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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Steele Agosta

Beach Reads - We Can Only Hope

It’s difficult to know yet whether getting to the beach will be possible this year. It may turn out that you’ll have to settle for a sunny spot in the backyard, with your feet in the kiddie pool. Which is not so terrible. Or maybe find a Netflix video of ocean waves, to play on the TV in your living room. Or maybe, just maybe, things will settle down and a trip to the beach – socially distanced, of course – may still be possible before the summer ends.

In any case, you will need a beach read.

Now, my requirements for a good beach read are these:

1. It must be something new to me.

2. It must be something fun (as in funny, or charming, or exciting) and not depressing! I don’t mind reading more serious or socially-conscious books, but not at the beach.

3. It can’t be expensive. Beach reads tend to get water-splotched, crumpled, and occasionally lost.

My recommendations include books I actually read at the beach, but also books I think would fit all the above criteria – but which might be considered off the beaten track of traditional beach reads, such as those by Elin Hildebrand or Dorothea Benton Frank.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn, is a charming and funny imaginary tale about Queen Elizabeth II. A “What If” book which, although very unlikely, is quite enjoyable even for non-Anglophiles.

The Things You Find in Rockpools, by Gregg Dunnett, is one of the Sisters Summer Book Club selections, and the one we all liked best, with an adolescent boy as the narrator and main character, an engrossing mystery, with enough upbeat moments to clinch the deal.

Diminished Capacity by Sherwood Kinaly is a story about a fellow who was once voted The Strangest Man in Missouri, and his nephew who’s trying to take care of him while dealing with his own issues. Kinaly also wrote the almost-unfindable novel, Big Babies, which is also hysterically funny. I stumbled across it in my local library and just loved it.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is the first of ten novels about adolescent Flavia de Luce, scientist and sleuth. I was introduced to Flavia by my sister, Jacki, and she has graciously loaned me every book in the series as she finished them. I knew I loved Flavia when she observed that Beethoven never seemed to figure out how to finish a symphony – just always composed a series of almost-endings until he ran out of steam. I agree.

Chasing Shakespeares by Sarah Smith was an actual beach read, while on a trip to Puerto Rico. Even if you have only a casual acquaintance with the bard, this modern-day search is very enjoyable.

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson was a book I received for free from Amazon Prime and I enjoyed it very much. A group of misfits in a Brooklyn tenement building and how they come together.

A Rather Lovely Inheritance by C.A. Belmond. If you should wake up one morning and find you have inherited properties in London and the French Mediterranean, how great would that be? Main character Penny Nichols gets to find out in this first of a four-book series. Perfect beach read, with great descriptions, humor and romance. It was new for me the first time I read it at the beach, but I’ve read it at least twice more since then, and enjoyed it every time.

Okay, that’s it for today. A bit brief, but I’ve work to do on my new book as we get close to publication date. (Hopefully, early July.) Don’t forget – any of MY books would make great beach reads too! Hint, Hint.

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