The beach book frenzy

beach houses

Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Our annual trip to the shore is planned for later this year. The preparation is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Almost. Well not all of it but some of it.

The best part is planning which books to take. Each year the beloved husband and I spend time carefully* selecting books.

*This means we are like kids in a candy store or more accurately like me in shoe stores and the beloved husband in guitar stores. We fondle and peruse and wish and finally, after a lot of hours, we buy. It’s a good thing they have cafes or we’d perish for sure!

We download to our Kindles. We spend an afternoon at Barnes and Nobles picking up magazines for easy reading and maybe a book or two. This is a great opportunity to thumb through Seventeen and Architectural Digest. No, I don’t buy either but they balance out the silliness in me.

We beg and borrow from friends and the lending shelves at my gym.

There are a few stores, like Ollie’s, that carry paperbacks for $2 or $3. I always do well there since I am not looking the latest thrillers.

My summer reading has some specific requirements.

Romance — A little bit of romance or some sexual tension is good. Not too much though. I’m not interested in a graphic play-by-play. I know how it’s done. I know how it feels. I just want to know it happened. Plunk, dunk, done deal!

No animal violence at all — It’s ok if a person is killed but absolutely no violence to animals. Kicking a dog will trash the book for me. No, I can’t explain why I think its ok for a person to die but not an animal. I never said I made sense.

Good writing — It’s doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer winning author but I like good writing. A year or two back I read “50 Shades of Gray.” Oy vay! Not only was it poorly written but I didn’t know what half the stuff was. I had to Google some of the “toys.” I considered using the beloved husband’s computer just in case I was ever investigated. I didn’t want any of that stuff in my “recently viewed” info just in case there was an exposé. (Of course this is written by a blogger about a multi-million dollar “author” who sold a hell of a lot of books with bad writing.)

Babe! A good laugh is wonderful medicine. I take a “Janet Evanovich” novel just to giggle. Yep, it’s outrageous and there is a formula but it makes me laugh. There’s also just enough sexual tension to suit me – Joe Morelli or Ranger? What a dilemma! Reminds me of my youth or is it my youth fantasy?

Developed characters — I love stories with character depth. I read Mauve Binchy’s books. Her tales of Ireland and the people were interesting as were Amy Tan’s books. There are many others like that too.

I am hoping to read “Tiger Tail” by one of my favorite bloggers, Nicki Chen or “Just What I Always Wanted” by another favorite blogger Nancy Roman.

Right now I’m enjoying Nora Ephron’s “Heartburn.” Perhaps she has one I haven’t read for a dollar or two.

The one thing I don’t read on vacation is any sort of self-help book. The only help I need is to be assured there is enough chocolate, the margaritas are cold and I don’t run out of books.

Reading is a great way to spend a vacation. Oh yes, I’ll get down to the beach at some point, eat wonderful seafood and enjoy seeing friends but I look forward to quiet time with my books.

If anyone has suggestions that fits my parameters fire away!

30 thoughts on “The beach book frenzy

  1. Kate, I’m so excited to hear that you’re thinking of reading Tiger Tail Soup on your trip to the shore. Thank you for mentioning it.


  2. I am with you bout the animals and graphic sex. What a sad waste of words. As for suggestions…I just read Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy. Her husband had it published this year. It is a collection of stories about the people who live on Chestnut Street. And anything by Dorothea Benton Frank is a great read. I look forward to the recap of your time at the shore.


  3. “I know how it’s done.” You crack me up, Kate! I’m with you, I read a few pages of FSG after a coworker lent it to me. Stupid me, I hadn’t heard much about it at the time and I thought it was about a woman in menopause. 🙂 It was so horribly written. The fact that it was such a hit says a lot about our society.
    Have a great trip! My dream vacation is parked on the beach with a load of books. Enjoy!


    • That’s my dream vacation too. In addition there are no litter boxes to clean and no one needs food. Yay! After a few days I will miss it all but I intend to read my head off until then!


  4. Have you read What Alice Forgot? Or The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club? Both are charming with a skoosh of romance, an interesting plot line, no animal violence, and wonderful, often funny, characters. Not deep literature, but perfect beach reading.


  5. I envy your upcoming down time dedicated to losing yourself in books. At just a few months into retirement I’m still not comfortable reading during the day. I always feel that I “should” be doing something more productive. Stupid, I know. A vacation like you have planned is the perfect excuse to relax and read for hours. Enjoy!


  6. Yes! I agree with you on almost all of your criteria. Violence to animals or children is not something I want to read about for recreation. I don’t mind knowing that characters enjoyed steaming sex . . . but I don’t want to be invited into their bedroom to watch the play by play.

    Have a wonderful time in Stone Harbor. Such a wonderful beach community. If we made it as far as Cape May, we loved eating at the Lobster House.


    • We always did the Lobster House but a few years back it didn’t seem the same anymore. It’s always crowded with a long waiting line. We felt rushed and the food seemed to suffer a bit too. We now get takeout lobster at the fish market in Avalon. OMG! So good and you can eat it on the deck with your own wine or whatever.


  7. Kate, your taste in books is similar to mine. I have not read one for a while now due to my daughter’s getting ready for college. But I have to say I agree with you on the animal cruelty. I was reading (and enjoying if that’s the right word for that book) “A Fine Balance” and got to one of those parts and I threw it in the trash.


  8. I’m with you on plunk and dunk. And animal violence. I don’t want to know about it.

    You might consider some non-fiction by Mary Roach. She is hysterically funny and a lover of footnotes. I swear, the footnotes alone are worth the price of admission. *Gulp* might be a good one to start with.


  9. I love picking out books for a vacation. I try to pick a book set in whatever location I am visiting. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve read quite a bit this summer, but haven’t had any slam dunk favorites to recommend. My go to beach reads are David Sedaris, Dave Barry and Carl Hiassen. Have fun picking out your books and even more fun reading them at the shore.


  10. Here’s my book suggestion – loved this one. And it should fit all or almost all your parameters. The Unlikely Journey of Harold Fry.

    And I’m with you on violence to animals. Saw the first 5 minutes of House of Cards on tv, in which a dog (spoiler alert) is killed, and I was done.


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