Beach Reads: From the Sordid to the Classic
May 17, 2012
By definition, beach reads are light, enjoyable books that won't harsh the mellow of a summer afternoon spent lounging in the sun.
Everyone has their own idea of what "light and enjoyable' might be, but here are few suggestions for summer reading that should feed your brain but not weigh you down.
Among the 8 Smart Beach Reads suggested for this summer by About.com is Body Surfing by Anita Shreve. This story includes a young widow, an upscale New England resort town, sun, surf, and two brothers. What more do you need?
Another on About.com's list is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. If you are looking for something that will make you laugh, cry and learn more about World War II-era England all at the same time, pick up this book. It reads like a classic movie. Just remember, "Stay Calm and Carry On."
Last year, Houston Press blogger Brittanie Shey offered a list of "classic" beach reads worth mentioning for those who like their books dark and sordid.
Top on the list is Suzanne Finstad’s Child Bride: The Untold Story of Pricilla Beaulieu Presley. If you’d like to know all the dirt on The King, his ninth-grade girlfriend/future wife and the Jungle Room pack this one with your sunscreen.
Shey also suggests the modern pulp classic Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann. Sex, drugs, hairspray, and polyester all play a big part in this story of 1960s decadence. Yea baby!
A few years ago London’s Guardian newspaper offered a more classic turn on the beach read theme.
For those who want a new perspective on a classic tale, the Guardian offers Jean Rhys's The Wide Sargasso Sea. Ever wonder what pushed the first Mrs. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre over the edge of sanity? This book imagines the life of the Jamaican Creole heiress and her transformation into one of literatures most infamous crazies. So, is Mr. Rochester really so misunderstood as little Jane thought?
Another classic on the list is Raymond Chandler's The Lady in the Lake. Before today’s slew of sleuths were even imagined, private eye Philip Marlowe was pounding the pavement. In this gumshoe classic, Marlowe leaves Los Angeles for the mountains to track down two missing wives. Just the facts, ma’am.
If you’ve never experienced the magical work of South American writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Guardian suggests the Chronicle of a Death Foretold. An illicit affair between a young man and the fiancé of another, a wedding, a murder and town torn apart are all told between the covers of this haunting novella.
See you at the beach!