Beach Reads Bonanza

Are you heading to a sunny destination to beat the February doldrums this year? I am!

That’s right, I’m off to Honolulu next week for some R ‘n R. You know — reading and more reading. And so I asked my colleagues here at NVCL for some of their favourite beach reads. Here’s what they recommended:



Gotta say, my favourite beach/cabin reading is anything by Carl Hiaasen.  Yes trashy to an extent, but my favourite guy and I read everything he writes!




A good read at any time is anything by Bill Bryson – gives you an amazing amount of information about the country/countries he’s travelling in plus he has a very quirkly sense of humor.




I enjoyed reading True Blue, by David Baldacci, actually on a beach in Maui !  I love good mysteries and this one is one of Baldacci’s best thrillers, with a  touch of dark politics and characters that grow on you.




I really enjoyed the short story collection An Empty Room, by Mu Xin. The reason I liked reading these short stories is they are wonderfully written and well developed stories of the time the author was living in exile. It is an interesting Chinese literature which evoked a time and the emotions of the characters very well.



Ann Morrow Lindberg’s A Gift from the Sea.  I always tuck this in my beach bag. It is a wonderfully wise and reflective look at family life and relationships all told through the inspiration of the shells found on the beach. It was written during a visit to Captiva Island in Florida in the early 1950’s.  Her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment are inspirational and timeless. It is a book you can dip in and out of, like the ocean!



A great beach read is Sandra Gulland’s The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. This fictionalized memoir of Josephine Bonaparte – told in diary form – is absorbing and informative. Even if you’re not interested in French history, this book will keep you turning pages and squinting through your sunglasses. Try not to get suntan lotion on the library copy.



Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money. In need of a laugh and a light hearted romp?  Stephanie Plum delivers.  A gutsy, down on her luck lingerie salesgirl turns bounty hunter bumbling her way into dumpsters, boxing gyms and just about anywhere danger lurks to track down her man and claim the prize.  And this is just the start of a saga!



Even on the beach, historical fiction is my go-to genre.  It’s just got to have passion and an exotic setting.  This year, if I were heading off to a week of sand and sun, I’d bring Sarah Jio’s WWII novel The Bungalow with me.  It’s the story of an engaged Army nurse in Bora Bora and her irresistible attraction to a mysterious soldier.



Detective stories are great beach reads –  they hook you in but don’t require too much thought.   I’ve been reading a couple in the great Martin Beck series, written in the ‘70’s by husband & wife team  Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo.  They are the original, not-to-be-missed, Swedish mystery novels.


Susan E.

Heartbreak Hotel, by Anne Rivers Siddons. The story takes place during the mid 50’s at a small college in a sleepy Alabama town…a privileged sorority girl takes a stand and scandal follows….the Civil Rights movement is beginning and Southern sensibilities are inflamed;  very interesting for it’s insight into the unwritten rules of Southern society!


What do you recommend for the beach?

One comment

  1. Thanks, NVCL! I love David Baldacci, so of course I’ve read that one, but I haven’t heard of “An Empty Room.” May have to pick that one up next time I’m headed to the beach. Which is probably next weekend!
    Right now, my beach read of choice has to be “Deadly Destination” by Cat Denison ( It’s pretty dark and has some paranormal elements, which is my cup of tea when on vacation. I prefer a thriller over a comedy any day.

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