Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read by the Pool/At the Beach

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read by the Pool/At the Beach

Since it’s been hitting 90 here (with the heat index making it feel like well over 100 every day), this one came at a perfect time. Thanks to That Artsy Reader Girl for another great Top Ten Tuesday!


Pete’s Five:

Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers

This adventure story of a family trying to get by in Alaska is endlessly fun, making it a great casual read. It’s one of Eggers’s more accessible books, so if you’ve never read him, this is a great place to start.

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Push back those memories of high school essays. Tom Sawyer is a lot of fun, and it’s as all-american as it gets. Twain’s language and sense of humor never get old.

Conversations by César Aira

This dialogue-driven story can be read in just a few hours, and its simplicity and hilarity are a perfect pair for a lazy summer afternoon. It’s hard to say much about this book without spoiling it, but it follows a conversation between two friends, and a strange disagreement they find themselves in.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Carefully intertwined episodes create a grand tapestry in Egan’s Pulitzer-Prize-winner. The tone and themes of each chapter vary greatly, and it’s fun to follow a cast of characters forward and backward, and forward again, in time.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

As you stare out over the glassy water of the ocean/pool and wonder about distant islands, this classic fantasy novel will transport you across a magic-filled archipelago. Rather than a traditional quest or hero’s journey plot, A Wizard of Earthsea is an extremely humble and introspective story of a young wizard and his many mistakes as he finds his place in the world.

Indiana’s Five:

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This sliver of a book probably seems obvious because of the title, but it’s not so much because of its ties to the sea as it is the perfect pacing and the deep, yet wispy philosophy that make it the perfect — if not unusual — beach read.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

It starts out dreamy, with the sepia-colored romance of Italy during the 1960s (or at least a Hollywood-like version of it). There’s love and scandal and egotistical television producers (with a short and stunning story about the Donner Party thrown in for fun). Yet, there is a sense of satire woven into it that can either be embraced or taken with a grain of salt.

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

For some reason, this one always struck me as the perfect balance of a book that seems easy to read but one where there’s plenty to explore beyond the storyline if you chose to do so. Whether you just want to read a good story or you’re looking for something with a bit of a weight to it, this one is a great option.

Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion

It starts out with the protagonist recovering from a mental break down and it takes the reader back into her old life in Hollywood, a ghastly and glamorous place. It’s quick reading, yet Didion is able to fit in what feels like a full epic in a little over 200 pages.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

These emotionally electric poems and illustrations aren’t just perfect for the beach (anywhere will do), but there’s something to be said for taking it slow and just focusing on one or two of them at a time over a long day in the sun. Kaur also just came out with A Sun and Her Flowers, which is another good one. I’m just partial to Milk and Honey.

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