Despite the important and very serious causes for celebration that inspire them, three-day weekends are often mini-benders of debauchery or, at least, fun. There's one more night to go out, one more midday to brunch, one more afternoon to bless with a nap. While you might look forward to a three-day weekend to accomplish more, the truth too often is that you realize just how hard it is to be during unstructured time. Fortunately, there's something that can help bring order and a sense of satisfaction to your next three-day weekend: reading a novel.
To finish a novel in a weekend, you can't be afraid to read at a lightning clip. In "How Not to Re-Read Novels: The Critical Value of First Reading," Dr. Michaela Bronstein makes the case for reading the difficult books quickly:
"Style — local features of language and syntax — is not only what we pause over; it can also be the engine to make us read forward breathlessly — to reach the end of a Faulknerian period as much as to fulfill the promise of a parallelism in Dickens. Syntax is as much a strategy for manipulating readers’ curiosity as a serial installment’s suspenseful chapter ending."
Want to feel like you've really done something valuable over your next three-day weekend? Pick up one of these seven novels.
1. 'The Interpreter' by Suki Kim
After her parents are murdered, Suzy Park, a Korean-American interpreter, is forced to delve into the shady underbelly of the forces that shaped her life. This debut by Suki Kim is packed with intrigue and cultural commentary.
2. 'Factotum' by Charles Bukowski
"My ambition is handicapped by laziness," writes Bukowski in this boozy story of Henry Chinaski, whose bar-brawling and general insouciance spurs on this 201-page roughed-up gem.
3. 'Pull Me Under' by Kelly Luce
Bullies, Japanese kid culture, and famous parents: what doesn't this incredible debut have? A literary thriller that will cause you to contemplate the demons you buried in your childhood while leaving you shaking in the best way.
4. 'The Secret History' by Donna Tartt
If you consider Friday part of the weekend, start this one Friday night. It's 559 pages, the story of an alluring professor at dirty-laundry-rich New England college and the students who are driven to the extremes of life under his influence.
5. 'The Edible Woman' by Margaret Atwood
If you're an Atwood fan, you have to read her first novel, which is funny and, oddly, a little similar to last year's smash hit, The Vegetarian.
6. 'White is for Witching' by Helen Oyeyemi
This is a haunted house novel, as told by British sensation Helen Oyeyemi, whose seven books are all great three-day weekend choices. Fairy tales and Gothic tropes abound.
7. 'Maps for Lost Lovers' by Nadeem Aslam
A gripping story of Pakistani immigrants in England, Aslam's debut novel, which took more than ten years to write, is powerful in a way you won't soon forget. "There are times in this life when a person must do or say things he doesn't want to," he writes. "Human beings and chains, it is the oldest acquaintanceship in the world.”