Matt Singer

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For all those planning a vacation (or dreaming of one), we’ve selected five books to consider for your next holiday.


First published in 1962, Cassandra at the Wedding is a book of enduring freshness, insight, and verve. Dorothy Baker’s entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic. When Edna O'Brien's first novel, The Country Girls, was published in 1960, it so scandalized the O'Briens' local parish that the book was burned by its priest. O'Brien was undeterred and has since created a body of work that bears comparison with the best writing of the twentieth century. Country Girl brings us face-to-face with a life of high drama and contemplation. In The Danube: A Journey Upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest Nick Thorpe embarks on an inspiring year-long journey that leads to a new perspective on Europe today. The Sea Inside comprises a yearlong adventure through the world’s oceans with Philip Hoare, the award-winning author of The Whale. In colorful prose and lively line drawings, Hoare sets out to rediscover the sea and its islands, birds, and beasts. To go somewhere with Brian Benson is a downhill coast, albeit winding, complete with diesel exhaust and all the saddle cramps one can endure in a two-thousand-mile bike trek—all the while trying to find the meaning of place and the where, how, and why we fit in with it. Going Somewhere is part memoir, part American travelogue, part summer explosion of twenty-something love, and all soul-searching life-quest that propels us to move forward, to reassess, and to reclaim, our own ambitions.