Beach Reads

Paperback Writers

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:30am

We all know that sand is bad for book bindings, but it’s also no fun for us readers to be carting heavy hard cover books to the beach. So I’m always happy to see some of my favorites come out in paperback just in time for summer.

Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
A great who–done-it that has readers changing their allegiance between husband and wife right up until the last page, and keeps them on the edge of their beach chairs until the last page as well. Amy Dunne disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary and her diary reveals there had been hidden turmoil in her marriage. Her seemingly perfect husband, Nick, is desperate to clear himself as he watches his world unravel. Things are not at all what they appear to be.

Orphan Train
by Christina Baker Kline
Kline’s book is fictional, but it’s based on the true history of thousands of children shipped to the Midwest from the East Coast between 1854 and 1929, in the hopes of escaping lives of forced hard labor. This story centers around a young Irish girl, Niamh, whose entire family was lost in a tenement fire. Niamh is put on a train loaded with dozens of other children who have also lost their families; all hoping that their journey will connect them with new parents and new, better lives.

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
by David Sedaris
Fans of David Sedaris will not be disappointed with this essay collection. If you’re in the mood for a humorous romp around the world, then this is the book for you. Sedaris has a unique perspective on, and finds the funny in, everything from French dentists and airports to litterers and taxidermists. And, of course, his very colorful family.

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
by Michael Pollen
Pollen discusses the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Pollen enlists experts to teach him new skills in each area. Divided into four chapters based on the four elements, Pollen explains how grilling (fire), braising (water), baking bread (air), and fermenting (earth) have impacted our health and culture. He finds that cooking together with friends or family creates a healthier lifestyle both socially and ecologically. Cooking good, natural food is good for the planet and for personal relationships, too.

No Easy Day
by Mark Owen
This author writes under the pseudonym Mark Owen, but his real name is Matt Bissonnette. He reveals how SEALS train and ready themselves through physical and mental endurance training. Owen was a member of the SEALS for 10 years before he went on the mission to kill Bin Laden. He takes you firsthand into that mission. You will also go behind the scenes inside other Special Operations missions with the SEALS and Rangers. Owen reveals a real dichotomy: The SEALS do a lot of dirty work in our wars, such as raiding villages to kill or take guerrilla leaders; they also do work that’s positive any way you look at it, such as helping locals build needed infrastructure.

The Secret History
by Donna Tartt
If you loved “Goldfinch,” you must go back and read this book. It is more than 20 years old, but as good as ever. The Secret History takes place at a small college in Vermont. Richard Papen arrives from California and befriends a very small, elite group of students who are Classical Greek majors. Richard is ashamed of his blue collar roots and transforms himself to fit in with this exclusive group. He is pulled into a dangerous game of duplicity and sin. From the very first page, we know that one of these students was murdered and by whom. What we don’t know is why.

An Abundance of Katherines
by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton only dates girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin always gets dumped. It’s happened 19 times. Recovering from yet another breakup, Colin is dragged out of bed by his best friend, Hassan, and the two take off on a road trip. Their friendship is at the heart of this funny, coming-of-age story.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
by Chris Grabenstein
This book was chosen as the 2014 Kids Reading Across Rhode Island book for the summer. Kyle Keeley is fun-loving guy who is crazy about games — board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative game maker in the world, is building the new town library. Twelve kids, including Kyle, win a spot to sleep over in the library before it opens. It’s after the group arrives at the library that the real games and intrigue begin. They discover that they are locked in and must solve a series of clues and puzzles to escape.