On the first warm day...
Spring is feeling a bit reluctant this year. It's in the latter part of April on the east coast and there's still a chill in the air most mornings. However, eventually it'll settle itself into a more steady heat and there is just a certain kind of book I like to read when it gets there. They're usually set somewhere warm and occasionally tropical. They give me the urge to get outside and remind me to enjoy the tranquility. A few of my favorites are below.
It's been more than two years since the publication of this book and I still look askew at the trees in my neighborhood. I read it all in one sitting while sitting in the park under a big tree with the sunlight streaming through the leaves. I highly recommend you take this same approach some warm afternoon very soon. Continue with the rest of the series in Authority and Acceptance.
I truly loved this debut novel from Tiphanie Yanique. As a Virgin Islands native she gives fascinating insight as only a local could on the trajectory of these islands and their inhabitants. It's told through the eyes of a few generations of a family but it also offers observations from a variety of points in American history. The thing that sets it apart is that it's from a perspective that you've probably never encountered before in textbooks or in fiction. Important times in history like WWII to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s are explored by Yanique who is extremely deft with her lush prose and nearly tangible characters. A sultry setting and sensual style make it perfect for a warm evening spent in a hammock.
An excellent warm weather nonfiction pick is Amanda Vaill's biography about Gerald and Sara Murphy. They were the most glamorous couple of arguably the most glamorous decade. They are credited with making vacationing in the French Riviera popular and Vaill writes extensively of these sojourns. A particularly enchanting fact in the book is that Pablo Picasso could be found sketching Sara Murphy often. She became a favorite model of his. One of his sketches of her nude stretched out on the sand is included and it makes me yearn for the nude beaches of Europe. So many notable names make it in and out of the Murphy's inner circle throughout their lives making them some of the most interesting people who ever lived.
The perfect vacation book is on its way this June. The story mainly takes place in California during the sweltering height of mid-summer towards the end of the 1960s. Cline creates this stifling heat that keeps your mind off kilter so you begin to question your own decision making. I read this in the winter but, nevertheless, Cline made me feel the warmth up around my collar. I plan on buying this once it comes out in hardcover to experience it in the actual heat which I suspect will be a satisfying reading moment.