The Books of Spring Break

Hooray for Spring Break! From all of us here at the Writing Center – we’re looking forward to a little R, R, & R: Rest, Relaxation, & Reading!

In case you need some “beach reading” inspiration, we’ve got you covered:

From our Writing Specialists:

Ines: The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom is succinct enough to be read in one sitting (preferably nestled on a towel in the sand), but its transitory themes extend beyond the boundaries of the pages. It follows the stories of three characters all struggling with various frustrating facets of time, one of whom is the creator of time himself. Without creating a quasi-pantheon, Albom constructs an engaging, exploratory read that illuminates the very fears we all have.

Ariel: I recommend Lucia Berlin’s short story collection A Manual for Cleaning Women. The stories have a light touch and fascinating characters, but she uses light prose and has a great sense of humor.



Jack: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis is a book that I can’t classify by genre. It reads like a Greek myth with the commentary of a philosophical treatise. Essentially, it is a retelling of the tale of Cupid and Psyche, but written through the eyes of Psyche’s older sister, Orual. This novel has a mature edge to it compared to some of his other well-known stories. This hidden gem is one that readers can still find thought-provoking through how it analyzes theism in a retrospective sort of way.

Nicky: Some of my favorite books are cook books. It’s so rewarding to plan a meal from start to finish, and enjoy it when it is finished. If you’re looking for some healthy, simple, and delicious recipes to cook up, I’d recommend checking out Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam. Her book has a variety of recipes, ranging from snacks, breakfast, dinner, and dessert.

Sammy: I really enjoyed Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. One of my best friends recommended this book to me, and after reading it, I learned to love myself more by realizing that it is okay to be an introvert.


Jasmine: I recommend Daniel Chacon’s And the Shadows Took Him, a story about a Chicano family that moved from Fresno to Medford. It gives insights on the impacts stereotypes have on those labeled and the different perspectives of life that each member of a family may have. It’s easy and entertaining to read.


Sheldon: My go-to book recommendation is John Dies at the End by David Wong. It’s ridiculous in a million different ways, combining horror and black humour, being both hilariously immature and also somewhat thought-provoking. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I thoroughly enjoy it.

For a more general choice, I suggest Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart. It’s a “children’s” novel, sure, but it’s still a great read. The story is full of the magic I needed to have in the real world, and it’s very much about, quite literally, the magic of reading.

Tim: I recommend Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel or its Spanish translation, Como Agua para Chocolate. This novel is a quick read that provides social commentary on Mexico and the status of women while employing bold elements of magical realism and self empowerment.


From the Writing Faculty / Staff:

Pat: Read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. It takes eight hours to enjoy Milo’s adventures learning the importance of knowledge. And the link is a free ebook through the library!



Maria: Like The Princess Bride? Like historical fiction or sci-fi? You’ll love My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows which tells the (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England. You’ll laugh and then quickly search to find the next book in the series (coming in 2018)!

Shannon: I loved The Martian, by Andy Weir. As always, the book was so much better than the movie– and the movie was great, so this would be a really fun adventure read for spring break. The character of Mark Whatney is much more developed and funny in the book, and the adventure is also more suspenseful and detailed than the movie. It’s one of my favorite page-turners!

Another adventure book for spring break is the memoir West With the Night by Beryl Markham. This book is listed on Outside Magazine‘s Best Adventure Books of the Last 100 Years and National Geographic‘s 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time, and is a glorious read about an adventurous British-born woman who lived the majority of her life in the early-1900’s in Kenya as a bush pilot, racehorse trainer, and author. Her life and adventures are fascinating and her descriptions of life in Kenya illustrate the beauty and excitement of time and place.

Michelle: My favorite beach reads will usually be sci-fi or fantasy, and I recently enjoyed the dystopian novel Red Rising, by Pierce Brown. The book tackles real societal issues by depicting a world in which people are classified according to color–golds are at the top and hold all the power while reds are at the bottom and do all the manual labor. The main character, Darrow, is a red who leads the rebellion (after the execution of his wife) by becoming a gold and infiltrating their society. The characters are multi-dimensional, and the plot is packed with action. It’s a fun (but brutal) read!

Happy Reading!















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