Top Ten Tuesdays — Beach Reads!

12 Jun

The theme for Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesdays this week was great beach reads, so here we go!

I don’t consider myself the biggest fan of your typical beach reads seeing as how I generally dislike chick lit, pulpy mysteries or that dreaded new category of fiction — supernatural teen romance (How is this an actual genre name? HOW?). But, I do love to read on the beach, and I don’t always want to read the latest, greatest best American novel. In my beach reading, I tend to look for books that are witty, compulsively readable, and light without being overly fluffy. Here are ten of my faves, in no particular order.

 The Beach by Alex Garland








So, let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first, shall we? Yes. This book is titled The Beach, and the beach is a main setting. Sooo points for that. Really, though, this is a rollicking, suspenseful look at what happens when a backpacker utopia disintegrates into madness. I promise you won’t be able to put it down…and it may make you look at your fellow beach reveler with a bit more suspicion.
Any collection of Roald Dahl’s creepy short stories








Like most people, I fell in love with Dahl’s novels as a child. Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, etc etc etc were all so wonderfully weird and imaginative. I couldn’t get enough. As an adult, I found his short story collections to be just as fun, if a bit more morbid than his childrens’ works. Also, short stories are great for the beach, as you can fit one or two in between your dips in the ocean, or, if you’re me, naps.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins







We all know these by now, and you’ve probably read them already… but if you haven’t, you totally should! Dystopia + reality tv + archery + kick butt heroine = blockbuster YA fiction. And, unlike a lot of YA fiction out there, it won’t make you feel like your brain cells may be atrophying.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman







I’m stealing this description from the Goodreads page, because it boils this book down perfectly:

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris








Any short story collection by David Sedaris would be a perfect addition to a trip to the beach. It’s like taking along your witty, ridiculous, lewd best friend to regale you with stories of his ridiculous childhood. Apparently, the reviewers on Goodreads who don’t like him think he’s too mean and bitchy. But…isn’t that why you’re supposed to like him? That’s part of the charm!

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse








And yet another short story collection! Bertie Wooster is always getting into scrapes and befuddlements of the most early 20th century, British type. Good thing he has his unflappable butler Jeeves to get him out of his binds! Really, Wodehouse is pure, silly, VERY BRITISH entertainment. What ho!

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger








Romance! Time travel! A sexy librarian! (Well, I always imagined him as a sexy librarian, at least). I remember getting this book for Christmas 2003, and reading it through, with barely any breaks for Christmas snacks! That’s saying something!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling









There have been a spurt of female comedian humorous memoirs recently, and Kaling’s is one of the best. It’s a bit lighter than Tina Fey’s which would make it better beach material. She divides the book up into very short sections about such topics as what makes a great friend, ridiculous style tips, and gossip about the set of The Office, all of which lends itself to beach reading very well.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett







Like The Hunger Games, you’ve probably already read The Help. If not, here’s the perfect fairly light, but still serious, historical fiction choice for the beach. Yes, it’s about the horribly real, serious topic of the civil rights era in the American South, but it includes enough memorable characters and silly situations to make it easy summer reading.

It by Stephen King









Spooky clown! Reconnecting to your childhood hometown, friends and fears. DEATH! Ok. These aren’t the usual beach themes, but who wouldn’t want a little bit of horror while lying in the sun? Stephen King rules the horror genre for a reason, but I think his great characterization skills are often glossed over. His books stick with you a bit more than the average pulp horror book would.

Re-read any of your childhood favorites








How about getting back to your awkward puberty roots by re-reading Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? Or crying through Where the Red Fern Grows? Or getting a bit weirded out by A Wrinkle in Time? I would read any of these by the ocean, while remembering summers past!


5 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesdays — Beach Reads!”

  1. ameliaclaire92 June 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my all-time favorite books!! 🙂

  2. Vikk Simmons June 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    My Man Jeeves is a great summer read and I bet many would enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife. Great list and I love your accompanying descriptions.

  3. Laura June 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    I so agree with basically all of these! I love reading It in the summer, I think because it feels slightly less scary when the sun’s out (also, I guess, cause it’s set in the summer! Never really thought about that before…) and I can imagine that Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me would be an awesome beach read (I read it while I was ill, which is a similar, ‘I can’t handle anything big’ situation). AND you’ve just reminded me that I LOVE the creepy Roald Dahl stories, so thanks for that!

  4. Alexis June 13, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Oh, I LOVE ‘Is Everyone Else Hanging Out Without Me?’ Mandy Kaling is flat-out hilarious and her book is a perfect, perfect beach read. Great choice. I also really liked The Time Traveler’s Wife. Plus, your description of it makes me smile – Romance! Time travel! A sexy librarian!

    Very true. 🙂

  5. Angela @ AJ Arndt Books Blog June 13, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Great choices. I think The Help would be especially perfect beach reading.

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