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Reading on Vacation: One Librarian's List

Updated on April 20, 2015



Hours of Great Reading

My vacation to San Antonio in 2013 involved over forty hours as a passenger in a van. This librarian was glad to have some good books along for the ride! Here they are, in no particular order, in case you need ideas for your own vacation:

How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews is a small, sober book from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Andrews teaches the profound lessons he learned from studying the Holocaust. He explains how relatively few Nazis managed to kill so many people with so little resistance. How did they get so many people to trust them and calmly board trains to the death camps?

Adolph Eichmann's job was to accomplish the "final solution" and his plan was simple: lie to them. He lied so well to so many for so long that it became frighteningly easy for him to almost accomplish his goal. It is sobering to think about deceived families boarding trains, thinking it was for their safety, only to be locked in and ultimately killed. Andrews shows that the truth is a very important matter--often a matter of life or death.

All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes by Kenneth A. Meyers is a book I borrowed from my son. He had used it for a class in aesthetics (the philosophy of beauty.)

Meyers seeks to combat what he calls "the plague of terminal trendiness." He contrasts popular culture with its predecessors, folk culture and high culture. Modern media have made pop culture so pervasive that its shallow, celebrity orientation is hard to escape. Generations that have known only pop culture may lack the patience to receive and reflect upon folk or high culture. While pop culture celebrates the individual (although adherents to pop culture often end up acting like groupies rather than individuals) and his desires for novelty and amusement, folk and high culture have different characteristics. They:

  • are communal in nature,
  • respect some form or order, and
  • are worthy of repeated, careful attention.

Meyers encourages Christians to aspire to a higher standard of beauty and intelligence, although he does not really suggest practical actions they might take. While he does an excellent job explaining culture, I suggest a complementary book, Roaring Lambs by Bob Briner, for more practical advice for Christians who want to impact their culture.

Knitting in Tuscany by Nicky Epstein is a travel guide, photo album and project book. She chronicles her trip through Tuscany in words and photographs. Nicky tells you where to stay, what to eat, and where the best yarn shops are to be found. Each chapter includes breathtaking photographs of landscapes and architecture as well as knitted projects inspired by Tuscany's beauty. There are sixteen projects in all, fifteen to knit and one to crochet. Complete instructions are included for the Italy-inspired projects.

Great Book for Writers

Two More Books From My Trip

The Wealthy Freelancerby Slaunwhite, Savage, and Gandia is full of great advice on pricing appropriately, finding the clients and work you really want, and actually getting the work done. The advice on defining the kind of jobs you prefer and attracting the right kind of customer makes this affordable paperback well worth the money. So many writers slave away on unrewarding projects when, with the right effort, they could match themselves with compatible customers and projects instead.

Godforsaken by Dinesh D'Souza is a philosophical book, but D'Souza keeps it accessible to those of us without Ph.D.'s. I have written a review on my blog. This is a book for exercising the mind. D'Souza tackles the age old question of why evil exists when God is omnipotent and could stop it.

Pack Many Books Easily

The e-reader has made vacation reading easier than ever. Never run out of reading material again because of limited cargo space! My favorite e-reader is the Kindle Fire, although I have my eye on a Paperwhite. Some of my friends enjoy their Nooks as well, so check out several brands for the features that are most important to you.

My Kindle Fire has many features I enjoy daily, including some helpful apps for writers, musicians, and knitters.

Note for Outdoor Reading

If you are reading your Kindle Fire outdoors, keep in mind that polarized sunglasses will keep you from reading the screen if your Kindle is polarized in the same direction as your sunglasses.


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      If you don't find it at the library, I know Lifeway bookstores carry it. High school students should read it along with their study of world history.

    • SPK5367 profile image

      SPK5367 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      That first book sounds very interesting. It addresses a concept I have often wondered about. I will look for it in our local library. Thanks for the recommendation.