Top Ten Tuesday: Unexpected Beach Reads

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we're all about that beach, 'bout that beach with a beach reads freebie. I know for some parts of the country (hey, former home state of Wisconsin) it's not really beach time yet, but it will be Memorial Day in six days, and that's the official kick-off to summer. I'm not sure who decided that (probably some scheming executive in a mega corporation), but I'll take it.

Much like chick-lit, "beach reads" is often a term used with derision. I see no reason why deeming a book a "beach read" automatically reduces its value, but that often is the case. When you stop and consider that not all beach reads are fluffy--thrillers make the cut a lot--I do think it is a gendered attack on female authors. But beach reads, like beach bodies, should have no stigma attached to them. A beach body is a body on a beach. A beach read is a book you read while you happen to be at the beach. Because I take this view, I read whatever I want when I'm at the beach. I'm looking for a gripping story, but I wouldn't necessarily bring my Balzac or Victor Hugo to the beach. I need some respite from tragedy, after all.

Here, in no particular order, are some non-traditional beach reads to try out this summer:

1.  Misery by Stephen King. This is my current beach read, and the contrast between Paul Sheldon's confinement and the open spaces of the ocean is interesting to contemplate. And, you know, it's terrifying. Also, it will keep strange people away from you if you're an introvert like me and crave solitude.

2.  Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's a toss-up between this one and The Cabinet of Curiosities for my favorite Pendergast novel, but if you must start, start at the beginning. Bonus: count how many times the beast has a "goatlike" odor and how often it "ululates."

3.  Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. If you lean more toward the romance spectrum in your reading preferences, give this fantasy retelling of Pride and Prejudice a spin. I am quite sure that I had a silly grin plastered to my face while reading the whole thing, and man, I shipped the ship so hard that I shattered into all the feels.

4.  The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. With prose as fluid and graceful as waves, this book will sweep you away on a romantic, magical journey with a feisty heroine and a demon horse with a wicked sense of humor. It's achingly beautiful and perfect for sunsets.

5.  Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen. Most people are familiar with The Devil in the White City (and if you haven't read it, you MUST!), but this tale of murder, scientific quarrels, and police chases in Victorian England will hold you captive until the last page. You may have quite a sunburn from trying to finish this in one day.

6.  Sweet by Emmy Laybourne. If you feel sad that all of your friends are going on a cruise and you aren't, then have I got the book for you! You'll be super excited about all the money you saved and get a hefty dose of body positivity to boot. If Carnival Cruises were renamed Cannibal Cruises, this would be their promo guide.

7.  Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey. Kick-butt female protagonist, horselike companions, and fantasy intrigue combine in this, one of my favorite Valdemar books.

8.  Zero World by Jason Hough. A twisty, mind-bending story of alternate timelines and universes, this book moves quickly but is hefty enough to provide food for thought.

9.  Close Reach by Jonathan Moore. Again, this will make you think twice about that sailboat you may have been eyeing. A brutal, psychological thriller about a couple's really, really, really bad sailing vacation.

10.  Meg by Steve Alten. Sure, this one is hokey as all get out, but it's a novel about a dinosaur shark. How can you go wrong with "giant dinosaur shark" while you're at the beach? The new cover is garish and I love it.


  1. I went with non-traditional beach reads today, too. They're my favorite kind, after all :) You've got some great-looking ones on your list. I need to add SWEET, CLOSE REACH, and THUNDERSTRUCK to my TBR list.

    Happy TTT!

    1. Your list was fab! I've completely missed the last few Sharon Bolton books--mostly because I keep forgetting that Sharon Bolton = S.J. Bolton. Adding that one for sure!

  2. Erik Larson is a favorite of mine! How did I miss this one?

    Lisa @


Post a Comment

Popular Posts