This past week, I took my Birthright trip to Israel. If you’re a Jewish young adult between 18 and 24, I would certainly recommend it. It was absolutely life changing. Therefore, we’re going to use the theme of my trip to talk about getaway books.
Firstly, I read Good Omens on the plane. Neil Gaiman is always a good bet for a plane read. One of my favorite authors, he’s all hit and no miss. Even though this book came out in 1990, before I was born, it ties in well to religion: it’s a prophecy of the world’s end. What a great setup for a religiously focused trip!
Our first stop after arriving at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv was Ashkelon, a beach town. Therefore, Carl Hiaasen, Florida native, comes to mind. His newest book, Razor Girl, is the perfect Dead Sea read. On the way to the beach, the main character, Merry Mansfield, participates in an accident that is anything but ordinary. The crash scam spins wildly out of control with some of Hiaasen’s wildest characters yet.
A trip to Jerusalem is incomplete without seeing Hasidic Jews and visiting Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum. For the Hasidics, I nominate Chrissa Chappell’s Snowbirds, a book I’ve mentioned before. Also set in a beachside town, Snowbirds addresses traditional religion in the form of the Amish. A young woman decides whether or not to commit to her old fashioned lifestyle, just like the Hasidic Jews that live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Also, after meeting the author at a librarian’s conference, I swear she might have left an Amish community herself.
Yad Vashem deserves two books: Salt to the Sea, last year’s ridiculously popular WWII book, and The Librarian of Auschwitz. Salt to the Sea is just Salt to the Sea, so we don’t need to go back into the heart wrenching tale of a nurse trying to get to the Dunkirk evacuation. I like this one because it talks about the Slavic and Polish genocide unlike any other book.
I’ve also chosen The Librarian of Auschwitz for Yad Vashem, because it is the book that gives the holocaust hope. The main character not only brings life and joy into hell, but eventually makes Aliyah (moves to Israel permanently) and makes a life for herself. Yad Vashem focuses on the humanity of the holocaust. Our tour was led by a member of the Israeli Defense Force, a 21 year old man named Guy that puts his life on the line for his country daily. He pointed out that the museum begins and ends with a recording of kids singing Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem, because the Jewish story begins and ends with hope (even if we don’t always agree with the IDF’s actions).
The next trip you take, download a few ebooks and get to reading! International plane flights are the perfect time to catch up on all of those impulse book purchases.