I just came off a great vacation visiting some spectacular people at some spectacular beaches – Stone Harbor, New Jersey and Rehobeth, Delaware. I polished off 3 books in a week. Unfortunately the 3 books were the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, but once started, I had to finish them. This got me thinking about some of my all-time favorite beach books. Strictly for entertainment purposes only, with the criteria for inclusion being: 1) doesn’t take much concentration to follow the story 2) able to read in less than a week of beach time 3) fun to talk about after 4) not on any school reading list.
Avalon, New Jersey
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I read this when I was 14 years old in Avalon, New Jersey. All 1000+ pages of it. Ashley Wilkes, Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara, Mammy. When I was finished it my Cousin Jenny dove in. She got to the last 50 pages and my brother threw the book in the bay. She went in after it.
My first truly trash novel. Read when I was about 12 at Arden-on-the-Severn in Maryland. All I can remember was that there was a lot of sex, betrayal, and a shocking scene involving a coat hanger. That book was read by every girl that visited our beach house that summer.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Maui, Hawaii
The Wildest Heart by Rosemary Rogers
This book had a wonderful purple cover featuring a picture of a red-haired vixen in a white flowing dress displaying her heaving bosom and a guy who looked like Fabio in leather britches. Basic story …. Lady Rowena falls in love with a cowboy who teaches her how to love and ride bareback. I read this book first during Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale and then again 20 years later in Maui. “Classics” like this always stand the test of time.
In my opinion, this is one of Anne Rice’s most under-rated books. It’s a fascinating story about a family of witches and introduces a truly scary character called Lasher. The book takes place in the Garden District in New Orleans. The city is one of the main characters. I read this book in Bermuda and had a hard time sleeping because of it.
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
This is the definitive vampire story for me. I read it one summer while staying at my grandmother’s in Maryland – not on the beach, but at the Pooks Hill YMCA. I couldn’t go down in the basement again after reading this book.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
My beach tastes are pretty low-brow, but I read my favorite book every year and wonder what Miss Elizabeth Bennett would have thought about today.
Nags Head, North Carolina
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
I have to admit that I read this book after seeing the movie with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. It’s a wonderfully entertaining read and probably her best book.
Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
This isn’t quite smutty enough for a beach book, but it’s such a great read I had to mention it. The idea of carrying a torch her whole life for a man she’d spent only 3 days with seems unbelievably romantic. And the idea that she kept this secret to her death equally so. I read it in one sitting on Crane’s Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
Pure, unadulterated junk food told through Bridget’s diary entries made for a great read. I could relate to binging on ice cream, counting the calories of one Ritz cracker, embarrassing myself at work, and finding the love of my life wearing a reindeer sweater. The fact that the love interest was called Mark Darcy didn’t hurt either.
Not exactly a reading list to be proud of, but rather, a reading list that brought me hours of pure fun and a good tan. No guilt about either!
What’s on your list? I won’t tell!