March Break: An acclaimed two weeks to catch up on sleep, relaxation and even a little bit of homework. But what’s a better way to unwind than to take in the fresh spring air while reading a captivating book?
March Break: An acclaimed two weeks to catch up on sleep, relaxation and even a little bit of homework. But what’s a better way to unwind than to take in the fresh spring air while reading a captivating book? Whether you’re traveling or staying home during break, a novel can take your imagination away to a new world. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes
Karl Marlantes’ first novel, Matterhorn, explores a group of young men in the Marines who build, abandon, and then reclaim an outpost during the Vietnam War. The author, a highly decorated Vietnam vet, served in the war then wrote Matterhorn over the course of 30 years. According to History teacher David DeNaples, “The story was as impressive as his perseverance in writing it.”
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell
Receiving praise from both Maliya Ellis ’19 and Holden Turner ’17, Cloud Atlas has been a student favorite since 2004. Maliya Ellis ’19 said, “This was one of the best and most unique fiction novels I have ever read.” This novel contains six nested stories that transition from the South Pacific in the 19th century to a distant and post-apocalyptic future. According to New York Times reviewer, Tom Bissell, the book is written “as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine.”
The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu
Written by China’s most beloved science-fiction author, The Three Body Problem won the Hugo award and was noted by Barack Obama as one of the books that “stuck with him.” Set during China’s Cultural Revolution, this novel brings together a secret military project with alien civilization and looks at humans’ reactions to their interactions. Obama remarked that “the scope of the book was so immense,” causing him to put into perspective his “day-to-day problems with Congress.”
Swing Time, by Zadie Smith
Both a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Swing Time is a story about friendship, music and culture. It follows the story of two mixed race girls: one a natural dancer, and the other an observer of the world. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, this story examines race and global politics. English teacher Brad Czepiel said, “I loved reading about race issues outside of America and enjoyed that the plot and structure did not work the way I expected it would.”
Lock In, by John Scalzi
A futuristic science fiction novel follows the story of FBI agent Chris Shane who lives in a world where an ongoing epidemic of locked-in syndrome is shaping his career, and the world he lives in. When he is presented with a case with a patient’s murder, he soon realizes that it is part of a much bigger case. According to Kirkus Reviews, the murder mystery “contains plenty of action” and “thought-provoking examination of disability culture and politics”.
The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
A winner of the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction, as well as a New York Times bestseller, The Sellout “challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement” according to Rolling Stone. It is told from the perspective of a black lower-middle-class Californian who is trying to fit into the ‘white’ culture of California. He finds himself facing trial in the Supreme Court for keeping a slave. The Rolling Stone also calls it a, “Whirlwind of satire” and says this highly acclaimed novel includes just enough “comic aspects… from having to discuss its more serious themes.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
Junot Diaz’s first novel and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, contains multiple styles and genres and focuses on a young man named Oscar as he tries to fit into a world in which he feels like an alien. According to the New York Times, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, “has a wild, capacious spirit”which travels through decades of Oscar’s family’s past and heart wrenching moments in Oscar’s present life to tell what the Los Angeles Times calls a “Panoramic and yet achingly personal” story of the hardships that many youths face when traveling into adulthood, and the measures that people take for love.
Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
Crafting a highly appraised murder mystery that takes place shortly after World War II, David Guterson creates “a masterpiece of suspense”. Putting a strong focus on the effects that the exile of Japanese-Americans had on a small town during the war, Snow Falling on Cedars is a collection of flashbacks, old stories, and present moments that will “leave you shaken and changed,” said Goodreads book reviews.
Other recommendations from students and teachers:
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
About Grace, by Anthony Doerr
A Crack in the Sea, by H. M. Bouwman
The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
The Night in Lisbon, by Erich Maria Remarque
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood
Paper Girls, by Brian K.Vaughan
Quiet, by Susan Cain
Tell No One, by Harlan Coben