There is nothing better than a country fair in the fall, amiright? The Ferris Wheels are twirling bright against the night sky, the smell of cotton candy is in the air, and the oxen are already pulling their weight in concrete blocks. Fairs are currently happening all across the country right now, with the largest one on the eastern seaboard — The Big E — taking place from now until October 2. So if you’re hankering for some fried dough or a sausage dog, now is the time to get yourself to a country fair.
The only downside is all that traffic (and maybe the spins from too many rides on the tilt-a-whirl). With hundreds and sometimes thousands of people descending on these yearly events, you can find yourself stuck in traffic jams for hours. It’s a necessary evil with a huge payoff, but it can still be super frustrating.
For all you poor souls who are trapped in fair jams, why not skim through a great book while you wait? Let’s face it, the traffic isn’t going anywhere, and as you inch your way past row after row (that candy apple sitting uneasily in your stomach), you might as well be distracted from the boredom (but not from driving, because when actually moving, you should pay attention!).
Here are six reads that we guarantee will hold your attention as you battle your way through all that fair traffic:
Tales of the Peculiar, Ransom Riggs (Dutton Books for Young Readers, September 3, 2016)
If anyone understands the appeal of an old-fashioned fair, it’s Riggs, who tapped into our cultural obsession with creepy Victorian images to create his Miss Peregrine’s series. With the first book turned into a major motion picture that’s out on September 30, Riggs has returned with Tales of the Peculiar, a collection of fantasies and myths that exist within the Peregrine universe. Not only are these fictional fables creepy and intriguing – filled with tales of cannibals and eerie princesses – they’re also short enough to read between brief bursts of moving traffic.
The Boyfriend Bet, Chris Cannon (Entangled: Crush, August 22, 2016)
For the book equivalent of cotton candy (sweet, airy and delicious!), pick up Cannon’s cute young adult romance. Despite the kisses they’ve shared, Zoe Cain is suspicious of popular and handsome Grant Evertide’s intentions. Especially when her brother tells her that Grant only wants Zoe as his “Ringer” — the unpopular girl he’s trying to hook up with and then dump. It will take a lot for Zoe to trust the ladies man, even as she’s falling head over heels for his charm. This is a quick, fun read that will definitely take up a little traffic time without distracting you from the road too much.
Orphans of the Carnival, Carol Birch (Doubleday, November 8, 2016)
Fairs have come a long way since the freak shows of old, but they’re the main focus of Birch’s latest novel. Based on the real life of sideshow actress Julia Pastrana, this story dives into what it truly means to be born with a genetic disorder that society labels ‘freakish.’ Though an accomplished dancer, singer, musician and linguist, Julia is reduced only to her body and the thick black hair that covers her face. Unable to trust her connections with people and her uneasy fame, Julia struggles to find her place in the world. The story examines Rosie as well, a girl in the 1980s who also can’t find acceptance in a modern society that should be enlightened enough to know better. This book is dark and sometimes a difficult read, but it does shed a lot of light on our historical fair culture.
The Protector, Jodi Ellen Malpas (Forever, September 6, 2016)
Sexy and engrossing, this is one of those books you won’t want to put down – traffic be damned. The Protector tells the story of former sniper Jack Logan and ex-spoiled brat Camille Logan. When Camille’s life is in danger thanks to her father’s business, the tortured Jack takes on the role of her bodyguard. He quickly realizes that there’s more to Camille than the world knows. Both are trying to run from their past and looking for the thing that will save them – which just might end up being each other.
Spare and Found Parts, Sarah Maria Griffin (Greenwillow Books, October 4, 2016)
Creepy, cool and dark, Griffin’s young adult sci-fi novel imagines a future ravaged by epidemic. In the aftermath, Nell Crane’s father creates biomechanical body parts that keep the survivors functioning. No one is whole anymore, with mechanical arms, legs, eyes, etc. But only Nell has a mechanical heart that ticks away, alienating her from society. So when she finds a mannequin’s hand on the beach, Nell decides to build herself a companion from scratch. Doing so highlights the fears, secrets, and dark truths that have kept their society going. This book will certainly distract you during your car ride home – just be sure you don’t rear-end the car in front of you because you can’t put Spare and Found Parts down.
Now That It’s You, Tawna Fenske (Montlake Romance, September 6, 2016)
For a fun, distracting read, try this adorable novel about a chef named Meg Delaney who left her cheating fiancé, Matt, at the altar. Two years later, his brother, Kyle Midland is back on the scene. He’s always had a thing for Meg, and now that Matt has screwed it up, he’s determined to make the chef his. But with lawsuits, ex-fiancés and family getting in the way, the path to true love might be a little too complicated for these two. With a sweet romance and lots of food references, this is the perfect post-fair treat to dive into while the traffic builds up around you.