Summer is approaching, and with it comes a nearly four-month break from the high stress of college life. You’ll undoubtedly find extravagant ways to pass the 15 weeks of nothingness, but whether your summer is spent sitting in an office or sitting on the beach, there are some spare moments when boredom and idleness are inevitable.
So head to Barnes and Noble for more than a fat-free latte, get a good book.
For the eccentrics: “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” by David Sedaris
Neurotic is the best way to describe David Sedaris. His nonfiction essay collection covers acute social observations of growing up in small town North Carolina and moving to France. His descriptions of his battles with his lisp, eccentric mother and homosexual relationships with equally crazy men will make you laugh out loud, literally.
Although his essays often go on wild tangents, the book’s general theme is people’s inability to communicate. In the essay “Jesus Shaves,” Sedaris explains Easter to a Moroccan Muslim using French that rivals a toddler’s understanding of the language.
Additional Sedaris humor: “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and “Holidays on Ice”
For the lover of lords: “Patron Saint of Liars” by Ann Patchett
Patchett’s novels are poetic translations of our deepest human desires. Her stories are intimate and unique, told in a language that transcends the voice of any other author. In a style and art all her own, Patchett crafts novels that deal with love in the most unusual of circumstances. Be it the tenacity of unwed mothers in “Patron Saint of Liars,” the romance between terrorists and captives in “Bel Canto” or a woman’s unwavering desire and devotion to her gay husband in “The Magician’s Assistant,” Patchett demonstrates a true gift for words.
Other popular lyrical reads: “Prodigal Summer,” by Barbara Kingsolver and “Fortunes Rock,” “The Weight of Water” and “The Last Time They Met” by Anita Shreve
For the fashionable female: “Can You Keep a Secret?” by Sophie Kinsella
Kinsella’s new novel is another glamorous tale of exaggerated humor. The lead character, Emma Corrigan, has the best of intentions yet can’t seem to tell the truth. Her trail of “little white lies” leads to catastrophe beyond her wildest dreams. “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is another of Kinsella’s bestsellers – perfect for any charge card aficionado. The main character, Becky Bloomwood, forfeits common sense and practicality in the name of the season’s “must-haves.” You are guaranteed to feel less guilty about your credit card debt after spending your summer in Becky’s shoes (Jimmy Choo, of course).
Check out chick lit: “The Devil Wears Prada” by Lauren Weisberger, “Good in Bed” by Jennifer Weiner and “Bergdorf Blondes” by Plum Skyes.
This article appeared in the April 26, 2004 issue of the Hatchet.