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Beach Books? -How Delightful! July 10, 2013

Posted by stacey in Beach Reads, Genre Book Discussion.
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It’s summertime and the reading is fine! In fact, right now the more you read the more you can win! I hope everyone understands this means you should come into the library and participate in the Adult Summer Reading Program -right? If you read the blog (and obviously you must or you wouldn’t be seeing this) then you know it’s time to win prizes for doing something you enjoy anyway… reading! And look! Another list of potential titles to read! And maybe even read on the beach! (Of course as a Librarian I must also issue a quick disclaimer: Please be kind to your library books and prevent sand/sun/sea damage as much as possible? Thanks!) These are some books that might hit just the right spot for those long, lazy summer days at the beach, or the pool, or your very own backyard:

Ann: The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman is the perfect beach read. Sisters Gwen-Laura and Margot have taken up residence together in Margot’s Greenwich Village apartment. Gwen-Laura is unexpectedly a widow, and Margot is alone after a scandalous divorce and losing her money to a famous Ponzi-schemer. Soon they find themselves with another roommate when Margot invites the young man Anthony to share the apartment. Who could turn down Anthony, baker of exquisite red velvet cupcakes?! With Lipman’s smart, witty dialogue and characters and her insight into familial relationships, this novel will please her fans and make new ones of those who haven’t read her before.

Carol: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter first takes you to 1962 while “Cleopatra” is being filmed in Rome. Dee Moray is a 22-year-old beautiful actress whose been hired to star alongside of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, but Dee is not on set. Instead, she has checked into a small run-down hotel, the “Hotel Adequate View,” in the small cliff-side town of Porto Vergogna in Southern Italy, where the hotel’s proprietor Pasquale Tursi has fallen madly in love with her on sight. There, Dee awaits the man with whom she’s having an affair—an affair that will affect many lives. This atmospheric novel has fully-realized characters and is a compelling, powerful and memorable read about love, regret and second chances.

Chris: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather share my beach blanket with than David Sedaris. And as the song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, (in this case Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls—I’m No. 4 on the hold list at our library) love the one you’re with.” And I am loving this earlier book. Although I’m rereading Engulfed in Flames, some of the essays are even funnier this time around. If you pick it up, don’t miss “This Old House” for the wonderful characters—even the house is full of personality! “Of Mice and Men” for an unforgettably nasty character who can only be described as a jerk. “Town and Country,” for new ways people deceive us. And “The Smoking Section” for a fun trip down memory lane. All good! What I really enjoy about Sedaris’ writing is that from the very first sentence you know where you’re going and you’re going to have fun.

Emma: The Smart One by Ellen Meister is the story of three sisters. Bev Bloomrosen is the middle sister, the smart one, divorced, in between jobs, and hoping for teaching position in Las Vegas. The oldest sister, beautiful Clare appears to have the perfect life with a handsome successful husband and two beautiful children. Joey, the youngest, is a former rock star with one big hit who continues to struggle to stay off of drugs. Kenny Waxman is the handsome next-door neighbor, who over the years has been interested in both Bev and Joey. A pregnant dead woman is found in a sealed barrel on the Waxman’s property. Kenny immediately blames his father. Who is she? How did she get there?

Steve: Not Taco Bell Material, by Adam Carolla, is the life story of Adam Corolla, best known for his t.v. shows Loveline, with Dr. Drew, and The Man Show, with Jimmy Kimmel, and for being on Dancing with the Stars and The Celebrity Apprentice. Funnyman Carolla organizes his life and breaks down the years based on the homes he lived in, from the junky ones during his upbringing with his nutty family, to the dive apartments he lived in with odd friends, like Snake and The Weez, and onto the years in larger homes after making it big. This is a funny read and Carolla’s self-deprecating humor is priceless.

Julie: Although you may wish you’re in a kitchen rather than on the beach while reading this, Relish by Lucy Knisley is great for a relaxing read. Ms. Knisley is an artist who, through words and pictures, takes us through her life amongst foodies and how she came to appreciate good food.

Megan: Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore stars seventeen-year-old Daisy Goodnight, a sassy teen who uses her ability to speak to the dead to help the FBI solve murders. Her current case lands her in Minnesota, where she immediately finds herself in a heap of trouble. Kidnapped by a ruthless mob boss, she is forced to help track down his missing daughter. With the aid of a mob-appointed “handler” Daisy uncovers an ancient mystery, crosses paths with some creepy secret-society thugs, and nearly destroys a museum. When you’re a Goodnight, that’s all in a day’s work. This second book in the Goodnight Family series is the total package! A clever, snarky heroine, an action-packed mystery, elements of the supernatural, snappy dialogue, and a hint of romance make this the perfect beach read.

Dori: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker takes you to turn of the century New York City, where immigrants are bringing their traditions to a new land of prosperity. Chava is one such newcomer, but she’s markedly different; she’s a golem, created by a man who knows the ancient secrets. After her master dies on the ship to America, Chava is taken in by a Rabbi who welcomes her and teaches her to subsume her natural inclinations towards servitude and strength so that she can fit in. Meanwhile, Ahmad, a jinni from Syria whose nature is taco be free and self-serving, ends up in a tinsmith’s shop, freed from a flask but still imprisoned in a human body. Together, they forge a friendship that allows them to truly be themselves. Mythology and history are intertwined to form this spellbinding tale.

Stacey: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell might not be one of the most obvious choices for beach reading, but maybe that’s what makes it such a good choice?! Open the cover on this book and be prepared to witness the struggles of Glaswegian teens Marnie and Nellie. These sisters have never been able to rely on their parents, but after their mom murders their dad before killing herself their few options narrow to only: lie for survival. Unexpected help, and unexpected complications, come from a wonderfully eclectic cast of supporting characters. Put plenty of sunblock on so you can enjoy every last page sitting in the sun!

Next time we’ll be reading one of our favorite genres: mysteries! If you want to play along, you’ll want to find a book that features a crime, usually a murder, that is solved by a professional or amateur detective. Easy to find on your own -or even easier to ask someone at the Reference Desk! We’ll be happy to help you find something just right! Enjoy!!

— Stacey

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