The List is a brief, weekly accounting of our writers’ favorite things. This week, we recommend three creative takes on summer vacation.

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It’s August and it’s so hard to keep our minds on work. Here are three of our favorite books, movies, songs about summer vacations — whether fun or frightful.

Movie

‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’

Wouldn’t you like to spend your summer vacation in sunny Italy? The beaches, the piazzas and the cast (Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett) all look sun-drenched and exquisite in this elegant 1999 thriller about young Americans abroad — and in trouble.

Book

‘The Interestings’

Meg Wolitzer’s 2013 book tracks friendships formed at a Massachusetts summer camp over the course of nearly four decades. It’s a “sprawling, marvelously inventive novel,” writes Associated Press reviewer Ann Levin.

Music

‘Vacation’

The Go-Go’s bottled the essence of teen summer in this perfect, 3-minute pop song, back in 1982: “A week without you/thought I’d forget/Two weeks without you and/I still haven’t gotten over you yeeeeeet.”

Seattle Times staff