Summer Vacation Reads

July 27th, 2013 | Posted by Alison Spath in Good Reads

We spent the first couple weeks of July away from home.  I’d like to say we were on vacation, but I think “family trip” is more accurate.  There is just not a ton of relaxing going on when there is a toddler under foot.

Still, in preparation for our time away, I snagged a couple new publications from the library before we left – two books to read for the sake of reading.  I’m very often reading books about health, fitness, nutrition or food, sometimes a girl just needs to read a STORY for crying out loud!  Even if I couldn’t go “on vacation” in every sense of the word, at the very least I could let my brain take a trip.  (Not an acid trip, just so we’re clear.)

So that’s what this post is about:  a couple of book recommendations if you’re looking for something to take on your next trip to the beach or into the woods or your own bathroom (no judgement) whether you need a break from non-fiction, small children or anything else you might sometimes describe as “intense”.

First, And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.  I really don’t want to tell you anything about this book – how’s that for a book review?  Well, this isn’t a review, it’s a recommendation!  I loved this and knew nothing about the story before I picked it up, so I’ll leave you in the dark too.  And for anyone who does want to know more before you commit with your library or credit card, Amazon has the book description for your contemplating pleasure, so I’m off the hook!

And the Mountains Echoed

I decided on this one because #1 I read The Kite Runner a few years ago and it still stands as one of my all time favorite books to this day.  This gave me a lot of faith that I would enjoy And the Mountain Echoed too.

#2, it’s been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for months now, and I’m a follower like that.

I will tell you that this book reminded me of Pulp Fiction in the way that it jumps back and forth in time and between characters, but it was all good.  I sort of felt like I was given a new piece to a puzzle at the start of each chapter and it took some chin rubbing and eyebrow smashing to figure out how it fit into the story.  I found it very satisfying to piece it all together.  Hosseini is a fantastic writer and an incredible storyteller, it was very enjoyable read.  I’ve now got A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) on my night stand because I’m sure that one’s going to be good too.

I also read and loved Let Us Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris while we were away.

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls

This too is on the New York Times Best Seller list (and ummm, non-fiction – but full of stories, not studies!) I love, love, love David Sedaris.  He’s smart, funny and witty – my kind of guy!  Except I’m married.  And he’s gay.

If you are familiar with and enjoy David Sedaris’s work, this is more of the same – except different, and plenty funny.  Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls will leave you laughing out loud in your beach chair/hammock/toilet.  I often read when I’m nursing Kaz to sleep (no judgement!) and I often found myself needing to set the book down so I could cover my mouth to stifle laughter to keep from waking the aforementioned toddler.

This book is full of short, entertaining stories from David’s life, plus some short fictional stories too.  More than once while reading his essays I was left wondering how on earth he remembers such amazing detail about the events from his past, and he actually explains this in one of the last chapters of the book – in the form of a story, of course.

So that’s it!  Any other Hosseini or Sedaris fans out there?  Were either of these on your “To Read” list or have you already read them?  What have you read and enjoyed this summer, fiction or non-fiction?

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3 Responses

  • sarah says:

    a) I did NOT like The Kite Runner. I know: I am a bad person. I did enjoy individual SCENES. His writing’s very evocative and lush – I had a great movie in my head as I read it. But the overall plot development left me cold. Too many impossible coincidences and improbabilities that just left me rolling my eyes. And that wound up outweighing all the tasty pomegranate action.

    b) David Sedaris can do no wrong.

    c) do you use GoodReads? handy to track what you’re reading. And get ideas for what to read next. And there’s that whole social media thing you can take advantage of, to see what your friends are reading, etc. I don’t use that part. No doubt because I fear I’ll get stoned for not liking the kite runner.

    • I forgive you. I actually listened to The Kite Runner, so it’s possible that my love for this book is linked to the endorphin release I got while I listened and ran at the same time. There were a lot of coincidences in the story, I’ll give you that. My jaw was dropping, you were rolling your eyes!

      I don’t use GoodReads, that’s helpful to know it can give you ideas of what to read next. I may just have to check it out! After I finish collecting my stones to throw at you of course…

  • I adore David Sedaris. I listened to the audiobook of ‘Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls’ when I started running again this spring, and I got a lot of weird looks as I ran past people laughing. It was worth it. Thanks for the recommendation of ‘And the Mountains Echoed.’ I loved Hosseini, too, and I can’t wait to read his newest book!