Monday, June 30, 2008

Five Books to Take on Vacation

by guest blogger Jan Isenhour

As my freshman year of college loomed closer, I received a summer reading list: four titles, including Joseph Heller's Catch 22 and John Henry Cardinal Newman's The Idea of a University.

My reaction still surprises me. Always a diligent student, eager to please, I let the summer slip away without a cracking a single one of the four spines, even the spine of Catch 22, which was, I realized too late, a perfect representation of the zeitgeist of the late 1960s. These books, I felt sure, were not what summer reading was meant to be.

What do we read during summer? Are our summer reading habits somehow different? Do we seek books for different reasons during the long, hot days?

With these questions in mind, the Carnegie Center offered a program, "Five Books to Take on Vacation." Two voracious readers who are members of the Carnegie Center's Brown Bag Book Discussion Group, Jill Heink and Sandra Tiegreen, facilitated. Here are their lists.

Jill Heink's Picks:
What could be more fun while you're on vacation than to read about other people's vacations?
#1 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
#2 A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
If you need to save space, choose a book with a twist! After you've read it, you may want to read it again because you're not really sure what happened at the end.
#3 The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
If you like a good summer mystery, try
#4 Glitz by Elmore Leonard
Vacation is a time for optimism, so consider closing out your summer reading with some solid advice on how to get happy.
#5 Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman

And from Sandra Tiegreen:
#1 Old Filth by Jane Gardam
#2 Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
#3 The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
#4 Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
#5 The Shifting Tide by Anne Perry

We also recommend that you check out NPR's many suggestions for summer reading by going to and clicking on summer books.

No comments: