I am a beach baby by birth, but a beach-going wannabe by default. We don’t tend to get to the beach much. I can’t complain, though, because usually it’s because we choose to take other vacations with our kids. So while I grew up happily anticipating our annual two weeks at the Jersey shore where we would eat sandywiches (that would be PB&J sandwiches dropped in the sand and then ingested) and my mom dug holes in the sand for us to go potty, as an adult those beach vacations have gone by the wayside (just as well as those potty holes wouldn’t be so kosher now).
It’s been many years since we hunkered down in a beach house for a week, relishing those stormy days when we’d be driven inside to read, or languoring beneath the July sun. The beach, with the cadence of the waves and the squawk of sea gulls the soundtrack for the week, the smell of Coppertone and the dankness of sand permeating the air, tattered book in hand, dog-eared and damp from the sea air. Can’t get much better than that.
I still get around to my beach-reading, just rarely in its intended venue. But one test that is tried and true for me with a beach read: if I can get lost enough in the book to think I’m at the beach. Or at the very least somewhere else, preferably right where that book is taking me, then it qualifies for me.
Here are a few compelling/wonderful/fun/mindless (in no particular order) beach reads in which I indulged while on vacation recently:
THE SPYMASTER’S LADY by Joanna Bourne
THE WEDDING OFFICER by Anthony Capella (and read his THE FOOD OF LOVE too)
THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE by Julie Buxbaum
THE FLIRT by Kathleen Tessaro
AMERICAN DIVA by Julia London
And of course I’d be most remiss if I didn’t mention my fellow Deb’s books—all of which I absolutely loved (and I’m bringing Gail’s memoir with me on an upcoming trip, though I’ve read so many things she’s written already I am certain I will be unable to put it down). And I can’t wait to read the books by the 2009 Debs—they all sound fabulous, as well as many of the books written by authors who’d applied for the Debutante Ball 2009 season. Many, many wonderful books on the horizon. Now, maybe I should try to schedule that beach house for next summer…
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12 Replies to “Books to Eat Your Sandywiches by, by Deb Jenny”
Wow you were actually one of those families who went to the Jersey shore for two weeks!? My experience with that consists of the movie The Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe where the “Walter Mitty” type character Tom Ewell is stuck in NY while his wife and kids escape to the seaside rental. You know, the one with the famous subway skirt scene?
Our summer vacations were mainly those nightmarish road trips in the family car before seatbelts were invented. But we are fairly surrounded with water here in Seattle and its a short trip to the rocky freezing cold beach. This summer i heard my almost sixteen year old say to his friends–lets go down to the docks. Ooohh you can almost hear the cold beer chilling in the cooler. Fortunately none of them can drive and so far- I smell nothing.
I dream of the day…laying on the beach with a light-reading book with a cooler sitting next to me…
Not realistic right now. There is that whole “watching the kids to make sure they don’t drown thing” and the whole “a beach isn’t within a day’s drive thing”. Oh those pesky details.
But the books! I can read those at home safely.
HRH–I think that’s why I never pushed the issue with renting a beach house. The idea of kids in diapers and sand and scorching summer sun on tender baby flesh and that vast expanse of deadly water was more than I could bear. And I really loathe the grittiness of sand in a PB&J 😉 .
Yes, Suz, we were Jersey shore folks. Avalon, on the beach, 21st street. When I was probably 10 or 11 we started going to the Outer Banks instead–back then it was nothing but beach, a Dairy Queen and the Wee Winks Grocery store. Now it’s a seriously overdeveloped sprawl of a destination. Guess there aren’t really any places like that any more…I have to say now it seems like going to the Outer Banks in September, with a group of girlfriends (and a lot of books and that cooler of beer) sounds especially fun and relaxing–escapism at its finest!
thanks for the mention, Jenny! What a great list of books I haven’t read!! Off to the bookstore…
I think one of the great pleasures in life is being able to spend an afternoon sitting under a beach umbrella, with a book in one hand and a cool iced tea in the other. It just doesn’t get better than that!
As to the choice in book….I’m with you, for these occassions, I love a good escapist read, light, fun, and definitely with a happy ending.
Forget the beach, just give me a quiet room — cooled by air-conditioning — my favorite chair and a great book…like THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE.
Oh yeah! The beach as a kid. We went to Falmouth Heights every year to my aunt’s house. My Mom went there as a child herself. (The house became a teardown, alas.) Pixy sticks in paper wrappers. Turkish taffy. Plunking yourself down in the sand and thinking about your stomach ONCE. Carole King, “It’s Too Late Baby.” The smell of a musty cottage. Spiders in the outside shower. Grass that never feels soft under your feet. Ice cream at 9pm. Sleeping in. The beach.
I’m going to the beach this weekend! How’s this for a difference though? My friend’s Barbara Fischkin and her husband Jim Mulvaney run http://www.surfpals.org which puts kids with autism on surfboards! The Stagliano girls will be catching tasty waves in Long Beach NY on Sunday. I will think about my stomach several times. And I might smuggle a Pixy Stick into my bag.
Great post, Jenny. Book a beach house. Go ahead.
Your second paragraph put me right there…I want to go to the beach!!!!
(I love ‘sandywiches!!’ Too cute.)
Kim–Tapestry soundtrack was the summer of my graduation at the beach in Nags Head. We played that (on 8-track, alas) over and over as we tooled down the highway. Turkish taffy–chocolate. Never the black one! Spiders in the outdoor shower–totally! We’d always squeal over those things. You’re bringing back memories!!! What a fabulous project surfpals is!!! That’s awesome your girlies will be riding the surf Sunday!
Thanks Jess and Gail and Larramie–opting for cool air conditioned comfort! Suz, I agree with you about that luxury. I like the low chairs right on the water’s edge so you never get hot (of course when those waves surprise you and saturate everything and your towel is left gritty and soaked and the book will be twice as fat once it dries in the sun…
Oh that description was perfect. It made me feel like we were splitting a sandywich right there!
Great post, great list! The reading list gets longer…
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