Winter in far north Queensland actually means trips to a stinger-free beach. And whilst there today, I got to thinking. Do we give certain books the tag of ‘beach book’ as an insult? Are we not allowed to read literature at the beach? Does a trip to the beach mean you must take a trashy romance along with your sunscreen and hat?
After musing for a while, I realised that I do, in fact, want two things from a beach book. Firstly, I want an easy-to-read novel that doesn’t take focused concentration to get the gist of the plot. In other words, I want to still be able to watch the passersby, saviour the beautiful scenery, and perhaps jot a few notes in my journal, as I read. The other requirement is a book that simply holds my interest. If you’re at the beach and your book is dead boring, what are you to do? You can’t go to your bookcase and swap it for something you might think is more entertaining. You’re usually stuck with the one you have due to the limitations of places to obtain a new one and/or room in your bag and/or lack of money! (Some of these problems can be eliminated if you have an ereader, but I’ll leave paper books versus digital books as a debate for another day/blog!)
So, it’s quite a difficult prospect when you think about it, and as such, it’s time we stop demeaning a book that could be a likely candidate.
I’ve gone over my recently read books, and have chosen my top 5 recs that could be enjoyable ‘beach books’.
1. The Shelly Beach Writers Group by June Loves.
Having a beach book with the word ‘beach’ in the title seems logical. This Aussie book is a lovely ‘sea change’ romance with older characters. It’s style makes it a fast fun read, and as I rated it 5/5, I think I’ll guarantee satisfaction in the entertainment stakes too.
2. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Instead of the beach, this book is set in an English village. In fact, everything about the book screams England, especially the characters and their typically English dry humour. It’s also a sweet romance, again between older characters, and I enjoyed it immensely.
3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Another book which is very very English. And another book I cannot recommend enough. It’s a historical war book, it’s a romance, it’s a comedy, it’s a tearjerker — it’s perfect. Even if you’re not off to the beach, I recommend you read this one.
4. Contest by Matthew Reilly
Not a romance fan? How about you try one of Aussie writer Reilly’s earlier books. It’s action packed and definitely edge of your seat stuff. A fight to the death Hunger Games type tournament with aliens. Great fun.
5. All That Happened at Number 26 by Denise Scott
For something a little lighter, why not try this hilarious book. Denise Scott is one of Australia’s most loved and funniest women. This memoir had me laughing out loud more than once. A great ‘beach book’.