As a ginger, I happen to be aware of one of life’s fundamental truths: sunburn seriously sucks. From hot discomfort to peeling like a molting snake in the rain forest, having sunburn is frightfully unpleasant. However, in addition to light exfoliation with a warm wash cloth and gentle soap, I can also recommend a book for every occasion to keep your mind off your itchy, fire-engine red skin! Take a look:
A Freezing Thriller:
Cold (A Joe Tiplady Thriller), John Sweeney (Thomas & Mercer, July 1, 2016)
You won’t even think about itching your peeling shoulders while sinking into this espionage thriller, which is cold in more ways than one. This hard-edged novel follows Joe, a special needs teacher with a dark past, as he tries to make sense of a violent, chaotic conspiracy within the Russian government. Both brutal and exciting, this book will make you think, “Yeah, I’m sunburnt, but it could be worse; I could be pursued by a retired Soviet general who thinks I murdered his daughter!”
A Desert Fantasy:
Dune, Frank Herbert (Ace, 1990)
The science fiction novel to end all science fiction novels is exactly what you need to forget your scarlet cheekbones. Set on the desert planet Arakis, also known as Dune, the story follows a young man, Paul, thrust into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse between warring families, only to discover that he may hold the key to ruling the universe. I know that sounds vague, but trust me, it’s better to come into this story with a clean slate. If it helps, this book is commonly referred to as “Game of Thrones in space,” even though it was written before George R.R. Martin’s hit series. The upside? Your overheated sunburn has nothing on a planet with no water.
A High-Tension Nonfiction Adventure:
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, Jon Krakauer (Anchor, 1999)
This first-hand account of a mountaineering expedition up Mt. Everest will literally chill you to the bone, which is helpful when your body feels like a boiled lobster. Based on true events, this memoir tells the story of a 1996 trip up the mountain that ended in disaster. While the action itself will take your breath away, the truly amazing thing about this book is Krakauer’s writing. It perfectly balances storytelling with a healthy dose of survivor’s guilt makes this retelling undeniably epic. As haunting as it is engrossing, this is a nonfiction book that you really can not miss.
A Literally Hot Throwback YA Novel:
Holes, Louis Sachar (Yearling, 2000)
What? Holes? You might be confused by this one, but hear me out: this YA novel definitely holds up years after a first reading (even if Shia LaBeouf hasn’t –- just kidding, he’s totally fine). If you want a light-hearted throwback read, you can’t do any better, especially considering that reading about sweaty Stanley Yelnats digging holes in the hot sun at Camp Green Lake will give you some perspective on your own burnt plight. Plus, rediscovering the mystery behind the holes themselves will be a fun jaunt back in time for anyone who really loved this novel growing up.
Some Welcomed Advice:
Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life, Mary Schmich (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008)
This might be adding insult to injury, but you wouldn’t be in this predicament if you had just taken Mary Schmich’s famous advice right from the start. This book, based on a column that was initially mis-attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, is chock-full of helpful hints. It reads like a commencement address, except that this time, instead of graduating from college, you’re graduating into your base tan by way of painful redness. Schmich doesn’t really go into this, but we also recommend that you invest in some aloe vera!