Beach reads



It’s day 12 of our vacation, and I’ve plowed through several really good books. I love to read. Getting lost in someone else’s story has always intrigued me, but never so much as becoming a member of the illustrious Pink Ribbon Club. Stealing away from the drudgery of this disease with a good book has saved me innumerable times. Rather than falling into a well of despair from a lengthy hospital stay in the hell that is a post-mastectomy infection, I would flip open my Kindle and fall into a great read.

Perhaps my Love of reading is genetic: my sweet mama taught 8th grade English and was an avid reader. She and my dad always had at least one book going, and the bookcase in their bedroom that spanned one entire wall next to their bed would fill me with visions of its collapse one night, burying my slumbering parents in musty hardbacks, best sellers, and classics. Thankfully that never happened.

At home, I don’t read as much as I would like. It’s a cruel dichotomy:  I want to find out what happens next in the story, yet my innate nature has me bustling around getting things done instead.  Not so on the beach: the things that need to get done are sitting on the beach, soaking up the sun, listening to the surf, and reading. That’s a very good to-do list.

My summer reading began with Gold by Chris Cleave. Awesome read. It was especially nice leading up to the Olympics, as it’s the story of two British cyclists training for the London games. They’re friends and rivals in their sport and their lives. Cleave is a masterful writer who crafts characters who seem quite real.

After becoming hooked on Cleave’s, I moved on to his two other books, Incendiary and Little Bee.  Both are as good as Gold was.  The former tells the story of a woman whose husband and son are killed in a terrorist bombing of a London soccer stadium. The latter gained cult status yet I shied away from it because the subject matter seemed depressing: a young Nigerian refugee flees her home amidst violence stemming from turf wars over oil fields. A chance encounter with a British couple on holiday in her village provided a landing place as she fled. Chaos ensues, lives are changed, and a mesmerizing story gains its rightful place in literary history. My only complaint is that Cleave has no more books as yet for me to devour. Get cracking, Chris!

After the gravity of Little Bee’s saga, I sought something a bit lighter and went with the buzz surrounding The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Harold is walking some 500 miles, quite unexpectedly, to visit his former coworker, Queenie Hennessey, who is dying of cancer. Harold is convinced that his journey on foot will save her. Crazy? Perhaps. Intriguing? Definitely.

I absolutely devoured another buzz-filled book, The Light Between Oceans. This story of a remote lighthouse keeper off the wild coast of Australia and his infertile wife is absolutely captivating. The answer to their problems and prayers apparently appears one day when a rowboat washes ashore, containing a dead man and a howling infant. No ID, no witnesses, no problem. I won’t give away any more because you just need to read it yourself.

I have 7 more days of vacation and plan to keep on reading.

10 Comments on “Beach reads”

  1. Barb Fernald says:

    I loved Little Bee, and am happy to hear a good report about The Light Between Oceans. I’ve been looking at getting it on my Kindle.
    So, my obvious (to me) question is, Have you read The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson, yet?
    Glad you are having a great vacation!!

    • Barb, I got the lobster book for our friends at the beach and they LOVED it. They especially liked that I “know” one of the lobsterman featured. I’m going to read it after I’ve eaten my last lobster of the trip!

  2. The Light Between Oceans is now on the shortlist. Heading north to Clearlake for a weekend of sailing. Thanks for the reading list and taking the time in providing it to us.

  3. David Benbow says:

    You can never spend too much time reading. Our bookshelves at home are overflowing, but I can’t bear to part with any of them.

  4. Amy H. says:

    I wrote all these titles down. Thanks!

    Don’t Forget about Katharine Graham’s autobiography Personal History….very intriguing

  5. Eddie says:

    I’m only on my third vacation read and now have five more titles to add to my backlog of books to read. I’m not sure it’s a good thing but thanks anyway for introducing me to more characters I need to meet. Reading at the beach is paradise indeed. Now, where is that waiter with my lobster and cocktail??

  6. You’ve read all of these on vacation? You must speed read. Like you, when I’m home, there are too many things to do, so I rarely have time to read. I’ve shied away from Little Bee as well, but the Light Between Oceans does sound intriguing.

    Happy reading,

  7. Sounds like the ideal vacation. I’m a reader and never seem to have enough time. Read to your heart’s content and enjoy the time off. We love reading about your adventures. xx

  8. Ah sounds so absolutely perfect. I’m here in Hungary itching for a good book to read, and looking over this post is making my mouth water (weird, but true). Enjoy your reading and the holiday time. 🙂


  9. It seems your mom taught you well! My mom was an avid reader too. She was, in fact, the town librarian and our house always overflowed with books. I try to read as much as possible, but I spend too much time blogging and it does sometimes interfere! But, I love reading blogs too. I do have a stack of titles I’m making my way through. Thanks for your suggestions. Enjoy your vacation and enjoy the reading time!

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