Whether it be curling up with a good book next to the fireplace, or soaking in the sun with a beach read, I see vacation as an opportunity to devour novel after novel and poem after poem. Wherever I am, I try to read my way through a city. New York? Catch me walking the streets with Keith Haring’s Journals, The Catcher in The Rye, or The Beautiful and the Damned in hand. Paris? Make space in my suitcase for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and A Certain Smile.
This summer, my family and I stayed home. Although we are not on a luxurious vacation across the hemisphere in some aesthetically pleasing paradise, my love to read continues. Instead, I have chosen to take in the wonders of my hometown with the wide eye of a tourist — something I would recommend to any restless rising senior anticipating college far from town. Join me as I read my way through the Bay.
- Big Sur by Jack Kerouac
Speaking through the lens of his alter ego, Jack Duluoz, author Jack Kerouac chronicles his trips between wild binges in San Francisco and attempts in rehabilitation at an isolated cabin on the California coast. Big Sur reminds readers of the importance of nature — Kerouac points to the relationship between man and nature as the only solution to restore balance within man. Kerouac has an innate ability to effortlessly dive into the interlockings of luminous emptiness and paranoiac confusion. Big Sur is meant for fans of subtle innocence — whether that be a melody of foghorns by the San Francisco bay or the peace of the Redwood forest.
- The Set Up Man by T.T. Monday
In The Set Up Man, T.T. Monday walks a fine line between hilariously tongue-in-cheek and gritty. The book features Johnny Adcock, an aging Bay Area Major League pitcher who moonlights as a private investigator. As dumb as the premise might sound, Monday provides a Matt Reeves Batmanesque nuance to the concept of a Major League closer becoming a private investigator. Filled with baseball lore and tasteful dark humor, the book makes for an enjoyable treat to fans of the sport — especially if they happen to have a soft spot for mystery thrillers.
- There There by Tommy Orange
There There features a multigenerational story of duality. Characters often act as foils between each other, their every decision meant to reflect themes such as violence and recovery or beauty and despair. Orange shuffles between twelve characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow — an event that acts as the center of the storyline. Together, the chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American — grappling with a complex and painful history. There There is truly an instant classic.