Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for the Beach


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's task is to list ten great beach reads. But first, we must define what makes a good beach read - and that definitely varies from reader to reader. It could be romance (the trashier the better), the hottest best-seller, fantasy, or possibly a good thriller. My husband's ideal beach read is non-fiction... on a non-work-related topic, of course.

For me, beach reading is all about plot. When I'm on the beach, I want a really good story... nothing too sappy, formulaic, violent, or graphic. However, there are certain settings which make character-driven novels suitable for beach reading. (like #3 below) Good writing is also a must, but I'm more forgiving when it comes to vacation/beach reading.

Given all of that, you've probably guessed that my beach reads of choice are usually literary/contemporary fiction. Here are ten books I've read over the last few years that would make ideal beach reading.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler




Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan


Fall of Giants by Ken Follett


The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman


You Were Here by Stewart O'Nan


The Help by Kathryn Stockett




Fingersmith by Sarah Waters


Into the Woods by Tana French


This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper


I just realized that's eleven... so embarrassing! Since I can't decide which one to scratch, let's consider This is Where I Leave You  a bonus. It's the funniest book I've read in years!

What do you like to read on the beach? Visit The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten Tuesday posts.

41 comments:

  1. Interesting list. Some of those books might use too much brain power, which I like to keep on low at the beach :)

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    1. Loni - I can certainly understand that ;-)

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  2. I probably wouldn't agree with Wish You Were Here...that one was way too slow for me. But a loud YES on Fingersmith, Calling Me Home, In the Woods, The Help, and This is Where I Leave You. I really enjoyed the Wally Lamb but it was SO LONG and had a million parts to it.

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    1. Sandy - I read Wish You Were Here over a rainy Labor Day weekend last year (or maybe the year before?) and it was a perfect summer ending for me... the setting definitely helped, too. Almost local ;-)

      Wally Lamb's book was really long. Can't wait for his new one!!

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  3. Interesting list, haven't heard of many of those books, but I have heard The Help is really good. Might have to put it on my TBR list.

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    1. amshuman - The Help was excellent! After I finished, my daughter, mother, and sister read it, too.

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  4. Good list. My "beach reads" are a little lighter than yours, although I haven't actually made my list yet.

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    1. Carol - I usually save the really light stuff for plane/train trips, and like a little more substance one the beach.

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  5. I really liked Maine. I'm reading the Engagements (her new book) now and am really enjoying it. Jonathan Troppers is awesome and funny. I own the Three Women, but haven't read it yet. Great list!
    Natflix&Books' TTT

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    1. Natalie - Glad to hear you are enjoying her new book... I hope to read it soon, too. I also have Jonathan Tropper's latest book around here somewhere.

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  6. I really enjoyed The Help and In The Woods and agree they would both make good beach reads. I'm torn on This Is Where I Leave You, though. I liked parts very much...and parts of it not so much - maybe just too much disfunction loaded up into a couple hundred pages. I gave it a "meh."

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    1. Grad - I've heard other people say the same thing about This is Where I Leave You. That was A LOT of dysfunction for one family, but I must have been in just the right mood at the time. I was reminded of the old saying that used to be popular on coffee mugs, etc, "We put the FUN in dysfunctional".

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  7. I love your list! Maine and Three Weissmanns of Westport made it onto my list too.

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    1. Booksnyc - I loved both of them, and really need to check out other books by those authors.

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  8. I've got Lost Wife (and, oddly, Lost Husband!) on my wishlist for this summer's reading. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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    1. Deb Nance - The Lost Wife was wonderful, and I just read a review of Lost Husband today. That's on my summer wish list now, too!

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  9. Maine was a perfect beach read. I love anything but Wally Lamb as well and The Help--awesome.

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    1. Diane - Wally Lamb is a favorite. Can't wait for his new novel!

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    2. I still need to try Wally Lamb...

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  10. Fall of Giants? You're going to be at the beach quite a while!

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    1. Lisa - LOL! I actually read Fall of Giants on the beach in Florida last winter... it's the first time we've EVER taken 2 weeks off. Never would have finished it otherwise ;-)

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  11. Tabs French and Sarah Waters, such great suggestions!

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    1. Melissa - I hope to read the second Tana French book, The Likeness, this summer.

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  12. Great list. For me it's a reminder that I still have Wish You Were Here to read. Hopefully, this Summer it will happen.

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    1. Margot - I love the way O'Nan makes the reader understand his characters. I read this book over a rainy Labor Day weekend and remember it being the perfect way to end my summer.

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  13. I have too many distractions at the beach plus the Celtic skin doesn't react well to salt and sand so you're more likely t o find me pool side. I read Calling Me Home recently and agree it would be an excellent summer read. Another recent one which would be ideal is Indiscretion by Charles Dubow, a modern Gatsbyesque story. I have Maine on my kindle plus many others stored up for our 9 days in the sun....only 12 days to go!

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    1. Lovelt Treez - Oh, I can relate to that - with my fair skin and freckles, I'm always in the shade of a beach umbrella! Off to look up Indiscretion, I'm intrigued. Enjoy your trip :-)

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  14. NOTHING wrong with bonus picks! I have Fingersmith, Calling Me Home, and The Help all on my Nook. I'm looking forward to reading them! Hopefully this summer. :)

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    1. Andi - You've got some great reading ahead of you!

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  15. Oh! I love bonus picks! You're so right about The Help. It would make a great summer read. I have Fingersmith so maybe I can squeeze it in this summer. I leave near the beach but I rarely go. :-) This summer I think I'm going to curl up with a ton of non-fiction and some re-reads along the way.

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    1. Vasilly - Fingersmith is such a page-turner... you'll fly through that one! Hope you'll post a list of your nonfiction reading list.

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  16. I'll keep this list handy if I ever need to find a beach read. Thanks for posting these recommendations. But then again, I find that I seldom separate my reading according to seasons though. ;)

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    1. Arti - It's funny how I associate certain types of books with seasons... wouldn't dream of reading the Russians in the summer;-)

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  17. If you haven't already read Beautiful Ruins, I think it has everything you might like! I loved it. Just finished it yesterday on audio which was excellent. Which I suppose doesn't make it a great beach read since I do rec the audio over the print but print has to be good, too.

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    1. Care - Beautiful Ruins is so popular, not sure why I seem to be avoiding it. I could listen to the audio while walking on the beach... how's that?

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  18. Loving your list! I've read a few and have many of them!!!

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    1. Staci - Now all we need is a little beach weather to go with our books... I'm getting sick of all this rain.

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  19. I own several of these but have only read one (In the Woods). Makes me want to hit the beach and read (and hire a nanny so I can do this for a whole week :))

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  20. Stacybuckeye - When my girls were Gage's age, there certainly wasn't much reading or listening going on. A nanny would have been the answer to my prayers... at least for a week ;-)

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  21. Like your list. Need to look up Fingersmith. Sounds like you have some wonderful reading hours ahead.

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    1. Vikk Simmons - Fingersmith with quite a page-turner... perfect for beach reading. Thanks for visiting today!

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