What Do Academics Read Over Summer Vacation?

My vacation fiction reading list.

July 23, 2020

It’s coming up on academic vacation time. Over the next six weeks, many of you will disappear. What does vacation even mean during a pandemic? Going anywhere seems either ill advised or impossible.

And what does summer vacation mean for academics? Reading. As the people of the book, higher ed folks take their vacation reading seriously.

What will you be reading on your vacation? I know you can no longer answer by commenting (boo!), but maybe tweet some summer vacation books our way.

My vacation was last week. As a rule, during vacation, I read only fiction. Reading nonfiction is too much like working. Novels, science fiction stories, police procedurals and spy thrillers are what I think of when I think about a vacation.

One reason to share what I read on vacation is that if I don’t write these books down, I’m likely to forget when I read them.

My vacation reading list included:

What can I say about this choice of books to read on vacation?

Of the list above, I say my favorite was Broken by Don Winslow. This book is a series of short and interconnected novels. If you love hard-boiled crime fiction and miss Elmore Leonard, you will love Broken.

The only “serious” book on the list is from Richard Ford. Sorry for Your Trouble is a collection of short stories. I’ve loved Richard Ford since reading The Sportswriter. Since that book, none have (for me) quite measured up.

David Ignatius is one of those people who are successful in two worlds. Ignatius is a Washington Post foreign affairs reporter and columnist and the writer of very smart and authentic spy thrillers. The Paladin is one of his best.

Michael Connelly is a machine. He turns out crime books at a fast pace and is best known for his Harry Bosch series. (The Amazon Prime Video adaptation is terrific). I enjoyed Fair Warning less than I enjoy Connelly’s police procedurals, but the book was still good fun.

Finally, Daniel Silva and The Order. This is the 20th book in Silva’s Israeli super-spy Gabriel Allon series. Silva could keep writing these books, but I hope that he branches out with some new heroines and heroes. For fans of the series (and I am one), The Order is expertly plotted and tightly written.

Do you remember my pre-pandemic pitch for a book-centric platform for higher ed?

If we can ever figure out how to build that thing, it would be a place to share what we are reading. Including the fiction that we read on vacation.

What do you plan to read on your vacation?


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