Next week, I’m whisking away with P while Dad tends the farm. . . and this man I love has promised to bring me a suitcase just for my books. I hope to read 10 while we’re gone including Rockaway by Tara Ison and 11/22/63 by Stephen King. (I’ll keep you posted on my I read through my Goodreads page if you’re interested.)
With vacation on my mind, today I bring you my ten favorite books that I’ve read on vacation. They are not all the traditional favorites, but they have all had such a deep impact on me that I can see just where I was when I read them. (For example, I listened to Straight Man on New York’s Taconic Parkway on my way to and from the Omega Institute, where I took a writing workshop with Laraine Herring.)
1.Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – This book is both absolutely absorbing and absolutely disturbing. Riggs’ concept for the book came from seeing very strange images of children, which he includes in the book. He used those images to conjure a story, and it’s definitely a fun and surreal one.
2. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen – I love stories that involve small towns and a hint of magic. And Allen’s work is just that. Think Gabriel Garcia Marquez but less complex. This book and Allen’s others are fun and light.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I resisted reading this book for a while, fearful of how a white woman might write African American characters. But when I did turn to it, I loved it for it’s powerful story and it’s honest perspective. This book will compel you, and it will make you cry.
4. Straight Man by Richard Russo – As a person well-familiar with English departments, this book absolutely cracked me up while also cracking my heart. The story is of an English professor who finds himself disillusioned. It’s an American story told by the masterful Russo.
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – I love this book because of setting mostly – an English graveyard – but I also love the mystery in its pages. Gaiman can pull together place and story and magic with ease, and this book does so with a lightness and flair that makes it perfect for vacation.
6. The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl – I’m a sucker for any book that brings literary history into contemporary pages. Pearl’s book embroils Poe into a murder mystery that is high-minded and gripping. I read this one in Kings Canyon National Park by a campfire. I can still taste the smoke when I think of it.
7. Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages by Vanitha Sankaran – I love research, and Sankaran’s work about bookmaking and setting in medieval France is impeccable. I went to grad school with Vanitha, and she’s always been talented – this book shows that well. Great for those of you who love historical fiction.
8. The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue – I clearly have a bent for supernatural stories, and this is another. Donohue tells the story of a changeling, but rather than disappear into the mythical backstory, he grounds the work in contemporary family. Quite nice writing and storytelling.
9. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving – I LOVE listening to John Irving books on car trips. There’s something about the length of his sentences and the linear nature of his stories that just fits long stretches of pavement. This book explores the logging industry and the legacy of family. It’s a great example of Irving’s ability to write characters with depth.
10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – This book is funny and poignant . . . and if you’re like me, you may want to read it because people keep trying to ban it. It spoke to me of what it was to be a young teenager with all the angst and questions and beauty of those years. Beautiful read.
So that’s my list.
What vacation books would you recommend?