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What should I read on my vacation?

Finally, our vacation is in sight.  It’s  been a long  time since we’ve been away and it’s been a long winter of recovery from emergency surgery (for my husband, Steve) and lots of hard work for us both.  But our trip to Australia to spend my son  Zach’s twenty-first birthday with him is almost here.  As these will be the longest  flights we’ve ever taken, I am wondering what great suggestions our blog followers will have for me to read.

Yesterday, one of my clients asked me if I still enjoyed reading for pleasure because I review so many flawed manuscripts.  I answered that, indeed, I am able to put my “agent’s hat” aside when reading for my own enjoyment (other than, of course, to wish that the book I am loving had been one I had represented).  The problem is that I have so little time to choose what I read and so many books to choose from.

So, I am very eager to have your suggestions.  Not only would I like to know the titles and authors of the books you single out, but also why you think they are great reads.

I very much look forward to hearing from you.

9 Responses to What should I read on my vacation?

  1. Tamara says:

    I’d suggest Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment ~ both wonderfully disturbing. In both cases, you start out thinking, this protagonist is reasonable. He or she is in a difficult situation and seems very level-headed, if not snarky, about it. Then you get pulled down the rabbit hole and you wonder, how the heck did I get here!

  2. Leonardo says:

    Oh, as you are going to Australia, and though you probably already have it, the wonderful masterpiece by Bruce Chatwin The Songlines.

    http://www.amazon.com/Songlines-Bruce-Chatwin/dp/0140094296

    Did you know that the aborigines (who like to be called origines) have mapped the entire Australian continent with song? For your trip, this is perhaps light enough and deep enough to gain some incredible insights and appreciate more what Australia is all about.

  3. Chantilla the Nun says:

    As you are going to Australia, let me suggest to read “The Light Between Oceans” (2012) by the Australian author (she now lives in London) M.L. Stedman. The storyline is in Southwest Australia.

  4. Susanna says:

    A few months ago on a book review thread for-by travelers, SHANTARAM kept coming up, and then I realized I’d received it as a gift and not read it. It is very long and it is flawed, but it is also hypnotic in some way and a pretty fascinating view of an Australian criminals escapee’s life in India.

  5. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    Since I deduce by the DGLM list and blog posts in general that you probably read way more “serious” fiction than is good for you, I suggest an Americana classic by Stephen King-SALEMS LOT. It’s notable for the way it takes a silly, worn-out (even in the early 70’s)idea like vampires and renders them all too real and in the present tense, to quote an old Jethro Tull song. King always freezes his stories in a real-time context, which gives them the same weird feel you get from an old photo of a particular historic scene, and the Garrison Keillor-on-acid depiction of a small New England town in 1974 is worth the read even before things start spinning out of control. And before you protest that you’re much too grown-up for this kind of nonsense, bear in mind that that’s what everyone in town says while clinging desparately to their familiar frame of reference. C’mon, don’t be a chicken-I double dare ya…

  6. Lynn says:

    Jane, if you want to read a wonderful book that you can’t put down, then I suggest reading The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani. It’s a book that transports you to another time and place and when you come to the end you only wish there were 300 or 400 more pages to read. Believe me, a novel about a young girl in seventeenth-century Iran and her desire to create carpets was not exactly my cup of tea. Nor was it the light reading I was looking for when I bought the book, but I was hooked from the first page! You can read my review of the book here, http://itsallmaya.com/the-blood-of-flowers-a-great-read/. Bon voyage and good reading!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Child of God, Cormac McCarthy

    The October Country, Ray Bradbury

    Geek Love, Katherine Dunn

    Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Peter Hoeg

    It would be nice if you weren’t here, Charles Grodin

    Homeboy, Seth Morgan (tough to find)

    Cheers.

    mfstout

  8. Jane C says:

    I’ve been on a few long haul flights (I’m a dual citizen: US and New Zealand) and so have a few suggestions.
    I would recommend A Fraction of the Whole, by Steve Toltz (Australian, and will be hilarious in a pressurized setting), As the Earth Turns Silver, by Alison Wong (A NZ poet writing prose – beautiful), anything by Maurice Gee (NZ author), or the 100 Year old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson (Much too long, but would probably be weirdly enjoyable coupled with dinner at 1.00am.)
    I also always throw in a Dickens that I haven’t read or haven’t read for an extremely long time, because the chapters seem to suit the pace of the exhilerating long haul flight activities.
    Just a note, New Zealand has the most bookstores and golf courses per capita of any country in the world. (The statistics are almost reliable.) Well worth a visit.

    Congratulations and have a lovely time downunder!

  9. Kevin Grange says:

    I’ve heard good things about Shantaram too. Or you might read Khaled Hosseini’s new book, And the Mountains Echoed. Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone is also on my list. If you’re interested in adventure, Kevin Fedarko’s new book, The Emerald Mile, details the fastest ride in history through the heart of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.

    Have a great time and enjoy Australia!

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