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dina_didi's avatar

I want to find a really good book to read on my vacation. Any ideas?

Asked by dina_didi (1276points) June 20th, 2014

I am ready to go on my summer vacation in four weeks and I want a really good book to keep me occupied on the beach or at nights. I am searching for a book that will make me feel optimistic and broaden my horizons or something that will intrigue my mind, such as a mystery. But I want to avoid sad or crime stories… Have you read or heard something interesting from a friend?

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34 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Have you ever tried anything by this guy. I have to warn you though, he’s insane.

gailcalled's avatar

Fiction or non-fiction? Lighthearted, frivilous, scholarly, long and heavy? Hot off the press or well-aged? A real classic like “War and Peace” or something by Jane Austin? What are some examples of books you have enjoyed reading during the past year?

Mimishu1995's avatar

And do you enjoy written books only, or can you read graphic novels too?

dina_didi's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe this looks really interesting! I am going to read one of his books and see how it goes!

Seek's avatar

For light reading, I enjoy the historical fiction by Sarah Dunant. I first read The Birth of Venus, then In the Company of the Courtesan and then Sacred Hearts. I don’t know whether she has more books, but I’m planning on looking into it.

They’re all sort of “day in the life” (really, several years in the life) of a woman living in 15th-16th century Italy.

Venus is the story of a young girl who falls for an artist, then gets married off to an old gay man.
Courtesan is about a high-class prostitute whose city gets sacked and she has to start over from nothing in a new city.
Hearts is about a girl who is “married off” to an abbey because it was less expensive than finding her a husband.

I love the historical accuracy and plausibility of each story. It’s done so well that even the really fanciful tidbits are forgiven. ^_^

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@dina_didi Be prepared, they are off the wall, but so funny.

dina_didi's avatar

@gailcalled anything as long as it brings me possitive feelings and does not make me sad. @Mimishu1995 I prefer books but I am not rejecting a graphic novel if it is good.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I just recently completed two books by Donna Tartt. Both were really good books, kinda long but worth it. Both a little over 500 pages. One is “The Goldfinch” and the other is “The Secret History”. Start with The Secret History but I loved both of them.

dina_didi's avatar

@Seek your recommendations are really good! But are their plots happy? I want to have fun reading my summer book and not be worried about how it ends…

Seek's avatar

I will say there are no tragic endings.

Pachy's avatar

Rather than one novel, how about a collection of short stories like one of these

Mimishu1995's avatar

@dina_didi I suggest Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. It’s a love story set in past England. Very sweet, has some mystery, and most importantly very light-hearted and has a happy ending. You will have positive feeling when reading it.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I recommend it as well as A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. Have fun.

dina_didi's avatar

@Pachy nice idea but I am looking for a book I will bond with and remember it as the book I read a summer and had a nice time reading it. @Mimishu1995 this looks like most things I want in a book combined! @MollyMcGuire thanks, I’ll give it a look.

ragingloli's avatar

Goethe’s “Faust”.
In the original German of course.

gailcalled's avatar

“Ethan Frome,” by the American author Edith Wharton, takes place in a small town in Massachusetts (in the USA) and is a tragedy with a very grim ending.

“The Kite Runner is also decidedly not lighthearted…violence, transgression, redemption.

That said, they are both well-written and worth reading.

I just put down “The Goldfinch” after 300 pages.

Have you read any of Jane Austin’s six novels?

If not, they are wonderful even though the language is not contemporary…but late 18th and early 19th century. Pride and Predujice plus “Emma,” “Persuasion,” and “Sense and Sensibility.” I still remember the summer when I read all six of them for the first time. I was 40 and shocked that I had never read them before.

A list from the BBC of the nation’s most beloved novels.

Most of them deal with both the good and the bad and the happy and the unhappy, being reflections of life.

If you have not yet read To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee or Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger they are well worth exploring and are at the top of the list of American classics.

Bring several books with you so you can switch around according to your mood.

ibstubro's avatar

I really enjoyed Spooner and have started reading through Pete Dexter’s novels. Clever and there are so many things you don’t see coming.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@gailcalled But the book I bought had the happy ending…

Mimishu1995's avatar

@dina_didi Oh sorry! I got confused a bit. The book I was actually referring to was Lorna Doone by R.D.Blackmore.

Thanks @gailcalled. I made a horrible mistake :p

gailcalled's avatar

Then it was not “Ethan Frome”: Summary

dina_didi's avatar

@Mimishu1995 No problem! Thank you anyway! Your recommendations are really good and as @gailcalled told I am going to pick several books thanks to your ideas!

jca's avatar

I think there are so many books out there, it’s almost impossible to recommend something without knowing more about a person.

My recommendation for a book that is very informative and interesting, but is non-fiction, is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The reader will learn much about food, the food industry, factory farming, slaughter houses, organic food, food retailing, fast food, food marketing. So helpful to know this stuff in this day and age.

dappled_leaves's avatar

<- – - – - – - Not a fan of Sarah Dunant. I’ve read several, and always end up flinging them across the room.

If you’re looking for a thought-provoking mystery, I’d recommend a classic, Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. I also enjoy Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries, for the atmosphere.

Stinley's avatar

The Time Traveller’s Wife is one of my favourite books. Also I loved the Goldfinch as recommended above, although I’m not sure that it’s a happy story. Matt Haig is a funny writer – we read The Humans in my bookclub and I also loved The Last Family in England. For light reading I enjoy the Lee Child series about Jack Reacher. There’s a bit of violence in them but they are quite enthralling.

Why not check out ? Lots of recommendations there. Amazon reviews are quite helpful and Amazon makes suggestions for similar books, so you can look up a book you liked then see what is similar.

dina_didi's avatar

I remember last summer I wanted to read The name of the rose but I had no time to do it. @dappled_leaves thanks for reminding me. I am going to read it this year! @Stinley I visited goodreads and I think that it is a great sourse to find many books but it requires to create an account…

janbb's avatar

I don’t usually recommend anything unless I know the person’s taste in reading but I can fairly safely recommend The Language of Flowers about a foster child who discovers a talent for creating flower bouquets that convey messages. It is also a love story and while not lighthearted all the way through, it has a happy ending.

I would not recommend The Goldfinch as either happy or good; I gave up around page 500.

If you want to read Austen, Pride and Prejudice is probably the one to start with.

ibstubro's avatar

I would pick up a Janet Evanovich novel. They’re hilarious and will cleanse your ‘mental’ palette between books if you run unto something ‘heavy’. My favorite books all contain a strong element of ‘darkness’ because I find that to be realistic.

I’m currently re-reading The Queen of the South and it’s an amazing book, but full of melancholy. I probably have a couple-hundred hardbacks in my “to be read” pile(s), but “The Queen” just pulled me back in.

I Know This Much Is True makes me read it at least a couple of times a year, and is the only book that I have closed the back cover, paused and opened the front again.

Kardamom's avatar

I just finished The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. Anything by Fannie Flagg is funny, has a bit of a mystery to it, and they’re just plain wonderful. This particular story has two separate, but intertwined stories going on at the same time. One in the present, and one in the past. One of the characters in the book was in the WASPS in WWII, the first group of women military pilots. This book gives a lot of insight into that program, a program that was practically hidden from common knowledge until recently. This book is also a story of a woman coming to grips with her own identity, something that is revealed to her when she gets a call from the post office saying that she has to sign for a registered letter. Sometimes things that seem perfectly clear and obvious are not what they seem at all.

And right before that book, I read The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s the story of a young British woman who was brought up rather abruptly by her single mother. The mother has just passed away after revealing some very interesting information to Rebecca, including the fact that her mother has left some precious pieces of antique furniture at the home of her Grandfather, a man she’s never met and had assumed was dead. So she travels to Cornwall England to meet her Grandfather and to find out more about her and her mother’s mysterious past.

Also, if you want to start an excellent series (they can be read as separate entities, but it’s much more fulfilling to read them in order) try the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross. This series is about a Southern woman of certain age who finds out that her recently deceased husband was up to no good during their marriage, even though Miss Julia is a proper woman, a pillar of society, it turns out that her husband was carrying out nefarious acts behind her back. And although she’s lived frugally all her life, it turns out that her hubby was also hiding his wealth from her, so that’s a relief. Or at least it was until she finds out that her husband didn’t leave all of the money to Miss Julia. The rest of the story, and subsequent books, involves Julia learning to survive and thrive as a single, older lady, in proper society, while uncovering all sorts of things about her husband, his past and other goings on in her small, proper town. She also learns lessons about romance, tolerance, compassion and finance. All of this happens whilst juggling social engagements and trying to solve a mystery that has popped up. Miss Julia cannot help herself when it comes to mysteries, big and small. She is surrounded by a whole cast of wonderful characters, the townspeople of Abbottsville, North Carolina.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seabiscuit or Sacajawea, hands down. Seabiscuit is the only book I have ever read, that when I got to the last word I immediately started over from the beginning. Sacajawea is fascinating.

Incoherency_'s avatar

Jaws is a great read while you’re at the beach. ;-)

Magical_Muggle's avatar

I was going to say “Far Rockaway” it is a bit sad, but is a lovely story, depicting how life is never the same, in some sense, I really do recommend it

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: I went to a bookstore once (Border’s before it’s sad closing) and asked for a recommendation for a book gift for my mom. The clerk recommended Janet Evanovich, and my mom really liked them!

dina_didi's avatar

@Incoherency_ jaws was one of the funniest things to read on the beach! Thanks for your answers! You gave me some great ideas!

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