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Break-Bound Reads

Are you one of those?  One of those people that claims you don’t have time to read while at college?  You tell me to come on, to take a look at your time here at Bucknell: frankly, you’re busy.  You are a member of an array of clubs ranging from ACE to Bucknell Buddies, requiring you think creatively about Fall Fest while teaching the youth of Lewisburg how to enunciate the word “the.”  Not to mention, you’re a double major with quite the course load, one of which is giving you a headache as it fulfills a “learning goals” CCC requirement. (I mean, what constitutes a learning goal anyway?) So to read…for pleasure…with all those textbooks, assignments, tests, papers, activities…the list goes on?  You scoff.  No, I don’t have time for that.

I won’t argue with you; I realize not everyone breathes Jane Austen and rereads Kurt Vonnegut instead of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.  But, there’s this little thing coming up that’s just two words and starts on March 6th.   Spring Break: the former word teasing us with the possibility of better weather and the latter implying ample time to sit back, relax…and read.  So, leave that clunky Psychology textbook on campus and grab one of these novels to match your locale this break.  I promise there won’t be a pop-quiz upon your return to campus or any pressure to color-code your highlighting.  Quite simply, read for pleasure.   

Beach: The Vacationers by Emma Straub

You yourself are embarking on the land of eternal sunshine and seemingly crystal waters.  You want the ocean waves to come to correspond both your heart rate and your thought processes: slow and steady.  To amplify this desired slower pace, delve into what People Magazine called a “delicious” novel.  Emma Straub capitalizes on just the European relaxation you covet, setting her easily relatable fast-pace Post family in the Balearic island of Mallorca.  This two-week trip forces the family’s secrets to come alive, evoking understandably humiliating familial situations, uncovering childhood rivalries, and forcing reconstruction of the fantasized family dynamic. 

Mountains: The Interestings by Meg Wollitzer

You may be surrounded by perpetually-falling snow and the chill of a mountainous wind, but embrace the fire’s warmth and travel back to the summer of yesteryear.  Meg Wollitzer’s organic novel brings you to the summer that Nixon resigns, in which six teenagers form life-long bonds at a summer camp for the arts.  Easily described as an eclectic group, the reader follows these artistic personas as they develop, from trivial challenges of adolescence to inevitable truths of adulthood.  Allow your exhaustion from your day’s worth of winter sports subside as Wollitzer’s characters attempt to propel through mogul-like difficulties as their talents, fortunes, and corresponding happiness go separate ways.        

City: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

In an effort to keep up with the hustle and bustle that is a city—from New York to Boston—I dare you to keep up with Chris Cleave’s five-year-old novel, Little Bee.  Following a Nigerian refugee, Little Bee, upon her release from the British immigration detention center after being held for two years, Cleave successfully entrances the reader with subtle complexities within his city-like labyrinth.  Little Bee’s path into freedom is sure to keep up in energy and excitement as the street’s horns, the subway’s pressure, and the bright-lights-big-city theme song to your vacation.  A fair warning, however, be ready to have your emotional heartstrings pulled and your expectations confused: Cleave knows how to keep you on the end of that taxi-subway-coffee shop seat.  

Home: Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

There’s nothing better than the comfort of your home…and, yet, nothing better than challenging that comfort.  JoJo Moyes’s novel is far from conventional as it juxtaposes two people who could not have less in common.  And in doing so, the story brings you to access even the deepest of your emotions as you and the characters are forced to ask the question: “What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?”   Set in England, Me Before You will push you farther out of your comfort zone as you explore a different locale with Louisa, ordinary in all sense of the word, and Will, a young man with the bitterness and bossiness of an aging 80 year old.  Guaranteed, you will both laugh and cry and what better place to do that than in your own bed?   

Elizabeth is a senior at Bucknell University, majoring in English and Spanish. She was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, always with hopes of one day pursuing a career as a journalist. She worked for her high school paper and continues to work on Bucknell’s The Bucknellian as a senior writer. She has fervor for frosting, creamy delights, and all things baking, an affinity for classic rock music, is a collector of bumper stickers and postcards, and is addicted to Zoey Deschanel in New Girl. Elizabeth loves anything coffee flavored, the Spanish language, and the perfect snowfall. Her weakness? Brunch. See more of her work at www.elizabethbacharach.wordpress.com 
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