Top Ten Tuesday: Good Beach Reads
My idea of a good beach read is a book that I can pick up and read in a few hours, a book that doesn’t require too much thinking to enjoy. I’m not trying to say that the books on this list aren’t good, or that they don’t all require some level of thought, but the plots are fairly easy to follow, and they don’t make you stop and think about societal problems or anything. The following books have been listed in no particular order.
1. Coffeehouse Mysteries series by Cleo Coyle
I’ve only read the first three books in the series, but I’ve enjoyed them for the most part. If I was going to the beach and looking for a quick read, I would grab a book from this series. They’re mystery books but aren’t all that hard to follow. This isn’t anywhere near the greatest book series I’ve ever read, but it’s pretty decent. The series follows Clare Cosi, the owner of the beloved NYC coffeehouse The Blend, as she tries to solve murders that involve her coffeehouse.
2. Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Let me preface this one by saying that I tried to read the Shopaholic series and failed. I hate that series. I’m someone who’s very careful with my money, and I couldn’t stand reading about someone who was so obviously bad with money. So if you – like me – hated that series for that reason, don’t automatically discount this book. When the main character thinks she’s about to die in a plane crash, she blurts out all her secrets to the man next to her. Afterward she’s embarrassed, but she figures she’ll never see him again so it doesn’t matter. Imagine how horrified she is when she realizes that the man was in charge of her company. I read this book years ago, but I remember really enjoying it.
3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
I remember when my friend bought the first book in this series. I thought the premise sounded stupid (four friends of different sizes who can all fit into the same pair of jeans, really?), but I read it anyway, and I’m glad I did. I still think the idea is stupid, but the story focuses on four friends who are spending their first summer apart. There’s nothing else magical about the books. There are sad moments in all of them, but overall I’d say they’re pretty light-hearted and easy to read. I haven’t read them since high school (save for the last one, which was rather depressing and came out fairly recently), but I remember liking them.
4. The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty
The series starts with Sloppy Firsts and follows high school student Jessica Darling as she tries to deal with high school after her best friend moves from New Jersey to Tennessee. There are five books in the series, and they’re easy to read. I quite enjoyed the series the first time around. I found more flaws the second time I read it, but I still enjoyed it. Even the main part of it that I had a problem with – that she keeps acting like she has no friends when all of the popular people seem to hang out with her – is mocked in the third book when she goes away to college, so I can live with it.
5. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
I read this one more recently than Can You Keep a Secret? I didn’t like it as much, but it was still entertaining. Lexi Smart wakes up in the hospital to find that three years has passed. She’s now married, has a great figure, and is her ex-bosses boss. She has everything she always wanted – and yet all of her friends hate her, and a mysterious man appears who tells her that she’s been having an affair. What happened during those missing three years, and will she ever get her old life back? Yes, the plot has been done a lot, but if you’re looking for a quick, entertaining read, this one’s definitely worth a shot.
6. When You are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
We read one of his essays in a writing class I took in college, and ever since I have had respect for David Sedaris. I’ve now read two of his books and, if memory serves, this is the one I liked more (although I could be wrong). His writing is smart and funny, and I can’t think of anything better to read on vacation than something that makes me laugh.
7. I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies) by Laurie Notaro
I read most of her books when I was in high school, and I remember finding them very entertaining. This was the first that I read. I started reading this book because I loved the title, and the more I read, the more I found myself drawn into her crazy world. This collection of essays definitely made me laugh.
8. Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
I first read this book because my journalism professor was mentioned in it, but I kept reading because it hooked me in. Jen had the perfect life until the dot-com bubble burst. Suddenly she went from having the perfect job to sitting in the unemployment office. Definitely one of the funniest memoirs I’ve read.
9. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
I was considering putting this under the same category as the previous one, but I was running low on ideas anyway and figured I didn’t want to recommend all of her books since I’ve only read three of them. This is the third memoir by Jen Lancaster, and this one follows her in her quest to lose weight. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever struggled with weight loss, because it’s refreshing to see someone trying to lose weight because she wants to be healthy, not because she thinks she’s a pathetic loser who doesn’t deserve to live because she’s fat. Some might think this an odd choice for a “beach read,” but I think it’s amusing enough to count anyway.
10. New Rules by Bill Maher
Okay, this doesn’t quite fit with my “doesn’t make you think about society” rule, but it’s a really easy read and will definitely make you laugh if you consider yourself a liberal. If you don’t, well, then you probably won’t like this book and should just pretend that I didn’t mention it.