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  • August 2010
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Vacation Books

**Edited: Suzy scheduled this to post before she left on vacation, but WordPress hiccuped and it’s posting after her return.  I hope her vacation was fantastic and book-full! -Karen**

I am leaving Friday night for a glorious week-long visit to the beach. To say that I am looking forward to it would be an understatement. I am ecstatic. I am euphoric. I am jubilant. I am in a frenzy of bliss.

I really need a vacation.

I take my vacation books seriously. When I was in Florida for my honeymoon, I brought all the Harry Potter books. I finished the last one (crying) somewhere around Zelienople. I read a lot and I read fast, so I worry that I’ll finish my books before I come home. Then I’m forced to buy some cheesy paperback at a grocery store. Which is fine, but when you work in a library, buying a $9 paperback feels so wrong.

I posted a Facebook message asking for recommendations (it’s good to be friends with lots of librarians) and got a huge response. Here are the books I have packed (some are YA, some are not):

Sookie Stackhouse Series, Charlaine Harris
Recommended by Val, Librarian and library customer
Okay, I know. What took me so long? I feel like the last person on Earth who is not addicted to this series and the television series it spawned, True Blood. I didn’t like the covers on the books. No kidding. As a librarian, I am constantly telling people to not to judge a book by its cover…so, lesson learned.  This series (which is still going) begins with a Southern waitress named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie can read minds, lives in a world where vampires are newly legal, is being courted by a shape shifter and is searching for a serial killer. What’s not to love? Between friends and the library, I have all 10 books to take with me.

The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is best known for The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a (bad) movie. This is the second novel in a new series of books called The Cousins’ War. The first book in the series, The White Queen, was about Elizabeth Woodville, and English commoner who married King Edward IV. The Red Queen is told from the point of view of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII. Beaufort isn’t my favorite women in Tudor history: she often confused the will of God with her own ambition and may have been responsible for the death of two English princes. But no one can deny that she sacrificed her life to get her son the throne of England. I’m looking forward to reading this because Gregory always delivers a great story; even if the history isn’t always spot on.

Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
Recommended by Karen, Teen Librarian
I confess I finished this one. I picked it up to see if I would like it and could not put it down. The best way to describe this book would be ‘lovely.’ The Waverly family in Bascom, North Carolina has always been an odd family. They all have ‘special’ talents. The older sister, Claire, tends a garden that flourishes year round and owns a very temperamental apple tree- with apples that will tell you your future. Younger sister Sydney also has a talent, but it takes her much longer to find it. This novel is part magic, part love story and part small-town gossip page.

The Sugar Queen, Sarah Addison Allen
Recommended by Karen, Teen Librarian
I liked the first book so much; I figured I would like the rest. Right? This novel also has magic, in the form of a closet where Josey Cirrini discovers local waitress Della Lee Baker. Josey likes sweets and paperback romances and before she knows it, Della Lee is transforming her life, ala Fairy Godmother.

The Girl who Chased the Moon, Sarah Addison Allen
Recommended by Karen, Teen Librarian
Family secrets, inter-generational storylines, magic wallpaper? Count me in! Like her other two novels, Allen’s newest effort has elements of a fairytale, but stops short of being too sweet. There is a giant and a love story, too.

Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart
Recommend by Dan, Library Clerk
Publisher’s Weekly said this novel is, “A rich commentary on the obsessions and catastrophes of the information age and a heartbreaker worthy of its title…” Shteyngart is an expert at satire (Absurdistan) and I hope this novel is no different.

Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, Jen Lancaster
Recommended by Michele, Customer Service Rep
Michele (the recommender) is one of the funniest people I know. And she usually only reads serious non-fiction. So if she says this is funny, it’s going to be funny. Lancaster has a blog where she discusses unemployment, shopping, being bitter and everything else under the sun.

Matterhorn: a novel of the Vietnam War, Karl Marlantes*
This book took Karl Marlantes thirty years to write. Himself a decorated Vietnam veteran, Marlantes debut was an Amazon Best Book of the Month for March, 2010 and is already considered the great novel on the Vietnam War.  At a whopping 592 pages, it spans over many months and follows Marine lieutenant and platoon commander Waino Mellas as he navigates his way through the horrors of war.

Now this blog is finished. This was the last thing I had to do before I left and it’s done! Time to lay on the sand and read to my heart’s content.

suzy @ knoxville

*My ‘just in case’ book

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