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Reading Without Limits

I’m going on vacation next week. There will be long days where we do nothing more strenuous than decide whether to order passion fruit martinis or wine with our dinner.  Cards will be played. Dominoes are under discussion. I may try surfing (again). My husband and I will jog along a particular stretch of beach most mornings. We will hike through a bamboo forest. Mostly, though, I will read. I will have the absolute freedom to read as much as I want for 10 whole days. I am giddy.

To prepare, I am loading up the Nook with novels and short story collections that people I respect have recommended. In my experience, a good rule of thumb is to bring along one novel-length book for every two days of vacation, plus one book for each travel day. I once finished my last book on the next-to-the-last leg of a trip, only to find myself stranded for hours in the Houston airport with nothing to read. I panicked, and paid too much for something terrible at the magazine stand. Never again. Ideally, I always have enough reading material to turn away from anything that isn’t holding my attention. As one of my best friends in the world often says: Life’s too short to read bad books.

I know some  people recommend “beach reads” for beach reading, but I’m partial to angsty doom-and-gloom-with-just-a-smidge-of-hope stories. To that end, I’ve loaded up the Nook with books by Colson Whitehead, Tom Perrotta, Joyce Carol Oates, Nicole Krauss, Alice Munro and others. I have a backlog of New Yorker short stories awaiting my attention.

Probably, I have enough. Still, there’s that little frisson of panic in the back of my mind that tells me I have not yet acquired the book I must read. You know the one I mean, the one that you can’t stop thinking about, the one that is so unexpected and fresh that comparisons are impossible, the one you can’t put down even though you are hungry and thirsty and the whales are putting on a show. If you’ve read that book recently, please tell me about it. I have just about one week to update my vacation library.

About Tiffany Quay Tyson

Tiffany Quay Tyson is a writer living in Denver, Colorado. She was born and raised in Mississippi. THREE RIVERS, her debut novel, was a Colorado Book Award finalist and a finalist for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for fiction. She is a 2016 Amtrak Resident. She is currently working on her second novel.

3 comments on “Reading Without Limits

  1. Gary S
    January 24, 2012

    Provinces of Night (novel) or I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down (stories) by William Gay

    The anti-beach books 🙂

    • tqtyson
      January 24, 2012

      Oooh, William Gay. Excellent suggestion. Thank you!

  2. JC
    January 24, 2012

    Lance Olsen’s Calendar of Regrets was the best book I’ve read in the last 2 years. But then again I haven’t read Provinces of Night OR I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down. So who knows?

    Wear sunscreen!

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This entry was posted on January 24, 2012 by in Good Books, Uncategorized.

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