By: Carolyn Cargile, Leisure Co-Editor
In just two short weeks, midterms will be over and Spring Break begins. It’s hard to believe that half of the semester is almost over. After the past few stress-induced weeks packed with tests, papers and not snow days, nine whole days of relaxation and release is something we all deserve. But at the same time that having a week completely open sounds amazing, sometimes it can start to drag. Between doing nothing and then more nothing, it’s easy for students who are used to constant drive to stall out and get uninterested. Having something light yet entertaining is always a welcome relief – the perfect balance between boredom and frenzy. It’s tempting when bored to just watch TV or take a nap, but why not try something that is mentally active yet engaging, entertaining, and easy? There are dozens of great books that come out every year and grip readers across America. The following are just a few of them.
Come to the Edge by Christina Haag is a poignant memoir written by the former longtime girlfriend of JFK, Jr. It retells their romance, showing the personage of JFK, Jr. as she knew him: a brilliant, tender, and exciting young man, an “ordinary boy in extraordinary circumstances”. The images Haag paints of their relationship and interactions, as well as the circumstances which surrounded it all, present a man and society very different from the one Americans have always thought of. Haag leaves the legends of the Kennedys aside, and writes first and foremost of the man she loved. Entertainment Weekly writes that it, “Perfectly captures what it feels like to be young and in love – the giddiness, the lunacy, the madcap swings between exhilaration and despair.”
Walks with Men by the prolific short-story writer Ann Beattie is a very slender (think 100 pages) novella about Jane, a recently graduated Harvard valedictorian who goes to New York City in 1980. She meets a worldly writer named Neil who is twenty years her senior, and the two strike a deal. They begin a relationship, and Neil offers her pieces of “life advice”. It is a quick, relatable, and well-captured story of a young woman and her first worldly adventures.
Classics never die. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway is a masterpiece of modern literature, and the perfect light yet utterly fulfilling read. It features two of Hemingway’s most iconic characters, Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, and their journey from Paris of the Lost Generation to the sunny plains and bullfighting rings of Spain. It is a story of unfulfilled love and realization. And no matter how many times you read it, it will always exhilarate you.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford rocked readers when it came out in 2009. It is the sentimental story of a Japanese-American man who goes on a quest in the 1980s back through the past, sparked by the memory of a girl he knew once before they were displaced to internment camps during World War II. It is a brisk read that transports the reader to another time and place, taking him along the journey with the protagonist through past and present. BookPage writes that it “will make you linger on the final pages, sure that even the bitterest memories and the most painful regret can yield something sweet”.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer debuted back in 2005 but has continued to grip readers and was so popular that it is being made into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. It is the story of a young boy and his journey through New York City in search of the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died on 9/11. It is “energetic, inventive, and ambitious…an uplifting myth born of the sorrows of 9/11”, writes the Boston Globe. This book is powerful, an absolute must-read before the film version premieres.