Hot weather has returned to my part of the world. The heat is early, but not unwelcome. It just took me by surprise. Where are my sandals and shorts? They’re in one of these boxes, somewhere.
Along with the change of wardrobe, the warm weather brings a change in other parts of life. Lighter fare from my kitchen - okay I’ll be honest, from the take out. The lilacs are bursting, perfuming the air. The ants are back for their yearly visit, the punctual little critters necessitating a bump in my housekeeping game. There are ever more comic book blockbusters at the movie theater.
The change in seasons also brings a change in reading. Some books are built for cold weather. I adored Lincoln in the Bardo, but its melancholy has no place in the bright sunshine. Horror is made for the long nights of fall and winter shadows. Classics are back-to-school books, best saved for September.
|The perfect beach book?
Summer demands a different kind of reading. The stores and libraries are full of books with covers of that beautiful shade of blue that evokes the sensual pleasures of the beach – sparkling water, sun-warmed skin, a bubbly prosecco, instead of the realities of the beach – sand where it shouldn’t be, some guy blasting the Beastie Boys on his personal speakers, the smell of kelp.
Dozens of beach read lists will crop up between now and August. Not enough of these lists recommend short story collections, which are perfect for the shorter summer attention span.
The best beach read is, of course, the book you want to read. But an exotic setting, a thrilling plot – easy to follow as you put the book down every time you take a dip to cool off – and a certain lightness make a great beach book.
I have one other requirement for a beach book. It has to be paperback. Maybe it’s the librarian in me (okay, it is the librarian in me), but any book that has to stand up to sunscreen, ice cream drips, water, and sand should be disposable/recyclable anyway. Someone who brings a hardcover to the beach is just asking for it. Also the paperback’s sheer portability, the ease with which it slips into a beach bag or suitcase make it seem right, more at home in the elements, than a Kindle.
Do you have a favorite beach book? Please share it in the comments.