Living in Florida my whole life I have acquired a certain taste in beach reads. At one point or another I've read every type of book on the beach or at the pool (I think beach and pool reads are one in the same). To me, a beach read doesn't necessarily have to be a book set on the beach or in a tropical place. When reading you do want some form of escapism. So if I'm on the beach hot, sweaty, and sticky I don't really care about reading about others who are the same.
Woman At Beach Reading by Marie Fox
Nowadays, as a mom, I don't get much time to read at the beach or pool. In order to keep the children from drowning themselves, getting carried away by a rip tide, eaten by sharks, stung by jellyfish, or kidnapped by strangers I have to keep a sharp eye on them. Audiobooks works well for me at the beach now, though I don't get to listen to much sense I have to spend a substantial amount of time in the water.
So, here's the top books that I've read and enjoyed by the water or while reading have thought, "this would be great to read during summer at the pool or beach!" You may notice in many of the books description I say they are a bit "trashy". When I say trashy I think of those 90's rag mags like The National Enquirer. That gossip-y, voyeuristic, V.C. Andrews atmosphere to them.
By Lynne Cox
Lynne Cox is a very famous swimmer. She has swam to Antarctica and across The English Channel, for example. I said I don't like reading books at the beach about the beach or ocean, but... this is non-fiction and it really makes you think, "what is out there?" Lynne was doing her morning swimming routine in the Pacific Ocean and came across a baby whale separated from it's mother. She then swims around the area (a very large area) with the baby whale trailing behind and distressed looking for Mama Whale.
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette
By Carolly Erickson
This book is a fictionalized account of Marie Antoinette's life written in diary format. Even though it's fiction, I really enjoyed it. I think most of it is based on rumors of Marie Antoinette's life. I also think this is the book that inspired the movie starring Kirsten Dunst. I'm not really sure, but I think I read that somewhere. This has what I like in a summer read, a hint of trashiness and a gossip-y feel.
One For The Money
By Janet Evanovich
When I think of beach reads and summer, for some reason I also think of mystery books. I'm not really sure why. Maybe because during summer or vacation we have more time to solve mysteries and really get into a story? One For The Money also has more than mystery so it's great. There's lots of humor, so even though it can get tense at times it has an overall lighthearted tone. I think any book in this series would be great for the beach.
By Carl Hiaasen
As a Floridian, I love Carl Hiaasen. His books show the whacky and zanier side of Florida that tourists probably don't realize exists. At the core his novels are about Florida's environment and it's issues. But, superficially they are fun, humorous books with lots of suspense and action. So why not read a book on the beach set in the state with miles and miles of shoreline?
The Rose Garden
By Susanna Kearsley
This book is one of those time-traveling romance books and for some reason when I think of haunting romance books based in the UK I think of beach reads. This book would probably be good read anywhere, actually.
By Sophie Kinsella
Since I think an important thing for most beach reads is to be fun this one makes perfect sense. It's fun and lighthearted, but it has it's serious moments too. This book is really sweet. A great story to get lost in. I didn't find this one as cheesy or as superficial as the other book I read from her, Confessions of a Shopaholic.
She's Come Undone
By Wally Lamb
I don't really know why, but I also think of this as beach read. There is a small portion based at the ocean, but it's not the overall theme or setting. This book was just so great.
O, Yes You Can!
From the editors of The Oprah Magazine
Magazines are perfect for the beach. This isn't the actual magazine, which I've very rarely read. I found this at the library in the small-town in North Carolina that I briefly lived in. It's a compilation of chosen articles selected from the magazines. So, it was like one big, gigantic magazine. I enjoy the positiveness of Oprah's magazine and the articles are always inspiring.
By Chevy Stevens
This book is one of those books that make a great beach read because they have a sense of trashiness to them. This book is about a woman who is kidnapped and held captive in a cabin in the remote mountains of Vancouver. It's definitely a page-turner and the trashy part comes in with a twist at the end.
The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood
By Rebecca Wells
I'm sure everyone is somewhat familiar with this book. It did result in a movie, which I remember not thinking of as done very well. Anyways, this book is somewhat of a saga of different generations of a group of family and friends and I really liked it when I read so many years ago. It's be perfect for the beach.
So, what are some books that you consider to be perfect beach reads?