This post was inspired by The Broke and the Bookish.
Beach days are for relaxing and taking it easy. So a beach read should match that mood and add to the easiness of the day. Here’s what I think a beach read should be:
- LIGHT - A beach read should be something that’s easy to read and something that won’t stress you out or make you too contemplative. Reading something dense with heavy subject material will be more of a mental workout than a relaxing break from your normal life.
- SHORT - A 700 page fantasy book might be really fun, but it probably isn’t the best for a beach read. First of all, bigger books are more difficult to lug around, while a small paperback can fit in your purse or beach bag without any trouble. Also, finishing a relatively short book will give you a sense of accomplishment while you’re sitting around and relaxing. If you usually take weeks to finish one book, reading one in an afternoon will be refreshing and fun.
- EASY TO PUT DOWN - You don’t want a book that you can’t tear yourself away from. It’s better to have something that you can stop in the middle of the drama and spend your time with loved ones or go adventuring or take a moment to build a sandcastle. Devouring a book that’s got you hooked is incredibly fun, but difficult if you have other plans for your beach day.
- SOMETHING YOU OWN - While no one likes their books getting worn, wet, and mangled, it’s better that it happens to a book you own (and don’t care too much about) rather than a library book or one you’ve borrowed from a friend. If you’re going to be reading next to water and in the elements, you should either protect the book with your life or make sure it’s one you can get dirty and wet without having to explain yourself to anyone.
Here are a few books that fit my first three criteria that you can easily buy through Amazon or your local book stores:
- The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz - Isabel Spellman has grown up in a family of private investigators, where the line between being a member of the Spellman family and being an employee in the family business is very blurred. Izzy’s attempts to navigate the world as a functioning adult while still participating in her family’s affairs leads to all sorts of shenanigans.
- The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan - When introverted Nina loses her job at her local library, she decides to start a bookmobile and that’s where her adventures begin.
- Funny Girl by Nick Hornby - Sophie Straw’s dreams of being a famous actress are coming true thanks to a team of comedy writers and a BBC sitcom. The journey to fame and the aftermath are full of delight and new experiences for Sophie.
- Much Ado About Grubstake by Jean Ferris - This middle grade/YA book tells the story of Arley, who spends her days running her boarding house and anxiously awaiting her new Penny Dreadfuls. When she gets caught in the middle of a plot to buy her precious town of Grubstake, Arley’s forced to become a heroine in her beloved Penny Dreadfuls in order to save her town and the people she loves.
- The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes - Fred is a vampire who, after his untimely death, continues to do the only thing he knows - account for people’s money - until he reconnects with an old friend and finds himself thrown into the paranormal world and all its drama.
- Armada by Ernest Cline - Zack has always wished he could live in his beloved video games - until Earth is suddenly under attack and Zack must utilize the gaming skills he’s spent years developing.
What are your favorite beach reads? Do you have a different criteria for what makes a good beach read? What are you taking on your next vacation?