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Help wanted

It’s that time of year again.  As I’m now just a week away from my vacation, I’m starting to worry about the most important detail: what to read.  Packing can be done on Thursday night, travel guides can be read on the plane, but sensible book planning takes time and care.

Except my brain is fried, and I need your help, please.  I just can’t decide which books to bring.  Here are my requirements:

  • Available in paperback, acquirable in NYC online or otherwise within a week. (I know, I know, vacations are what e-books are made for! But I’m a trade paperback girl at heart, and reading e-books feels like work because that’s how I read manuscripts.)
  • Engaging, compelling, engrossing—fiction or nonfiction, any category, light and hilarious or dark and serious, as long as my mind doesn’t wander from the page.
  • Not a massive doorstop, since I’d like to fit a few books and not have to check bags. (A girl can dream.)
  • Bonus points for a book that takes place in Greece, my destination, that I can start on the plane to psych myself up for the trip!

So while I’m daydreaming about white-washed houses, blue-domed churches, and Byron-graffitied temples, won’t you please offer up some great reads for me to enjoy?

14 Responses to Help wanted

  1. Lynn Lindquist says:

    Yay for a chance to plug my favorite book ever- a little-known treasure written by Mark Twain called The Diaries of Adam and Eve. It’s amazing how timeless this short book is- it’s bust-out funny in some places and incredibly heartbreaking in others. The title pretty much describes this hysterical look at gender and relationships. (I’m not sure the Garden of Eden is near Greece, but you won’t be disappointed.)

  2. Joelle says:

    You may have read it already, but I just blew through WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE, and I think I saw it’s out in paperback. It would be perfect!

    If you like old Gothic romance/mysteries, Mary Stewart wrote at least a couple set in Greece. They’d only be available used, probably in that tiny paperback format with really small type and yellowed pages, though.

    Kristina Riggle writes great family stories that are not all dark and gloomy. All in paperback (her two most recent ones are her best).

    If you haven’t read The Spellman Files books, I suggest number one as a really fun place to start! I just blew through number six, but it’s only in hardback.

    Oh! Extra points for me! What about Gary Corby’s mysteries? Set in ancient Greece, funny, extremely well-written and researched and the first couple have to be out in paperback by now as #3 recently came out(#2 has a bit of a gruesome scene in it, but that doesn’t bother everyone. I’m a total wimp and still made it through). These are soooo good!

    Have a great time and let us know what you choose!

    • Lauren says:

      BERNADETTE’s on my short list even though I already own it in hardcover. I’m just dying to read it and now might be the perfect time. Glad to hear you loved it!

      I’m going to have to look into your other suggestions, because they all sound really promising. Thanks as always, Joelle! Extra points officially granted.

  3. Gill Avila says:

    “Good Omens” by Pratchett and Gaiman. A friend read it on a trans-atlantic flight and laughed so hard and loudly that people complained to the flight attendants.

  4. Kevin A. Lewis says:

    Ditto on the “Good Omens”; (it’s also a nice antidote to the periodic Jesus-is-mad-as-hell-and-is-coming-back-to-crush-you panics that our friendly local megachurch friends flood the market with) and I’d like to add “City Of Thieves” by David Benioff (I think I spelled that right) which is a black comedy set in the Siege of Leningrad in WWII. Legend has it that it was originally supposed to be a YA novel, but couldn’t be sold as such because the main characters were boys and YA editors couldn’t wrap their minds around such a radical departure from procedure. Did pretty decent sales in 2008 when it came out and should be easy to find at any well-stocked bookstore…

    • Lauren says:

      Oh, I hadn’t heard that about CITY OF THIEVES (or have since forgotten). Very interesting! I’ll definitely take a closer look at that one.

  5. Lynn says:

    All of Maeve Binchy’s novels are set in Ireland except for one. Nights Of Rain And Stars takes place in a small Greek village, it’s the perfect read on the plane as you head toward Greece. If you haven’t been there, you’ll love it and not just the spectacular views, but the food, the music, the people…you’ll have a great time. Bon Voyage!

  6. T. Mueller says:

    On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. It’s a compelling story, interesting plot/easy to read. A friend recommended it to me and it was one of the best stories I’d read in a long time (I read 1-2 books/week). Not a good idea to read it on the plane, wait till you reach your destination!

    • Lauren says:

      Of all the recs, this is the one I actually have already read, because very happily we rep the fabulous Tracey (and I handle her translation rights). I totally agree that ON THE ISLAND would be a great vacation read and love the tip to wait till arrival to start reading! And thanks so much for promoting Tracey’s work–we love to see that!

  7. I just read two very different books but both were really consuming: THE OUTCAST (a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter) by Jolina Petersheim…a really engrossing read with a fresh perspective (Mennonite community). And THE TAKER (Alma Katsu)… dark and intense but masterful handling of multi-layered historical stories.

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