This Week's Topic is: 3 perfect beach reads
1. Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
I didn’t expect to choose a book for this theme with the word ‘summer’ in the title. But as I went through my Goodreads 5-star list, this title stood out. And it made me remember all the things I love about it: the setting (an American city during WWII), the characters (baseball player, zany/needy/hilarious kid), and the almost palpable sense of summer heat and memories that permeate the writing. I felt the bustle of the city, the oppressive heat, the thrill of baseball, the relief of a fire hydrant sprinkler, and the tension, humor and love of family all at once. It’s a beautifully honest story.
2. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
I will put down anything that gets too ‘involved’ when I’m at the beach. I want an interesting story, yes. I want emotional connection. I just don’t want to feel guilty when I’ve forgotten the name of another fantasy country or custom or type of creature. I’m there for the sun and the water, after all! So a dystopian children’s book, with a good dash of mystery and adventure, fills the bill nicely. No confusing post-modern meta-narrative, but also no stinting on the entertainment. Ember is suitable for all ages, with enough slick edges and dark corners to keep any audience hooked.
3. Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks
It’s a pretty well established fact that Nicholas Sparks has a formula. His stories are bittersweet (or sappy, if you’re feeling cynical) summer beach fare. But what I found when I read this memoir is that this formula correlates to his real life. Sparks can write convincingly about love, death and tragedy because he has been steeped in it. Three Weeks with My Brother is not only a memoir and a travel diary, it is the story of a childhood and of grieving and hardship. Normally this type of book would be too much for me to handle. But there’s something about bright sunshine that makes the emotional wringer a bit easier to bear. And I have a beautiful memory of camping over spring break in Myrtle Beach with this book to prove it.
What are your perfect summer beach reads?