20 Thoughts on “Summer Beach Reading

  1. Wendy on July 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm said:

    I already recommended that Laura read Courtney Milan’s new book, “The Suffragette Scandal.” Clever and interesting and thought-provoking and a profoundly *feminist* romance novel.

    Beyond that, I’m not feeling inspired by beach reads. I always recommend Evanovich. The 21st Stephanie Plum was decent. I have started reading Beatriz Williams’ The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, but have not finished any of the 3 (yet).

    If you tend not to like my taste, you should try the well-reviewed Sarah Morgan’s books. I read her first and was decidedly meh about it, but lots of other people loved it and say the same about her newest one (Suddenly Last Summer).

    Loretta Chase’s Vixen in Velvet has been getting raves. Her book Lord of Scoundrels is considered a classic, but I haven’t quite warmed to her as much.

    Mary Balogh is always worth a try. AAR gave her last book, The Escape, a B.

    That’s all I got.

    • The Secret History is very good, although it has seemed dangerous to me — ever since I read the book as an ARC in, uh, well, a long time ago — for an author to end the prologue to her first novel with “This is the only story I shall ever tell.”

  2. I recommend Cottage Building in Cob, Pisé, Chalk and Clay a Renaissance (2nd edition). It’s free in Kindle. It’s written by one of those earnest, reformer, monomaniac types that are I assume what kept the British Empire from turning entirely evil. The cob parts are the best.

  3. willgoh2 on July 19, 2014 at 1:22 am said:

    The outlander series by diana galbadon.

  4. cranberry on July 19, 2014 at 11:16 am said:

    Trashy? Don’t know. Fun:

    Loyalty, by Ingrid Thoth.

    Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson. (any of his works). An early work, The Big U.

  5. Boys in the boat: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Boys_in_the_Boat.html?id=iVJq-4l0zegC

    Somewhere between MH’s suggestion, I think, and Vixen in Velvet, I guess (though I haven’t read either of those). The book chronicles the 1936 US olympic crew team’s win in Hitler’s Olympics and the story that leads to it. It’s long winded, with the underlying presumption that rowing is the greatest of all sports, and might not be as interesting to you because of a lack of special interest in the Pacific Northwest depression era history.

    But, it’s readable, long, and can be read in segments. I am reading the book with my 10yo (we trade off reading out loud). So, I’m reading it very slowly.

    My “beach” reading tends to fantasy/save the world novels, and in that genre, I can reccomend Tigana & the Fionaver tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, the Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, The Ryria series by Michael Sullivan, and Mistborn and Stormlight series by Brandon Sanderson. If you haven’t happened to read them, I also like the Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper and Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and the Mary Stewart Arthur series.

  6. Louisa on July 19, 2014 at 2:49 pm said:

    Loved boys in the boat! Just got the latest volume in the Discovery of Witches trilogy. Haven’t started it yet.

  7. Vickie on July 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm said:

    Gone Girl, in case you still haven’t read it. For something more substantive Americanah which I loved and my book group liked. If you haven’t read The Emperor’s Children, I loved her skewering the young entitled in NYC.

  8. I’ve been reading up all of Rainbow Rowell’s books. Two are YA but two are not YA novels. Eleanor and Park was a tearjerker in the best ways. I’ve got Landline now and am half way through.

  9. Two you might have read but if you haven’t, you shouldn’t miss: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

    Three that are light/fun beach reads:
    The Husband’s Secret, Eleanor and Park, and Where’d You Go Bernadette. (I liked the first two, loved the last one)

    Two that are pretty damn thin but have gotten some press: The Vacationers by Emma Straub – on a lot of beach-read lists but I know not why. Dull dull dull. And Perfectly Miserable by Sarah Payne Stuart, which i really enjoyed despite the thinness but you might need to live in or around Concord MA.

    I’ll third The Boys in the Boat. Loved it.

    Do you have a Kindle? If so – download Buzz Books 2014: Fall/Winter: Exclusive Excerpts, so you can pre-order books you want to read in the next year. I’m counting the days until the new Tana French is released (8/28) and there’s an excerpt.

  10. J Liedl on July 20, 2014 at 3:06 pm said:

    Wendy is right on with Courtney Milan. Her entire “Brothers Sinister” series is available from your favourite ebook retailer and she’s also got a bunch of her back catalogue inexpensively available (99c each!) until the 25th. (Historical romances, Victorian more than Regency.) I follow a whole bunch of romance authors on Twitter or FB who rarely disappoint. Ashlyn Macnamara, Erin Knightley, Tessa Dare, Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Eloisa James, etc., etc.

    I also second the recommendation of Rainbow Rowell. As well as her YA “Eleanor and Park”, check out “Fangirl” (another YA) or her adult novels, “Attachments” and “Landline” (the latest just came out this last week).

    Have you read Shannon Hale’s “Austenland” and her even more amazing sequel “Midnight in Austenland”? I adore these two genre-busting books.

    Like Louisa, I’m a big fan of Deb Harkness’s All Souls trilogy. The third and final in the series, “The Book of Life” also just came out last Tuesday. I devoured it in a day! Of course, I’ve read a bunch of her academic histories since she’s a historian of early modern science and weaves that information ably into her paranormal narratives.

    I hoover up pretty much any cozy mysteries that I find at my library so I’m not following particular authors. I just borrow a whackload in print or via Overdrive and read whatever’s there. According to my Goodreads ratings, I’ve especially liked the mysteries of Kathleen Ernst, Julie Hyzy and Barbara Cleverly.

  11. I declared this my “summer of westerns”, since I sought out True Grit after watching the latest Coen Brothers movie version. Next western up is Lonesome Dove.

  12. Helen on July 21, 2014 at 9:17 pm said:

    Not really trashy, but anything by Carl Hiassen is a fabulous read. On holiday I love anything that has you guffawing uncontrollably. Also, if you haven’t already read it, Stella Gibbons’ Cold Comfort Farm. (Those old reprinted classics are also very cheap here in Oz – presumably also in the US?)

    • Wendy on July 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm said:

      Big fan of Stormy Weather and Star Island by Hiassen. And I can get E to read Hiassen’s YA books (or are they middle grade?).

      • My DD read “Flush” and “Hoot” in 5th grade and loved them. She’s a somewhat precocious reader.

  13. Publishers offer me free books for my readers who win contests. Are we interested?

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