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Spring Break Reads

Recommendations from Buzz residents

Cindy Burnett
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Michele Carlin

Avid reader Michele Carlin recommends great books for spring break. (Photo: hartphoto.com)

Whether you are headed out of town or enjoying a staycation, Spring Break is an ideal time to read a good book. I view reading on a Spring Break much like I view summer reading – everything is fair game and there is no genre that works best because every reader is unique. Instead, the quality of the writing, the plot, and the overall enjoyment of the story are the important factors to consider. I queried Buzz residents who read regularly about their recommendations for entertaining Spring Break reads and enjoyed the wide range of suggestions that these avid readers made.

Michele Carlin: “If you’re heading to the mountains or just wish you were, then Go As a River by Shelley Read would be a great book to read over Spring Break. While not a light read, it is such a great story! It follows the life of Victoria Nash, growing up in rural Colorado beginning in the late 1940s and spans the next 20 years or so of her life. While there is heartbreak, painful decisions, family tragedies, it is also a love story, with redemption and hope woven throughout. I especially love how the author places such a strong emphasis on Victoria’s connection with her family’s peach orchard, and the river that serves as the backdrop to her life. It is a thought-provoking book that will tug at your heartstrings and keep you pulling for Victoria to find the happiness and closure that she deserves.” 

Michele Carlin

FASCINATING HISTORICAL FICTION “If you’re heading to the mountains or just wish you were, then Go As a River by Shelley Read would be a great book to read over Spring Break," says West U resident Michele Carlin. This is a good pick if you love historical fiction. (Photo: hartphoto.com)

Kelly Hogan: “If you haven't read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, now is the perfect time to do it. An incredibly thought-provoking read set up in small chapters so you can read for 10 minutes or two hours. Each chapter brings about a different possibility of what can happen with a simple decision made. I find it to be one of the most inspirational books that I have ever read.

“Also, Trust by Hernan Diaz is a novel that features tales of extreme wealth and capitalism, told in long vignettes from different points of view and timelines. The stories somehow intertwine and lead to one another without you even realizing it. By the end you will want to start all over again – that is, after you Google the book to death wondering if it was a true story. As an avid reader and audio book listener, I recommend getting the book for this one.” 

Dale Andrews: “My favorite book series that I have read in the past few months is Fourth Wing and its sequel Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros. The world building was fantastic, the enemies-to-lovers romance was steamy and believable, and it is the first time in a long while that I actually bought into the female main character’s story arc/development rather than trudging through tired tropes… Did I mention dragons?! So good! The author truly did a fabulous job, and I could not put either book down!”

Melanie Margolis: “I enjoyed Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions for You, a mystery set in a boarding school. The protagonist is a podcaster who returns to her former school two decades after graduating to teach a class. She and her students attempt to solve a murder that took place there when she was a student. The narration is unusual because the protagonist speaks directly to an absent character, her former teacher and mentor. The book addresses misogyny, sexual assault, racism, and the flaws of the justice system while the main character examines her own life in a new light. Makkai is a skilled storyteller and wordsmith. I also recommend her book The Hundred-Year House.”

Stacy Humphries: “Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley would make an engaging Spring Break read regardless of whether you are traveling or just staying home and relaxing. This book is a light story of a group of complete strangers who commute on the same train every morning. After breaking the unwritten rule of not talking to strangers on the train, they develop friendships that change each of them in small and big ways. I loved the different characters, the well-paced plot, and themes around the power of friendship and community. A light read perfect for a vacation.”

Patricia Hammond: “I’m re-reading The Josephine B. Trilogy by Sandra Gulland. After seeing Napoleon with the family over Christmas break, I remembered her story to be just as interesting as his. I enjoy Gulland’s writing and the journal entry-style format. Josephine was a fascinating historical figure in her own right.” 

Catherine Gentry

FICTION FOCUSED ON FAMILY Houston writer Catherine Gentry recommends Family Family by Laurie Frankel and The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel as engaging spring break reads. "Both books I'm recommending deal with family and love and offer insight and understanding into how families are formed and sustain us with love, often unexpectedly," Catherine says. (Photo: hartphoto.com)

Catherine Gentry, Memorial area writer and teacher with Writers in the Schools: “Family Family by Laurie Frankel and The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel are great choices for Spring Break reads. Both books I'm recommending deal with family and love and offer insight and understanding into how families are formed and sustain us with love, often unexpectedly. Family Family by Laurie Frankel focuses on adoption and motherhood in our modern world. The dialogue sparkles and the characters make you want to join them on further adventures as Frankel reminds us that families offer love and support no matter how they're made. This book is filled with humor and compassion, two things we could always use more of, and I recommend it for a great read.

“Beautifully written, The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel is witty and fun. When a baby brings together three unrelated women and their complicated lives, Poeppel invites us to consider the meaning of family and its role in our lives. With a warmhearted approach to the chaos of family life, Poeppel creates characters who are simultaneously humorous and endearing. Such a joy to read!” 

Michelle Juden: “My recommendation is The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley. This was a fun, multi-generational story. It had the vibe of Driving Miss Daisy meets Thelma & Louise. There was fun dialogue along with thought-provoking situations that made it very enjoyable.”

Karen Walker: “I recently read and enjoyed The Lake House by Kate Morton. This is a mystery about a kidnapped boy set in Cornwall, England. There are two main characters. One is a young, female detective who tries to find out the history of an old mansion, and the other is a young girl who grew up in the mansion as the book goes back and forth between time periods. I like all of Kate Morton’s books.

“I also loved The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, and it is the start of a series. This is a British mystery series set in a retirement home in the English countryside. The main characters are four retirees who solve murders and cold cases. I actually listened to this on Audible, and it’s so good and hilarious as well.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley: I just finished this light rom-com with an eclectic cast of characters.”

Stacy Humphries: “Broken Horses by Brandi Carlile (audiobook). A must-listen audiobook if you like Brandi Carlile's voice/songs. She digs deep into the challenges of her upbringing, the tension between her faith/religion and her queerness, her intense emotional attachments to different people, and her phenomenal rise in the music business from an ‘other’ to a somebody. The big surprise was that she provides one or two songs at the end of most of her chapters and then provides a full 1 hour 45 min ‘chapter’ of music at the end of the book. Would be great on a plane, during a long car ride, or while relaxing on the beach.”

Enjoy your break, whether you are traveling or enjoying time at home, and let me know what stellar reads you enjoyed. 

Editor’s note: If you love to read and would be interested in sharing your recommendations for future Buzz articles, email us at [email protected] to be added to Cindy Burnett’s email list. 

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