Jack Kerouac’s On the Road
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
Leaving all the worries and responsibilities in the rear-view mirror, On the Road is an absolute must-read from the pioneer of the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac. Written in a spontaneous and breathless prose, this roman à clef is about two best friends, Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, exploring the freedom of the road, along with jazz, drugs, and classic Americana. What makes the book particularly remarkable is Kerouac’s ability to define the spirit of teen recklessness in light of the freedom of postwar America, making it a perfect companion for a wild summer break.
J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye
"The ducks. Do you know, by any chance? I mean does somebody come around in a truck or something and take them away, or do they fly away by themselves – go south or something?"
Honest, breathtaking, and engaging, Catcher in the Rye is the most widely-read masterpiece from New York novelist J. D. Salinger. The story is about runaway teen Holden Caulfield and his wandering and discoveries around New York. From the honest portrayal of teenage angst to the complex questions of connection, belonging, and growing up, Catcher in the Rye has everything you need for a “swell” summer escape.
Niccolo Ammaniti’s Me and You
“But that evening I danced, and when I danced I felt something I’d never felt before. I felt alive – it took my breath away”
You might have heard about Ammaniti from his acclaimed neo-realist novel I’m Not Scared, but this lesser-known gem is something different. Me and You is a coming-of-age story about an antisocial and eccentric teenager, Lorenzo, who has to live with his heroin-addicted, long-lost step-sister for a week’s holiday, alone in the cellar of his apartment building. Me and You subtly portrays the delicate bond between the two messed-up kids and how it transforms both of their lives for the better. And no, this is not one of your typical happily heartwarming kind of story (we warned you!) but we promise you it is going to be an uplifting and unforgettable ride for your cozy summer.
Alain de Botton’s A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary
“Travel agents would be wiser to ask us what we hope to change about our lives rather than simply where we wish to go.”
Drawn from Marc Augé’s notion of ‘non-place’, A Week at the Airport is a thick description of and philosophical meditation on our modern lives, anonymity of identity, disappearing history, and the invasion of technology at London’s Heathrow Airport. Unlike Marc Augé’s book, A Week at the Airport offers an approachable and intimate encounter with the notion of ‘non-place’ based on De Botton’s conversations and observations over a week at Terminal 5. This light reading is the perfect match for anyone who wants to explore the digested notion of ‘non-place’ in our modern society and how it shapes our experiences of mobility.
Charles Bukowski’s You Get So Alone at Times that it Just Makes Sense
“some men never die
and some men never live
but we're all alive tonight.”
If you hate poetry and can not understand the gibberish of poets, you are going to love Bukowski’s. Written in short, coarse and crisp words, You Get So Alone at Times that it Just Makes Sense is an excellent collection of poems from the laureate of lowlife, Charles Bukowski. These poems straightforwardly depict Bukowski’s everydayness of alcohol-induced stupor, cigarettes, prostitutes, cats, and loneliness. So raw, rough and real, the pulp poetry of Bukowski is going to be the best hors d’oeuvre for your drunken summer nights. Cheers!