August 23, 2012

Best Beach Reads


New York Family’s Top Ten Must-Reads For Summer

By Sarah Greene


The perfect accessory this season is not a new pair of Ray Ban aviators. This summer, it isn’t about the fashions you’re sporting, but rather the book you’re holding. And with the beach-ridden days slowly fading, your sun-kissed nose should be buried in this season’s greatest reads. From thrilling adventures to cold-blooded murder mysteries, from stories of diaper rash to love advice, these books will keep you blissfully submerged shoulder-deep in literature.

FOR MYSTERY MANIACS

1. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn has cooked up a truly delectable summer treat that will keep your sunglass-covered eyes glued to each page and your beachy locks standing on end. Her suspense-filled, psychological thriller is told from alternating points of view between a recent widower and his deceased wife, herself. The novel is chock-full of dark and twisted secrets, with each revelation leading to a sinister twist in the shocking plot that will literally leave your jaw dragging on the floor.

FOR HOPELESS ROMANTICS

2. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

The sun-drenched shorelines and sparkling waves of Europe are now only one bookstore trek away. With Walter’s newest summer novel, you can escape to your dream vacation getaway without splurging on the pricey plane ride. Prepare to get your fix for summer romance as you cozy up with this fascinating find. Beautiful Ruins intimately examines the tangled lives of twelve flawed yet unforgettable people in a story that combines adventure, loss, and of course, love.

FOR MOMMIES EVERYWHERE

3. Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood – The Good, the Bad, and the Scary by Jill Smokler

In this collection of original essays, author-blogger Jill Smokler provides the perfect antidote for anxious mothers: a taste of brutal honesty accompanied by a large helping of hysterics. With each chapter opening with the most memorable and humorous confessions from Smokler’s popular online Confessional, this unique guide covers all ends of the parenting spectrum, from PTA fundraisers to husbands. This book will not only leave mothers nodding their heads in agreement, but will cause everyone to buckle over in knowing fits of laughter.

4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Making for one of the most hysterical beach reads of the summer, Semple’s novel explores the endearing topic of mother-daughter relationships with a light and bubbly tone that makes for a perfect day in the sun. Sempel examines the messy complexities of family dysfunction in a high-energy and hilarious read that will leave you thumbing eagerly in anticipation for the next page corner.

FOR ANSWERS TO YOUR MOST POIGNANT QUESTIONS

5. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice On Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Though she writes about “tiny, beautiful things,” Sugar, the once-anonymous online columnist now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, offers advice that truly goes the distance. Her words help heal the deepest woes, numbing the aching pains of divorce and loss; yet she also lends an ear for our happier moments, such as the day we land that deserved promotion or score that apartment with a view. Strayed not only addresses the questions that are asked, but manages to answer those that remain unspoken—even the ones we are too embarrassed to mention.

FOR A SAMPLE OF SATIRE

6. Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Family reunions are always ripe settings for scandalous secrets to be revealed, honest opinions to be expressed, and of course, quite a bit of entertainment. Now toss in a wedding as well and you’ll be left with not only something borrowed or blue, but a poignant and drama-filled romp of a novel, too. In her whip-smart and pointed novel, Shipstead turns this upper-crust New England weekend wedding into an irresistible social satire. In sentences so witty and sharp that they snap off the page, Shipstead both pokes fun at the world of prep schools and social clubs and warns against the attraction of exclusivity and high status. This comedic, saltwater-scented novel is at its heart, a tale of family and social class.

FOR POETS WHO DO, AND DON’T, KNOW IT

7. Dispatch From The Future by Leigh Stein

Looking for an effortless and lighthearted read to match your breezy beach vibe this August? For many of us, the task of reading an entire novel is far too daunting for our relaxing days of summer vacation. Leigh Stein’s collection of poems is the perfect purchase for a light and carefree read, guaranteed to leave you chuckling from its witty humor and truthful prose on subjects that range from traveling the Southwest to navigating the endless sea of online dates. Whether she’s rhyming about Facebook or Greek mythology, Stein captures the essence of young women and the meaning of love to a tee.

FOR YOU AND YOUR YOUNGSTERS

8. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult

Indulge and dive deep into the dark mystery of an enchanting novel without sacrificing time with your children. That’s right, you can finally eat your cake and have it too, or satisfy your hunger for literature while still bonding with your children! Chosen as a summer reading selection by the Motherlode Book Club, this thrilling novel can be shared by you and your youngsters, with elements of romance that you and a teenager may enjoy, and pencil drawings that make it gentle enough for less advanced readers.

FOR FICTION FANATICS

9. The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan

Copanken Kogan perfectly portrays everything, down to the most minute details, that preoccupies women straddling the critical juncture of mid-life. With humor and wit, she probes a once tight-knit circle of four women who meet again at their twentieth college reunion from Harvard. Her descriptions are so chillingly spot on, you may mistake one of the characters for a girl you once knew, or perhaps the friend you still meet for lattes every Tuesday. This page-turner makes for a light yet unforgettable read that pairs great with any beach tote.

FOR A NEW TWIST ON HISTORY

10. Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale

You’ll be sure to find Fifty Shades of Grey clasped between manicured fingers everywhere this summer. However, Summerscale’s intimate depiction of the lives of Victorian women is surprisingly scandalous itself, and will cause you never to view the Victorian age in the same way again. Snag a copy off the shelves for a juicy look on the private yearnings and love life of a seemingly prim and proper, straight-laced Victorian woman.

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