So Spring Break is coming. Hellooooo, beach! For those of you out there who won’t be spending all day getting boozed (you can’t imagine anything more horrendous than the mixture of heavy alcohol, sun, and waves), you are going to need some beach entertainment. And soberly watching drunk people bury each other in the sand gets boring after day one.
So, here is a handy list of books to bring with you to your tropical destination this year. They’re not your typical cheesy chick lit for the most part, but they’re pretty addictive in their own rights.
1. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
I cannot say enough good things about this book. Kostova is like Dan Brown in the sense that she crafts engrossing and fascinating historically based thrillers. Except she’s not as crappy a writer and into vampires. As potentially lame as that sounds, it’s not: it’s a sort of modern retelling of the story of Dracula. It all starts when a grad student finds an old book with a dragon in the middle, and goes to show his mentor who has a similar book. He tells him of the research he did and what he discovered about Vlad Ţepeş (whom Dracula is based off of), and advises him to avoid looking into it. The next day the mentor goes missing, and the grad student embarks on a journey throughout Europe to find his professor. Sort of makes you want to travel throughout Eastern Europe instead of sitting on a beach, but whatever.
2. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Before you bite my head off, hear me out. I was once a fervent objector to the Twilight series. I thought they sounded moronic and childish. After being told for the umpteenth time to read it, however, I did. I was planning on skimming through and picking out the dumbest parts for laughs later. But something else happened – I liked it. Yes, Stephanie Meyer is a terrible author (seriously, how many times can you use the word “chagrin” in one chapter?). Yes, there is serious lack of juicy detail which makes reading about Bella and Edward’s hookups infuriating. And yes, Bella is a whiny bitch. But you have to give Stephanie Meyer credit – that lady knows how to keep people reading. There is something inexorably addictive about the series, despite its faults. I know you’re rolling your eyes, but I really suggest you try it.
3. The Virgin’s Lover by Phillippa Gregory
If you couldn’t tell by my first recommendation, I sort of have a thing for historical based stuff. Especially when it involves a kickass female protagonist, a time period with lots of pretty dresses and romance. If you’ve already seen or read The Other Boleyn Girl, you know what I mean. Normally this stuff is pretty boring when reading it in some dry history book, but Gregory makes it interesting by adding more drama and, er, passion. This book is about Queen Elizabeth, and her secret affair with Sir Robert Dudley. Dudley is sort of a player and feeds off other people (for money, power, booty, what have you), but because he’s just so sexy Elizabeth can’t resist him, and this leads to a lot of problems. It’s way better than it sounds, and once you get into it you can’t put it down.
4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Jean-Dominique Bauby was the French editor of Elle, had a hot girlfriend, lots of money, an awesome car and two cute kiddies. One day he suffered a massive stroke that left him completely paralyzed. The only thing he was able to do was blink his left eye (the condition being called “locked-in syndrome”). While in the hospital, he was able to write a memoir with his speech therapist by using a frequency ordered alphabet, and blinked every time the letter he wanted was reached. Despite this, Bauby is still able to imagine the world in vivid detail, and he ended up writing a hauntingly beautiful book. It is surprisingly light, funny and rather short. And although it is sad (he died four days after its publication in France), it is not overwhelmingly so: it’s more of a testament to the undying soul and a celebration of life.
5. Anything by David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Barrel Fever, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, and Naked).
Nothing further. Although I’d suggest sitting away from other humans while reading his books, since you will most likely be snorting out loud and have everyone staring at you. Or maybe that’s just me.
There you have it. I (almost) guarantee you will be completely into these books – I know I was. Tell me what you think of them!