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On Break: A non-RSL reading list

While RSL’s on a break, give yourself one with a book.

The New Term Begins For Students At Oxford University Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake’s form has been, um, well ... yeah, we’ve seen the matches, and we’ve seen the scorelines. We know they’ve been horrid. But while RSL has a weekend off with an international break on Saturday, I think it might be healthy to give yourself one, too.

I don’t mean by avoiding RSL Soapbox. Please don’t do that. No, instead, let’s take a break together — maybe we can’t all get time to go on vacation, but we certainly all can take a minute to talk about something that’s not Real Salt Lake-oriented. Not specifically. And don’t think that we’re going to stop talking about RSL and our run of form, because that’s not the case — but sometimes, it’s nice to take a step back every now and again.

I’m kicking things off this week. I’ve recently delved back into reading fiction after a real struggle to get interested after trudging my way through too many years of college (seven years for an undergraduate degree is too long — that’s just indecisiveness at that point.)

Given I’m very much into science fiction, you’ll probably find this list reflects that.

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

John Darnielle is almost certainly better known for his musical endeavors than anything he’s published in a long-form print format. His band, The Mountain Goats, is one of the more important groups in indie music, and he’s widely recognized as one of the best American songwriters making music today.

Life in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut.

Universal Harvester on Goodreads

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I enjoyed Sleeping Giants for more than just a sci-fi mystery, but that was enough to get me hooked near the beginning.

A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

Sleeping Giants on Goodreads

The Vision by Tom King (writer) and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (artist)

Yes, I know this is a comic book. But I really think you should give it a try. While plenty of Marvel’s offerings are the typically action-focused affairs you’d expect, The Vision is asking questions about what it is to be a person. It’s asking philosophical questions, but it’s relatable and features plenty of recognizable characters to reel you in. The only problem is that it ends.

The Vision wants to be human, and what's more human than family? So he heads back to the beginning, to the laboratory where Ultron created him and molded him into a weapon. The place where he first rebelled against his given destiny and imagined that he could be more -that he could be a man. There, he builds them. A wife, Virginia. Two teenage twins, Viv and Vin. They look like him. They have his powers. They share his grandest ambition (or is that obsession?) the unrelenting need to be ordinary.

The Vision, Vol. 1 on Goodreads

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I don’t really know what to say about this book, given it never really answers all the questions you pose as you read it. There’s a mystery here. This is a trilogy, and all the books are available, so I’m optimistic that some of those questions will be answered, even though I’ve only read the first in the series.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

Annihilation on Goodreads

Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse

This won’t be for everyone, but if you like understated humor and people behaving badly (but not too badly), anything by P.G. Wodehouse involving Jeeves will be an excellent read. Joy in the Morning is an excellent example of his writing.

Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic novels in the English language. Steeple Bumphleigh is a very picturesque place. But for Bertie Wooster, it is a place to be avoided, containing not only the appalling Aunt Agatha but also her husband, the terrifying Lord Worplesdon. So when a certain amount of familial arm-twisting is applied, Bertie heads for the sticks in fear and trepidation despite the support of the irreplaceable Jeeves.

Joy in the Morning on Goodreads