Ah, beach reads…. you know that summer is on the way when you start to consider what books to pop into your beach bag for that lazy afternoon at the beach, or on the dock, or hanging out on the porch. Beach reads, by their very definition, are those books that draw you in and keep you absorbed for the afternoon. They are books that you are so intensely into that you don’t even notice the sand and suntan lotion on the pages, or that drops of your water bottle watermark your spot. Some of my selections are out now, while others won’t be out for a month or so. Most of my list is composed of adult books, but I’m planning a middle grade /YA version as well in the next few weeks. Here then are my top ten beach reads (in no particular order) for 2013:
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (out now)
This is a multigenerational family story revolving around brothers and sisters,and it is an emotional, provocative, and unforgettable novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. I wrote about how much I loved this book in my review: “Overall, the story is one of generations; these are interwoven short stories that begin with a folk tale and lead us back and forth through time and across continents. There is ruinous misfortune here … but there are also moments of pure joy and I found myself wiping away tears while laughing aloud.”
Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich (July)
Niece of the best-selling Janet Evanovich, Stephanie has written a fabulously fun read about a widow who has a meet-cute with a celebrity personal trainer that changes her life. Widowed in her early 30’s, Holly consoles herself with food – only to find herself sitting next to Logan Montgomery during a flight. Intrigued, he takes her on as a client, and soon they are more than just gym buddies. But can a man whose whole life depends on looks commit himself to a woman who doesn’t fit his image?
The Search Angel by Tish Cohen (out now)
Cohen tells us the story of Eleanor Sweet, a woman who will discover that the thing you most want is often linked to your past. Orphaned as a young woman herself and determined to give Lily, her adopted child from Korea, the family she deserves, Eleanor hires Isabelle, a search angel, to find her own birth mother. What Eleanor discovers about love and family isn’t what she expects but gives a new understanding of what it means to be a mother.
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (August)
The 9th and latest in Penny’s incredibly successful series – Christmas is approaching, and in Quebec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (August)
This is a new high fantasy series from a young and ambitious writer who is already being compared to JK Rowling by the British press. It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (out now)
The Rosie Project is a classic screwball romance about a handsome but awkward genetics professor and the woman who is totally wrong for him. Don Tillman is a “Sheldon-Cooper-esque” professor who beyond socially awkward, until he decides to come up with a questionnaire to find the perfect woman for him. Rosie – a local barmaid, smoker, drinker of cocktails and general disaster – definitely doesn’t fit his specs …. but why does she continue to be so appealing to him?
The Oathbreaker’s Shadow by Amy McCulloch (out now)
Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, but he barely thinks about it at all. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
On the eve of World War II, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate and steal the coveted bloom. More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (out now)
Chava, a golem brought to life by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni released from an old copper flask are brought to New York in 1899. Like their immigrant neighbours, the Golem and the Jinni struggle to make their way in this strange new place while masking the supernatural origins that could destroy them.They form an unlikely friendship, until the strange events of one night force them to make a terrible decision. Part fable, part myth, part historical fiction – just what the beach towel ordered, and thanks to Christa, I have it all ready to go in my bag!
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (out now)
Since Fangirl isn’t out until September, you’ll just have to read Rainbow Rowell’s adult novel while you wait. Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories. In the end, Attachments is a clever and deeply romantic story about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it’s someone you’ve never met.
What are YOUR best beach reads this season? Leave your suggestions for me in the comments!