While family time, big-bird-feasting and long-weekend binge drinking has its plusses, some of us are in serious need of some low-key recharging; and that calls for a good book! We’ve suggested some reads that are easy and great, but will also make you feel a little bit wiser about the world that we live in…or someone’s opinion on it, anyway. Take to the easy chairs, couches, beds or cafés, and enjoy this long weekend by putting some word-juice into your brain.

For the Imagination: Haruki Murakami – After Dark. I suggest this one because it is the quickest read of all Haruki’s books, and if you haven’t tasted him yet it’s a good first-feel of his genuine characters and captivating whirl of real-world with the mystical-fantastic life; both a commentary on media-drone, contemporary society unhinged from emotion, and an accessible look into what it is to be human. It all takes place in one night, chapters by the hour, and follows a young girl through the streets of Tokyo doing just the same – reading, late night, in a Denny’s. Beware – the ‘dark’ part in the title After Dark isn’t just for show. This ain’t no fluffy pony. That said, you also wouldn’t find it on Oprah’s list, so rest assured there’s decent value in his exploration of down-there.

For the Diet: Jonathan Safran Foer – Eating Animals. Of late (as in a mere decade or so), there’s been a lot more talk about the ethics behind our food industry, diets and ideas of health, and in our generation, the meat industry has changed drastically from family farms to factory or industrial farming. Jonathan weaves his own life’s edibles into his fact-finding mission, in an effort to make sense of the whole vegetarian deal. If you think about food, or consider “you are what you eat” to be of value, then his book is a pretty-friendly, mostly unbiased perspective on the current state of farming and what it means to choose what you eat.

For the Ingenuity: Ian McEwan – Amsterdam. It’s about euthanasia; it’s about composing an orchestra; it’s about the orchestra of life and the opportunity to choose an earlier fate-line in the face of loosing face. By far the most impacting and substantially beautiful quick read, rooted in a slice of life so easy to love – the banter and bond between two older men – that just begs to praised. I’ll leave it at that, because Amsterdam is enough to kick the brainwaves into action and get haughty life-lust chugging even through the weekend rain.

–By Shelley Budd