Monday, August 23

The Power of a Beach Read

I just finished a wonderful week's vacation in Ocean City, Maryland (when we moved here, we discovered it is practically a state law that all residents go there at least once a summer - not that we mind!). It was our 9th year in a row, and I have the schedule down pat. Knock off a magazine over breakfast on our deck overlooking the water, then on to the beach, where I finish 1-2 books a day, with a different book for the evening. I usually take 14 to get me through the week. Yup, I love it there. Still pining for the salty tinged air, my uninspired post today was supposed to be about favorite beach reads.

Yes, of course I burn through romances, but I also like to switch it up a little. This year I was privileged to sink into The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake. It is one of the most lyrically written, touching books I've read in months. Run, don't walk to pick up your copy. And thanks to a wonderful publisher's schedule, I've always been able to go to the beach w/a brand new Nora Roberts. This time I took The Search, hot off the presses. Now, I'm not an animal person, and when I heard her books was all about dogs, I was less than enthused. And yet, 488 pages later, I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment of it. That is the power of a great writer - to pull people into a story, despite their objections or reservations.

More importantly, I wasn't the only one. Nora Roberts was well represented on my narrow strip of sand. Her titles cropped up under several beach umbrellas. The gentleman in front of us worked through a Carol Higgins Clark and John Sandford. It is a wonderful testament to the enduring lure of books that when people vacation, even if they don't read the rest of the year, they take a book with them. With all the talk about the future of the industry, a simple trip to the beach proves that books - in one form or another - aren't going anywhere.

Even more surprising was discovery during a cruise I took in January. The Lost Symbol had just come out, and I was thrilled to be toting my copy from deck chair to deck chair. As I strolled the deck (between breakfast, midmorning snack, elevenses, lunch, and afternoon snack) I thought I'd overshot my chair, because I saw my book. Then I realized that not only was the hardcover version on literally more than 60% of the chairs I passed, but that some covers looked slightly different...due to being foreign language editions. By the time the week ended, I'd seen The Lost Symbol in sixteen languages! Despite our different nationalities, despite the language barriers and the difference between hard core scuba divers and people like me who think a catamaran sail is an adventurous excursion, right off the bat a simple book pulled us together with a single, immediate commonality. Talk about the power of a beach read!

What are your favorite genres/authors on vacation?


  1. Christi~
    I literally never go on vacation. But if I did, I'd take a stack of Intrigues. I have them backed up from last year still. I just cannot seem to find time to read them all.

  2. lol...sorry, i haven't been on vacation in 11 years. but IF i did, I'd take a little bit of everything. Romance, comedy, craft books, mystery, you name it. With over 30 books in my TBR pile, I wouldn't go wanting for one!
    and glad you liked Nora's the search. I thoroughly enjoyed it too!

  3. La Nora is definitely a favorite 'beach' read...Jayne Ann Krentz, too. Oh! And Suzanne Enoch, Louis L'Amour (I *still* re-re-read him!!).

  4. We don't do beach reads around here, it's either too windy, too cold, or too rainy. But, to stay in the spirit of things, I'd take a new YA book like Mockingbird that I just bought today. A new Sophie Kinsella---why can't she write faster, and what the heck, The Lost Symbol which I've had since pub day and haven't taken the time to get into.