by Douglas Coupland
    This groundbreaking novel, which popularized the Generation X label and gave twentysomethings a voice, tells the story of three disenchanted souls who’ve left meaningless jobs to fantasize about a postapocalyptic society on an asteroid where it is forever 1974. Spot on with Gen X’s trademark irony, apathy, and want for meaning, Coupland brilliantly defines a generation within, and gives voice to those frustrated refugees of the Boomer wasteland.

    Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, by Eric Schlosser
    A detailed history of nuclear weaponry in the United States, Command and Control reads more like an action-thriller than a nonfiction account. Full of near-miss anecdotes and nightmarish events, this highly readable book on nukes will entertain and terrify those who grew up under the big chill of the Cold War.

    Richard Corman: Madonna NYC 83, by Richard Corman
    A picture book like no other, this collection of Madonna shots by portrait photographer Richard Corman is a testament to not only the incomparable Madge, but also the early years of eighties pop and fashion, as influenced by punk and new wave, as well as a now-lost New York City. A collector’s delight, this visual extravaganza of rare photographs pays homage to the birth of both a decade and a diva.

    VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV’s First Wave, by Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, and Gavin Edwards
    Nothing defined the 80s better than MTV. And nothing defined MTV like its original VJs: Alan Hunter, Martha Quinn, Mark Goodman, Nina Blackwood, and the late J.J. Jackson. This books serves as an oral history of MTV’s best and earliest years, complete with legendary party stories, secret romances, and how Music Television was nothing short of a second moon landing.

    Coreyography: A Memoir, by Corey Feldman
    Heartfelt, harrowing, and wholly honest, Feldman’s autobiography expounds on his Hollywood childhood, sparing no details on drug use and sexual abuse or on life after the spotlight. Praised for its straightforward and engrossing style, this memoir is a must-read for all who came of age in the Goonies-and-Gremlins era.

    X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft but Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking, by Jeff Gordinier
    A passionate defense of his generation, this manifesto praises the realism of so-called slackers and argues that Xer’s disillusionment will ultimately save America from its delusion.

    Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind, by Gavin Edwards
    A piercing look at the unconventional childhood and tragic death of River Phoenix, Last Night at the Viper Room investigates both the excess of the 1980s and the edge of the 1990s, revealing how these two disparate decades shaped not just a generation but an emblematic young man who was poised to shine as its new leading man.

    Moonwalk, by Michael Jackson
    Moonwalk is the bestselling autobiography of the King of Pop, in which Michael Jackson dishes (tentatively, as you might expect) about his regimented childhood, physical abuse at the hands of his father, plastic surgery, and romantic life. Not completely upfront, but completely M.J., Moonwalk gives voice to a legend lost.

    When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories, by Molly Ringwald
    This debut story collection from Brat Pack queen Molly Ringwald is an achingly beautiful anthology that shines with true literary talent. Stories about love, loss, infertility, adultery, and familial fallout are presented here with poetic candor.

    Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney
    An excess-soaked read that tackles all-things eighties—New York, cocaine, hedonism, yuppies, even a mannequin obsession—Bright Lights, Big City stands out as one of the decade’s finest novels (and movies). A cautionary tale that reeks of whiskey, romance, and well-timed humor, McInerney’s classic reminds Gen Xers of the very bad good old days.

    Bonus read: this February, you can look forward to the release of John Hughes: A Life in Film: The Genius Behind The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Home Alone. No Gen Xer’s list would be complete without a nod to the man who defined teen cool (and epic geekdom) for moviegoers everywhere.

     
  • Chrissie Gruebel 5:00 pm on 2014/07/23 Permalink
    Tags: anita diamond, , brokeback mountain, certain girls, , , , , , , , , , jeffrey eugenides, , , , , , middlesex, rick yanked, , susan cain, , the fifth wave, , , , white fang   

    A Definitive List of Books for All Vacation Occasions 

    The City and The City

    It’s already July 23, and we need to have a talk: Have you taken a summer vacation yet? Seriously…have you? For real, Americans are notorious for this gross oversight. Yes, sure—we don’t get enough vacation days in general, but if you’re not taking the ones you DO have, then we don’t have a leg to stand on collectively as a society. I mean, we all want to be like Europe, right, where they get approximately 200 days off per year (just an estimate)? So in order to accomplish this task, we all need to work together to stop working (for at least a week, that is).

    To help, here’s a list of vacations AND the books you should bring to each. So go forth! Pack a suitcase full of books and travel-sized shampoos! Live a life of temporary leisure, you won’t regret it! Europe: we’re coming for you:

    Camping, Mountains, Wilderness
    You + nature + books + maybe animals(?) = never a bad idea, and always a great idea. Whether you’re in the mood to check out from civilization, or simply find yourself wrapped up in nature’s loving arms, we’ve got a few titles on our list to remind you not to get too big for those Eddie Bauer britches—plus a few that’ll warm your heart and make you laugh. Still…leave room for a map. And a compass. And a tent. Let’s not be too cavalier where bears are concerned, okay?

    Cruise
    As long as no one gets Legionnaire’s Disease, cruises are basically floating barges of people in surf shorts Wang Chung-ing it 24/7. Morning buffets, alcohol, several pools, afternoon buffets, karaoke, volleyball, evening buffets, pineapples, off-off-Broadway-quality entertainment, midnight buffets. What more could a human want, really? (Enough lifeboats for everyone, if we’ve learned anything from Titanic—but besides that, LITERALLY nothing, because there’s a really high chance you’ll be allowed to wear a captain’s hat.) Bookwise? Anything goes.

    Historical/Cultural Trip
    Whew! If these walls, columns, churches, city squares, statues, monuments, battlefields, paintings, quilts, broken bells, buildings, gargoyles, fountains, parks, murals, sculptures, ruins, theaters, old wooden ships, lighthouses, walled cities, medieval castles, and artifacts could talk, right? The world’s got stories to tell! Which is crazy. These books will get you in the mood to explore, uncover some ancient mysteries, and maybe make a few stories of your own.

    City
    Every city has a vibe all its own. Cities are like little pockets of magic where everyone dresses really cool and you’ve got all the culture and history you could possibly want right at your fingertips (and all the culture and history you never knew you wanted). Plus, in the summertime most cities smell like hot garbage, which is special.

    Beach Town
    Some of these novels are set at the beach, some merely mention the beach (maybe?), and others are flashy pieces of glitter that have basically nothing to do with the beach. Surprise! It doesn’t matter. A good beach read only requires an engrossing plot that hooks you immediately, because what do we want? To devour a story while sitting under an umbrella and drinking the rosé we’re hiding in our travel coffee mug. And when do we want it? Now.

    Solo Travels
    We’ve already covered the fact that eating out solo is basically the best thing that can happen to a book lover, but going on a trip solo? With no one else’s clipboard of fun to follow? You’ll be reading in bed, at dinner, on a bench, under the moonlight, in a box, with a fox, here, there, everywhere. Bring eight books with you. Bring ten. You’re on a solo vacation—you’re not there to make friends.

    Spa
    This is a time for self-reflection, meditation, and getting the knots rubbed out of your shoulders by a trained professional. Wrap up your hair. Eat fresh fruit. Drink green tea. Breathe. Dance like no one’s watching. You get the drift. This collection of books will help you get into the right mindset to find yourself if you’re lost; and if you’re not lost, then it’ll be the right thing to read while you’re getting your feet massaged or your dead skin cells scraped off.

    Adventure (outback, safari, joining the circus, etc.)
    So you wanna live in a treehouse for a few days? DO IT. You have the heart of a lion! This portion of the list runs the gamut from taking down a government conspiracy to swimming with alligators, so you can take your pick of which adventure you’d like to accompany you on your adventure. We’ll be over here, reading quietly in a non-dangerous place.

    Road Trip
    As long as you’re not the driver and you don’t get carsick, you can put away a million books while you’re on the open road. Just be sure to look out the window every once in a while to take in the glorious scenery, and to maybe keep your eyes peeled for a Sonic. Plus, you can pretend to be a moody teenager who has big plans (BIG ONES), if only you could get away from your stupid family.

    Staycation
    Home alone? You’ll wanna laugh. Or cry. Mostly laugh. But maybe cry a little while you look at yourself in the mirror? That’s something some of us might do when we’re alone. No big deal or anything. In any case, you’ll be free to feel all the feelings you wanna feel because you’ll be all wrapped in your enduring solitude. Enjoy your vacation from other people!

    What are you packing to read during your next vacation?

     
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