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Vacation reading?

patientpatient 1403 replies55 threads Member
edited April 2006 in Parent Cafe
Any suggestions for the book to bring along on spring break?

To share, I have recently read The Lost Painting (about the search for a lost Caravaggio painting), The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion), Prep. I am trying to read Misquoting Jesus (but son grabbed it) and a friend raves about "Manhunt" (the search for Lincoln's killer in the days after the assassination). I really enjoyed the Lost Painting and Prep was worth reading. My daughter recommends Memoirs of a Geisha--would that be a good choice?
edited April 2006
66 replies
Post edited by patient on
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Replies to: Vacation reading?

  • sjmom2329sjmom2329 2896 replies34 threads Member
    How about "The Lighthouse" by P.D. James? I always enjoy her books, and they are light enough for vacation reading. I also have "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker, which I have not yet read, but plan to bring on our next vacation.
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  • SuNaSuNa 888 replies34 threads Member
    I read an absolutely excellent book recently called "Girls of Tender Age," by Mary Anne Tirone Smith. It's a memoir with a crime twist.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 threads Senior Member
    John Grisham's "The Broker" would be a good vacation book.
    Also enjoyed E.L. Doctorow's "The March"... Civil War fiction
    Have you read "The Da Vinci Code"? The movie with Tom Hanks comes out soon. "Angels and Demons" by the same author (Dan Brown) is really good.
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  • maineparentmaineparent 895 replies3 threads Member
    "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl was a fun read. Check out the summary on Amazon.....and reader reviews to see if it would appeal to you. I liked it a lot. Enjoyed the Dante stuff, the mystery aspect, the history of the characters he incorporates.

    "Mornings on Horseback" which is by David McCullough, about the first 22 yrs of Teddy Roosevelt's life....his family.....their 1 yr trip down the Nile......a really satisfying read....

    "Miss Garnet's Angel" by Salley Vickers.....gift from a friend, available used via Amazon..... middle aged gal suffers a big loss, death of housemate, moves to Venice for a 6 month break and discovers herself, art, life etc. Echos of The Girl in Hyacinth Blue or The Pearl Earring, it explores the premise of the 7 Archangels and are they watching over us? Soothing read.

    "Galileo's Daughter" by Dava Sobel, is still one of my favorites.... recreation of his life as seen thru letters from his daughter that have been saved...... one of the ways he communicated his ideas was to put on plays with famous deceased individuals as characters espousing his ideas. Brilliant way to avoid persecution directly......

    "Longitude" also by Dave Sobel, which is the story of the quest for reliable sea navigation and the contest for an invention to assist......which led to the chronograph. Another great read....not too taxing....but vivid.

    Have you read any of the Elizabeth George Inspector Lynley series? If not, start with the first one, take a 2nd in case you love her characters.....I am a total fan.......first in the series is called "A Great Deliverance".

    "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Ffourde is a very unique first in a series book. Here is a summary of the plot: "Great Britain in 1985 is close to being a police state. The Crimean War has dragged on for more than 130 years and Wales is self-governing. The only recognizable thing about this England is her citizens' enduring love of literature. And the Third Most Wanted criminal, Acheron Hades, is stealing characters from England's cherished literary heritage and holding them for ransom.
    Bibliophiles will be enchanted, but not surprised, to learn that stealing a character from a book only changes that one book, but Hades has escalated his thievery. He has begun attacking the original manuscripts, thus changing all copies in print and enraging the reading public. That's why Special Operations Network has a Literary Division, and it is why one of its operatives, Thursday Next, is on the case."
    There are several follow on books if you like the first one.... definitely a fun and different read.

    "The Professor and the Madman" was also a worthwhile read......

    "Mary, Queen of Scots"

    "The Agony and the Ectasy"

    Of course, any of the Rumpole books are fun....lots of smaller, short stories, which are satisfying individually....ie 2 hrs on the beach, an hour in the airport waiting to board the plane......

    Enjoy....let us know what you read and what you liked when you return.
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  • cangelcangel 4054 replies73 threads Senior Member
    On a different note, I just finished "1491" - it is a book that you can read both fast and slow - slow through some interesting parts and then skim the repititious parts, opened a whole new world to me.

    I'm reading "Honeymoon with my Brother" now - it is fun, although occasionally choppy. One of the most interesting parts to me is that this guy who follows such an off-beat path, is coming from such an "Establishment" job - Republican lobbyist - who says Republicans don't sometimes cut loose and do crazy things?

    Another vote for "Thursday Next" - not for everyone, and the first and second books are best, but fun reading.
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  • m&sdadm&sdad 1188 replies13 threads Member
    If you are a pet lover and are looking for something light, I really enjoyed "Marley and Me."

    I would take that anytime over the Dan Brown books, which seem to be the same plot plot device and pacing with the details changed.

    I also enjoyed "1776" by David McCullough.
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  • sjmom2329sjmom2329 2896 replies34 threads Member
    m&sdad, I think that you and I are among the few who share that opinion of Brown's books!
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  • giddey_upgiddey_up 228 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Excellent reading suggestions in this thread!

    I know we all need a vacation from being parents of college students or college applicants, but I am reading "The Chosen" which is a history of college admissions at Harvard, Yale and Princeton. It is a real eye-opener as it shows how most modern admission criteria were created to mask institutionalized racism.

    On a lighter note, I couldn't put down "I am Charlotte Simmons" by Tom Wolf - it is a wild ride, but also a college theme.
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  • PackMomPackMom 7650 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Even though I did really enjoy "Angels and Demons" I'll have to say I didn't think Brown's latest, "Digital Fortress",was nearly as good. Wouldn't recommend that one.
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  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12281 replies217 threads Senior Member
    I love these discussions.

    I'm currently reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. It's a very interesting story about a diverse group of diplomats and wealthy businessmen who are taken hostage along with a famous opera singer, while at a birthday party at the house of the vice-president of a South American country. Beautifully written, interesting character development, all with an underlying sense of dread.

    Other favorites:

    The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. A heartbreaking story, wonderfully and honestly written by one of the country's great writers.

    The Jade Peony by Wayson Choy. I recently read this for the second time, which is unusual for me because I adore reading and always have at least two books on the go, and a pile of 20 to 30 more waiting! This one is on my 'favorites of all time' shelf of my bookcase (I actually have one whole bookcase of favorites ;)). It's a story of three young Chinese-Canadian children growing up in Vancouver in the '30's-'40's. The story is told from each's viewpoint. Issues covering family dynamics and secrets, love, racism, war, and Chinese culture. Loved this book.

    A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson. This one was a surprise. I bought it on a whim and it's not the type of book I usually enjoy, a self-discovery memoir, but I found it fascinating. In fact, I praised it so much that one of my Ds gave me two other books by the same author for my birthday earlier this month.

    One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth Berg. She writes about female relationships better than anyone I've ever studied or read. Her books are the kind that you cannot put down once you start them, and they are chock full of the type of characters whom you would love to sit down with, pour a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and chat for hours.

    One book which I've recommended to everyone I know, and that has been unanimously enjoyed, is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Wonderful, poignant story, great characters, the kind of book which you want to quote passages from as you're reading.
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  • sjmom2329sjmom2329 2896 replies34 threads Member
    I've heard wonderful things about "The Secret Life of Bees." Another book I love was "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant.
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  • garlandgarland 16511 replies206 threads Senior Member
    Halfway through Da Vinci Code, it totally fell apart for me--don't know what got worse, the writing, the character "development", or the "ideas". So count me in on that club.''

    Just reread "Thank you for Smoking." I hear the movie is very different. The book is really funny, and much more complex than you think it will be.

    "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Morrell" is like Harry Potter meets Dickens. Really great read.

    Ayelet Waldman got a lot of bad press for saying some disparaging thigns about mother hood, but I just read "Daughter's Keeper" and "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" and they're really engrossing novels which center on the theme of what's most important in life, very well done, I thought.
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  • NYMomof2NYMomof2 5724 replies304 threads Senior Member
    Count me in as someone who hated "The DaVinci Code". I haven't read anything else by him.

    I, also, love Elizabeth George's mystery novels, the earlier ones more than the more recent.

    I've just finished "A Hope in the Unseen", by Ron Suskind. The author "shadowed" a young black boy/man during his final years at a crime-ridden inner-city HS and his first year at Brown. The book is very well-written and the story is fascinating. I read it in a day, neglecting other duties, because I couldn't put it down. Then I went on the web to find out what had become of the young man since the end of the book.

    Patient, I loved "Memoirs of a Geisha". Did you like "The Year of Magical Thinking"? I was intending to read it, but my sister told me that it was awful.

    I compiled a reading list for my 13-year-old S from another thread here, and I'm compiling one for myself from this one.
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  • NYMomof2NYMomof2 5724 replies304 threads Senior Member
    Sjmom, I loved "the Red Tent", too! I read it years ago, and had forgotten it.

    I see a recommendation for Joan Didion's book. I guess I'll have to read it.
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  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12281 replies217 threads Senior Member
    NYMomof2, I'm not sure that anyone would "like" Magical Thinking. It's such a heartbreaking story, especially knowing what happened after she finished writing it. I love Joan Didion's writing anyway so perhaps that influenced my feelings about the book but I'm glad I read it.

    sjmom, Red Tent is in my *to read* pile. ;)
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  • CC AdminCC Admin Administrator 29512 replies3008 threads Senior Member
    No one in my book group could put down 'The Glass Castle' but if you have seen the author on Oprah you might feel otherwise (we saw the show on tape after we had read the book)....'The Red Tent" was our favorite several years ago and if you haven't read the short stories byJhumpa Lahiri they are fabulous, and great for reading in spurts on a vacation.
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  • NYMomof2NYMomof2 5724 replies304 threads Senior Member
    Alwaysamom, my sister read it a few months after our father died last fall. I'm sure this biased her opinion. I like Joan Didion's other books, too, so I'll probably read it (but not for a while).
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  • m&sdadm&sdad 1188 replies13 threads Member
    I really enjoyed "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger, as did my wife and 16 year old D.

    To the "Secret Like of Bees" fans, did you read "The Mermaid's Chair" by the same author? How do they compare/contrast?

    In the books vs. movies camp, I though the novel "The English Patient" by Michael Ondaatje was great: very poetic and dreamlike. The movie did nothing for me, because so much of the book takes place in the minds of the characters.

    I'm also a fan of Anne Tyler's work.
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  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12281 replies217 threads Senior Member
    m&sdad, I read The Mermaid Chair, and although I somewhat enjoyed it, I didn't love it like I did The Secret Life of Bees. I think the main reason I enjoyed "Mermaid" was probably because I love the way that Sue Monk Kidd writes. The story was interesting, and I loved the examination of relationships among the main characters, but I think that "Bees" is definitely a better book.

    Agree with you about Anne Tyler. Ladder of Years is one of my favorites. :)

    In the books vs. movies discussion, my favorite book to movie success is Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Loved the book AND the movie! How often does that happen.
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  • maineparentmaineparent 895 replies3 threads Member
    I too loved "The Red Tent".....and "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Morrell" was wonderful (a tad long) with a scene early on set in a cathedral where all the statues begin to talk as though alive, of the time when they were created, so it is a caucaphony (sp) of sound. I still get shivers when I think of what it would be like to have the carvings in Westminster Abbey or Kings Chapel or Windsor Chapel come "alive".....this image was worth the book alone. I gave about 8 copies of the new Lincoln book from Doris Kearns Goodwin "Team of Rivals" out to friends/family at XMAS.....even got the CD's for my hubby... haven't yet read it myself, must be savoring the anticipation?? Abe is my favorite man of all time......

    I worry sometimes that I am drawn to these posts and I regurgitate my same old list of favorite books.....but I think the reward is to then see others who post they love a certain book too.....I don't really need to "discuss" books with others in great depth...but I do enjoy knowing others like what I like..... and while we don't know one another here in "RL" I do recognize some voices and get a tiny sense of satisfaction knowing we think alike and seeing what others recommend.
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