Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'd Recommend as Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Who doesn't love a list? And my favorite list meme is Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's list is the top ten books I'd recommend as beach reads. For me a beach read is a book big enough to get lost in. Classics are fine, but lighter fare is sometimes just the thing for the beach. A beach read needs to be something of a page-turner, but nothing tragic, and no devastating memoirs, please. Here are ten books or authors I'd recommend for the beach (and I live on an island, so I should know!).

1. I read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters last summer (not at the beach, but mostly out on my balcony). This novel set in Victorian England has so many twists and turns, so much action and suspense, and such an engaging heroine, that you won't want to put it down.
2. Anthony Trollope might not be the first name to pop into your mind when you think of beach reads. But if you like the Victorian period, and if you like novels with a panoramic view, Trollope is engaging, entertaining, and funny. For the beach I would recommend The Eustace Diamonds, followed by Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux. By the time you finish all three, it might be Thanksgiving, but you'll have hardly noticed the passage of time.
3. If you are looking for a more traditional beach read, and you like "women's fiction," then I have another Trollope for you. Joanna Trollope is some kind of distant descendant of Anthony, and she writes dependably engrossing novels about village life in England (and somtimes London). Two of my favorites are The Rector's Wife and Other People's Children.
4. Katie Fforde also writes from England, and her witty romance Wild Designs cheered me up in the depths of divorce. Fforde writes about smart, likeable women, and her writing is deft, light, yet satisfying.
5. Passion: A Novel of the Romatic Poets, by Jude Morgan, is  a historical novel about four women who were romantically involved with Byron, Shelley and Keats. You won't want this book to end.
6. Another classic that I think could withstand the sand and the salt spray of the ocean: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
7. If mytery is your genre, then I recommend anything by Dennis Lehane. Not only does he know how to spin a tale, but the writing is superb.
8. I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel to Justin Cronin's The Passage. If you haven't read this one, you should.
9. John Irving's books have that gravitational pull: I would pick A Prayer for Owen Meany or A Widow for One Year.
10. A Seahorse Year by Stacey D'Erasmo. This is a beautifully crafted novel that pulls you in; believable characters make it sing.

What books would you recommend as beach reads? To participate, or to find out what other bloggers said, check out this week's Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.


April (BooksandWine) said...

I love that you include Justin Cronin and John Irving. I remember one summer I had during college, I spent it reading what the library had of Irving's backlist. That was a summer well spent, I'd say.

Fantastic list!

My Top Ten Tuesday

Judith said...

Yeah, The Passage! That's long enough to work up a decent tan on the beach! I also love Katie Ffore's books.

My review from today is also a great beawch read - It's The Cottage at Glass Beach by Heather Barbieri.

bermudaonion said...

Dennis Lehane at the beach would be great! Oh, and one of his books would be too. ;)

bibliophiliac said...

@April-I love reading several books by one author, and Irving is one of my favorites!
@Judith-I read The Passage in about two days....I'll check out your review of The Cottage at Glass Beach...
@bermudaonion-Hahaha...Yes, Dennis Lehane at the beach would be fun. I think we'll need a lot of sun screen, though!

stujallen said...

Oh cold mountain a few years ago was a great book to read on hoilday ,all the best stu

Angela said...

Jane Eyre is a terrific choice.

Ryan said...

How about The Beach by Alex Garland. I know it's cliche, but damn, if it isn't good.

bibliophiliac said...

@stu-I remember loving that book when it first came out....
@Angela-Jane Eyre was always one of my favorite books...
@Ryan-I read The Beach way back when it first came out, and you are right-good beach read!

Lisa said...

I used to read Irving voraciously but I think I burned out on him - haven't picked up any of this stuff in 20 years. A re-read at least might be in order!