In a very happy turn of events, I’m headed off for a long weekend on the beach… without my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy about my kids and I love travelling with them, but it’s nice to have an occasional break. Packing for just one person is quite thrilling, as is the extra space in my carry-on that would normally be occupied by diapers, wipes, Leapsters, sticker books, snacks, sippy cups, action figures, etc.
So of course my first question was what books to bring. Not book, but books. Because in addition to having the space to pack them, I will actually have a chance to read them. So exciting. I’m quite particular about my beach reading. It has to be paperback and not too heavy, either in weight or subject matter. It has to be a page-turner but it still has to be a quality read. State of Wonder comes to mind, but I’ve already read it.
On my last beach vacation, I went to an independent bookstore and asked for assistance. I listed some titles I had recently enjoyed, spelled out my beach read criteria and asked for some recommendations. The woman offered a few suggestions before we finally landed on Skippy Dies which she described as a dark comedy about a boys’ boarding school in Ireland which she had read in a single day on her last vacation. Perfect. Well, 660 pages and two months later, I finally wrapped it up. It’s a very good book but it missed the mark for me as a beach read. There’s a suicide (given the book’s title, this is hardly a spoiler) and there’s a lot of grappling with big questions about mortality and the universe and string theory.
This time around I’m going with Great House by Nicole Krauss because it’s my next book club book (and because I’ve already read The Hunger Games) with a few back-ups packed in my suitcase. Wish me luck. Any other suggestions are most welcome.
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