So, I guess I'll just ease myself back in by recommending the book I read on my trip: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Now, Ms. Stockett does not need a shout out from me. This book is #4 on Amazon. Yes, you read that correctly. Not 400 or 40. F-O-U-R! But this book is so good, it would be a shame to miss it. So, I am mentioning it for your sake, not hers :)
For a synopsis and review, check At Home with Books.
Alyce sums it up very well here:
What impressed me the most about this book was that even though it was about a serious topic - the civil rights movement in Mississippi - it never overwhelms the reader with depressing imagery. The story is well-balanced between infuriating and heartbreaking injustices, and the sacrifices and acts of selfless kindness of the main characters.
Even though there is some very disturbing content in this story, Stockett manages to keep the focus on the characters' triumphs and leaves the reader feeling inspired, rather than depressed.
It also wasn't lost on me that I was reading this civil rights story poolside at the Ritz Carlton hotel while people with dark skin were serving me cold drinks and offering to move the heavy umbrellas so I'd be in the shade. Ah, the irony.