My definition of a beach read is different than most peoples’. Summertime can be oppressively hot, and it’s difficult to hold on to deep, dark thoughts while you’re baking or taking short dips in the water. That’s why I like to save up the dark, disturbing and sad books on my reading list for the poolside or beach. I say, if you’re determined to read a book that will wring a metric ton of emotion out of you, you might as well be in the sunshine, in easy reach of a relaxing activity that should purge your dark thoughts. Keep that in mind as you check out this week’s top ten.
Top Ten Beach Reads
1. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry – This angsty, angry teenage post-apocalyptic novel features brothers and zombies. And definitely calls for sunshine.
2. Sunshine by Robin McKinley – Don’t let the title fool you – this is one dark vampire story (and the only one featuring bloodsuckers that I consistently recommend. i mean, MCKINLEY.).
3. Written in Red by Anne Bishop – A recent read, and a bit unlikely for the beach, as it’s set mid-winter in an alternate Chicago. The violence, emotion and world building-depth are very well-written.
4. Above by Leah Bobet – Combine an underground community, mental instability, and a killer on the loose, and that equals a tight plotline. Then add the final element of delightful storytelling.
5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – What better way to spend a sun-drenched day than with a story that eerily mirrors the legend of Jack the Ripper? Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything either.
6. Peter & Max by Bill Willingham – A brutal, dark take on fairy tale mythology. Perfectly acceptable beach material for guys/girls.
7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – Take the old gods of Europe and put them in middle America, and the results are disturbing, strange and wonderful. Gaiman’s writing is, as always, a wonder.
8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Young children compete in a battle school for the chance to graduate and fight the alien destruction of Earth. Gripping, classic YA sci-fi.
9. The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger – A boy and a ballplayer exchange letters over the course of WWII, and their friendship via correspondence is by turns funny and heartbreaking.
10. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy – Alien invasion. Survival. Dread, distrust and danger. Thank goodness for cloudless days and the pool, or I might not have gotten through this one.
What are your top beach reads?