Beach Reads 2016
When you think of summer books, does your mind go to the thriller that you can't put down while you're at the beach? Do you think of setting aside some time to finally get to that classic book you've been meaning to read forever? Or maybe you just want to read about two people who definitely won't be getting together at the end (wink wink). I think that the books on this list would fit very nicely with a cold drink and the unbearable humidity that we know and love. And if you haven't already, be sure to sign up for summer reading!
Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
In our world of social media and constant information, it can be hard to keep something secret, and that was the case with the mystery author Robert Galbraith. It was revealed soon after the release of his debut novel in 2013 that Galbraith was actually a pen name for J.K. Rowling, the superstar author of the Harry Potter series of books. Regardless of who the author is, these books are fantastic mystery stories that grab the reader very quickly. The series focuses on Cormoran Strike, a private investigator in London, and his newly hired secretary Robin Ellacott. Strike suffered a serious injury in the war in Afghanistan, and is down on his luck when Robin comes to work for him. Robin finds that she has a knack for investigation, and Cormoran discovers that it can be helpful to have someone watching out for you in his line of work. Career of Evil is the third and most recent book in the series, and it continues the high suspense and tight plotting of the first two. For me, summers call for mystery books, and this is a great series to turn to.
Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
A young-adult love story that appeals to a much larger audience, Eleanor and Park tells the story of two 16 year-olds who find themselves marooned (at least in their minds) in Omaha, Nebraska. Eleanor isn’t considered stylish, and her red hair makes her stand out even if she doesn’t want to. Park is a Korean-American who doesn’t really enjoy the same things as his classmates. You can probably see where this is going, but the beauty is in the setting and the interactions between these two characters who don’t know how much they need each other. Perfect if you are in (or wish you were in) a summer romance.
Mo Meta’ Blues, by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson
The joy and passion of Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s memoir will not be a surprise to people familiar with the drummer from his work on The Tonight Show, with his band The Roots, or countless other projects that he somehow has the energy to participate in. He talks about growing up, and the discipline that his father instilled in him that helped to create the technically astounding drummer that Thompson is today. He talks beautifully about all genres of music, and how songs affected him throughout his youth and adulthood. Quest is one of the most passionate people in music culture, and that comes through beautifully in this book.
Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
Italy in the 1960s, Hollywood in the 2010s, Scotland shortly before that, and a few places in between comprise the main settings for this beautiful narrative about connectedness, family, and the power of art. In California, an elderly man arrives at a movie studio, looking for a woman who stayed at his family’s hotel on the coast of Italy nearly 50 years before. This search sets in motion the interweaving stories that resolve themselves in beautiful and emotional ways. This book is full of heart and lovely language, and you could do a lot worse than reading about Italian beaches while you take in a beach of your own.
Tourist Season, by Carl Hiaasen
A fast-paced and hilarious crime novel, Tourist Season is the first novel by Florida crime writer Carl Hiaasen. Due to the location of his books, as well as the subject matter, Hiaasen is often compared to Elmore Leonard, but I think Hiaasen’s writing is a little more humorous and not quite as darkly violent as Leonard’s. Hiaasen delivers indelible characters and extreme settings in a narrative that you’ll be flying through on your time off this summer.