The September staff picks theme is Beach Reads.
You know: the kind of reading you do solely for pleasure. Sometimes, pleasure-reading is of the guilty variety, and sometimes it’s a luxurious read with no practical application whatsoever. A so-called beach read has the perfect balance of entertainment and engagement, inspiring that crucial suspension of disbelief in the author’s make-believe (or believe it or not – true!) world.
The Mechanics’ Institute staff has selected everything from the classic page-turner to books with sentences so complex and lovely you want to linger over every one of them. Whether you choose a beautifully-illustrated graphic novel or a gripping memoir, we hope you’ll find something on this month’s display of our favorites that strikes your fancy.
Jeremy recommends Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk (294.39 H368) by Shozan Jack Haubner
A 30-something monk living at a Buddhist temple in Southern California, Haubner's writing is self-deprecating at times, insightful at others, and often both. These personal essays cover a lot of ground from Haubner's experiences in monastic life to what drove him to leave the secular world. There's enough here to make you laugh, cry, and reflect about your own follies in life.
Diane recommends And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
From the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini tells the touching tale of the enduring love between an Afghan brother and sister who are torn apart at a young age. This story, which spans many decades, explores the sacrifices that poor and desperate families must make in this war torn country to enable their own to survive. Read the final chapters with a tissue box by your side!
Deb recommends Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Spanning three generations on two continents, Beach Music weaves together themes of loss and family loyalty with seemingly disparate historical events and locations (Rome, the rural South, the Vietnam War, the Holocaust). Despite its scope, this novel is a page-turner, which is really saying something about a book which contains 768 pages!
Heather recommends Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
A classic tale of love, revolution, and beating your friends to a bloody pulp; if you’ve seen the film so many times that you forget how the book ends, it’s time to read it and fall in love/hate with Tyler Durden all over again. If this is your first time, I envy you the mayhem mingled with discovery that characterizes this, Palahniuk’s masterwork. And don’t forget the first rule of fight club…