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Time to read finally, but what will it be?

So I have to be the very last person in the universe who is going on a summer vacation, and I am not actually leaving until the evening of September 6th.  This isn’t going to be a beach vacation, nor is it planned to be the least bit restful, but there will be at least three very long flights and some potentially long airport layovers—I sincerely hope they aren’t too long.

I have been so busy all summer reading proposals, signing up new projects and getting material ready for the fall, that I haven’t had a second to consider what I might read for pleasure on this trip.  So, I thought for my last blog entry of the summer, I would ask our readers what they would recommend.

First some parameters:  I spend a great deal of my work time reading nonfiction and so, though there is some which has been published in the last year that I would love to read, I don’t want to do that on this vacation. I am looking for fiction that will capture my attention and be totally absorbing; I am looking for good stories, memorable characters, and wonderful writing.  Is that too much to ask?

So, if you have time in the next several days to send me your suggestions and why you are choosing these titles for me to read, I would be very, very grateful.

I look forward to hearing.  Thank you in advance!

14 Responses to Time to read finally, but what will it be?

  1. Becky Taylor says:

    I read The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma earlier this summer and absolutely loved it. I describe it to friends as a delicious literary, sci fi, historical, mystery. Genre bending at its finest. And if you don’t believe just little old me, check out the wonderful reviews.

    http://www.felixjpalma.es/

  2. D. A. Hosek says:

    A few recent reads that I’ve enjoyed:
    – Remainder by Tom McCarthy
    – Stories for Nighttime and some for the Day by Ben Loory
    – Kafka on the Shore by Hiruki Murakami

  3. D. A. Hosek says:

    Oh, I didn’t explain the whys behind those.

    Remainder – A marvellously inventive story with a great voice. Magical realism applied to quotidian detail.
    Stories for Nighttime – Loory is staking a claim for the title of heir to Richard Brautigan here. This is a collection of short stories of wonderful bizarreness.
    Kafka on the Shore – Hmm, I notice that the theme between these three books is off-kilter worlds with a touch of magical realism. This is perhaps the most fanciful of the three, featuring among other things a man who can talk to cats, a transvestite librarian, Japanese spirits manifested as commercial mascots, rains of fish and leeches, and more.

    And one more book, which isn’t fiction, but memoir, Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, which has some of Patchett’s best writing in it. I didn’t find my ignorance of Lucy Grealy to be a hindrance in enjoying this book.

    -dh

  4. Tierney says:

    Jennifer Close, Girls In White Dresses.

  5. Tamara says:

    Two short story collections I’ve loved recently are Shann Ray’s American Masculine and Caitlin Horrocks’s This Is Not Your City. Enjoy your reading time!

  6. May I recommend Kristy Kiernan’s MATTERS OF FAITH? The title is unfortunately, very bad and does not reflect the theme of the book. This is not a religious book.

    What it is is a story of a marriage that cracks under the pressure of the kids’ issues. The college-age son comes home besotted with a fundamentalist girl who wants to apply her faith healing beliefs to the 12 year old daughter, who has life-threatening food allergies. Family catastrophe results as loyalties are divided and painful self-revelations ensue.

    The prose is wonderfully crisp and the nuanced family dynamics, especially between husband and wife, including the hidden competition for “top-hero” status with the offspring, will resonate with anyone who has ever been in or near a family. Takes place in Florida, which becomes a fascinating setting as one character flees to the backwoods and others take a lot of the action to the sea.

  7. Indu Sundaresan’s last book of the Taj Trilogy Series – The Shadow Princess. Have a good holiday!

  8. On the YA end, Plain Kate by Erin Bow was beautiful.

  9. Creep by Jennifer Hillier

  10. Terri Gibson says:

    Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt- crazy, dark, uplifting, and really, really funny.

  11. DBurks says:

    I like to read something completely different as a change, and I have found that used bookstores have thousands of books by authors that had great success while they were alive, but when they are dead they get ignored. I suppose people always want something new, but there are lots of treasures in Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores and they never have any sort of order so it is much like beach combing: Any thing might turn up, and for $3 or less I am willing to take a chance.
    One writer who turns up often is Thomas B. Costain who was for many years the editor of ‘The Saturday Evening Post’. He was a NY publishing insider of the first order, but he was plainly fascinated by historical fiction in many periods and locations. I have found his stories always interesting and meticulously researched. Of course, he had to be super accurate or his publishing friends were sure to notice. He did have one advantage since he could presumably use The Post’s staff to help with the research.
    One of his books, ‘The Silver Chalice’, was made into a movie. The book was much better.
    So, pick an old master for something completely different. I especially liked “The Tontine”, but they are all good.

  12. Kem says:

    The Paris Wife is a great quick summer read. I just finished it on vacation and found it engaging because most of the book takes places in my favorite city and it’s set in the 20s and 30s–which is a time period I like to read about. You probably already know that the main character and narrator is Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley. I like the overall arc of the story and the characters you meet along the way.

  13. Hope I’m not too late to chime in. I am just now finishing up Sally Gunning’s three related pre-Revolutionary War tales, and they are exactly the kind of absorbing vacation fare you might be seeking. Just enough non-fiction (wonderfully researched history!) to satisfy your possible need for fact, but so much story and character and interest that whatever activities you have planned might have to wait an extra hour as you lounge in bed, unable to remove yourself from her wonderful characters and their lives. I read these three books in reverse order (oops), but you have the chance to start with The Widow’s War (I’ll finish this today, and lament I’m done), follow with Bound, and finish up on the plane home with The Rebellion of Jane Clarke. These are terrific, and I envy you them still in the future!

  14. I realize I didn’t make this clear: these are definitely fiction, and I also forgot to mention the wonderful beauty of her prose and the excellent job she does with dialogue. I really think these might be perfect for your trip.

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