Tell Me What to Read: Beach Reading Edition

I am ridiculously excited for summer to be here this year.

I’ve dubbed this the summer of the homemade popsicle (we made our first on Tuesday), we’ve broken out the sunscreen and swim diapers, and with both of Ella’s preschools finished up, we are keeping things pretty calm and lazy around here. I’m loving it.

And summer calls for summer reading. Here’s where you come in – a beach version of Tell Me What to Read. This is not the time to suggest War and Peace (sorry, Sherry).

Suggest something fun (although that doesn’t have to mean chick-lit – I’m up for fascinating non-fiction, memoirs, YA, middle grade, AND chick-lit), and I’ll pick three from the comments to read over the next three months of summer.  

This summer, for the first time in many moons, we actually are making a trip to the beach. I think your book would like to come along too.

In review:

  1. Comment with the title of one fun book you think I should read. One title only, please, lest my brain explode.
  2. I’ll choose three from the list and announce them next week.
  3. I’ll read one a month – June, July, and August. Feel free to read along.
  4. I’ll write a review of each one here. Even if I hate the book, I will not hate you.

And. . .go!

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  1. If you like science, I recently read two non fiction books by Mary roach. One was Stiff, about cadaver science and the other was called Gulp and was about the GI tract. Yucky stuff for sure, but she makes it interesting AND funny.

  2. Hey! I was going to suggest Mary Roach, too! I think you'd like Packing for Mars, but Bonk was my favorite.

  3. If you haven't read Maisie Dobbs, that's on my new "must read" list. Lighter, clean mysteries set in post WWI England. Female private investigator. So good!

  4. An oldie but a goody… Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. (Just avoid the movie, it's awful).

  5. I think you should read Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama. I listened to the audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

  6. Have you read Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis? I just finished it (audio), and I liked it. Either that or War and Peace, I guess.

  7. I see that you have already read my first instinctual suggestions (Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow), since I'm mid-re-read and LOVING them now. So I dug around Goodreads, and you have already read the NEXT ones I thought of (The Phantom Tollbooth, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, Rebecca).


    That leaves me with Secret Ingredients, edited by David Remnick. It's a collection of food writing from The New Yorker. It's kind of hefty, but you can skip around as you like. My favorite pieces were:

    – Don't Eat Before Reading This, by Anthony Bourdain
    – A Forager, by John McPhee
    – The Fruit Detective, by John Seabrook
    – An Attempt to Compile a Short History of the Buffalo Chicken Wing, by Calvin Trillin
    – The Magic Bagel, by Calvin Trillin
    – Night Kitchens, by Judith Thurman
    – Taste, by Roald Dahl

  8. Attachments: a novel by Rainbow Rowell. Light, witty romance. The ultimate beach read. I was dying to get to the end, but was enjoying the book so much that I didn't want it to end. I highly recommend it.

  9. I recommend The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (fun mystery with lots of literary allusion in a strange alternate reality) or Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer(nonfiction about memory championship competitions, hilarious and fascinating).

  10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I unexpectedly liked this book about a fat princess.

  11. Daughter of Smoke and Bone…then you'll have to run out and get the sequel too. Amazing world building. : )

  12. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen – it's Robin Hood re-told via a female POV. There's love, fighting, and intrigue. I think I read it on 4 consecutive hours. If you've already read that, I'd suggest The Vampire Academy books (first one is called Vampire Academy) by Richelle Mead. Also female POV, also love, fighting, and intrigue – this is no Twilight. Both books I suggested are all about girls who kick trash while falling in love. In other words, awesome.

  13. Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived- Ralph Helfer is simply wonderful. The story is so unbelievably true and I cried mighty chicklit tears over my new love of an elephant. Try it out on the beach, I read mine there!

  14. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. I'm generally not a fan of his stuff but Odd Thomas is sweet and creepy at the same time.

  15. Remarkable Creatures by Tracey Chevallier. It was my beach read on a get away with my husband this spring.

  16. Fun Book : The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

    Good Book : Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
    (sorry… I know you said 1 but I can never resist suggesting this book to people)

  17. Ooh, wait…thought of another:

    Use What You've Got: and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom, by Barbara Corcoran

  18. I've read through all these comments and the only books I even RECOGNIZE are Moonwalking with Einstein, Ya Ya Sisterhood, and War and Peace.


    I seem to recall you reading a biography on Charles and Emma Darwin, so based on that I'd recommend Angels and Ages: A Short Book on Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life which parallels Darwin and Lincoln (who share a birthday, same year and everything). I loved it.


  19. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.
    R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

    Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

  20. Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

    This is fairy tale with a modern sense of humor. The book is much more enchanting than the movie.

  21. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall – I know you weren't completely taken with the first Penderwick book, but give this one a try (you can skip the second one…I definitely liked this one best out of the three)! I thought this was the perfect summer read.

  22. My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with recipes) by Luissa Weiss. Almost as good as Molly Wizenberg's food memoir and would make a perfect light and fun beach read.

  23. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, as long as you don't mind laughing loudly in public.

  24. I've recently picked up reading a lot more with a book club and have since read a variety of books. But from your blog, I picked up Wednesday Wars and am now reading it. Recently I read The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles and thought it was fantastic. It is also a YA and was so creative and fun. Plus I felt it had a lot of good in it. The characters grow and experience challenges, peer pressure and are guided along the way. Now, I'll review all these books in the comment section to add to my Goodreads to-read pile.

  25. I suggest Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson. Totally light, and made me laugh out loud more than once!

  26. A great YA book that's a trilogy with the first and second books out. I'm dying for the third one to come out this fall. Ruby Red is the first book. It's translated from German. Adventure and romance. Great characters to love and hate. It's about time travel, but it's not a heavy science fiction read at all. We've been passing these books around my faculty. Enjoy the beach!

  27. Two YA (I'm a 5th grade teacher, so that's pretty much all I read):
    Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk
    The Watson's Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

  28. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is a MUST READ. Hilarious satire, semi-epistolary and a total page turner: perfect for summer (or anytime, really).

  29. "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley. Set post WWII England and starring Flavia de Luce, an 11 year-old aspiring chemist and precocious girl who, along with Gladys her trusty 3-speed bike, rambles around her village trying to solve mysteries. This is the first and there are, I think, four so far.

  30. It is difficult to find a book that I have read that you have not. However, according to Goodreads, you have not read any Kate Morton. I know your sister has read a number of her books and liked them (via a Twitter conversation). I pick the Forgotten Garden. (Or the Distant Hours). I am currently working on The Secret Keeper and am liking it like I have the rest of her books.

  31. I'm going to go with The Secret Garden by France Hodgson Burnett. It's a classic for a reason!!

    I love all this book suggestions. My library list is getting out of control and I can't wait to read all these suggestions.

  32. I don't know what kind of books you like, but my favorite is historical fiction. An author i've read lately is Kate Morton and I love her! (kind of reminiscent of Victoria Holt–one of my all time favorite authors) I've read her 4 books and I love them. My favorite so far is her latest one–The Secret Keeper. Would love to know what you think of it!

  33. An oldie but goodie: All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Being an animal lover, I enjoy all the veterinary stories, but I really think of this (and all of his books) as being love stories about his enchantment with the Yorkshire Dales.

  34. I haven't read this but just read about The Astronaut Wives Club
    by Lily Koppel. Sounds like interesting non-fiction.

  35. Anything by Julie Klassen! I particularly loved the Girl at the Gatehouse. Not quite Jane Austen but a wonderful read! And one that may take up two days of reading instead of your normal chick lit of a couple hours. Go check out the reviews… you'll be sold!

  36. I loved The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. There was a surprise ending that left me speechless!

    A good YA book is Cragbridge Hall The Inventor's Secret by Chad Morris. The author lived in my ward, so I wanted to read it just for that reason, but ended up enjoying it.

  37. you may have already read it but I just finished "Safe Haven" by none other than Mister Nicholas Sparks and I loved it 🙂

  38. Anything by Juliette Marillier. Love, love, love! For a shorter, quicker read try her YA Wildwood Dancing. But my favorites are her adult Seven Waters trilogy (which is now up to 7 volumes!)

  39. I haven't read it yet (but have already pre-ordered my copy!), but I am telling you to read The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. I know the author, who is awesome, and the book sounds like a fun, captivating read.

  40. My answer will always be the same:

    The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1)
    by Megan Whalen Turner

    Its not that its my favorite book ever, I just really want to hear what you think of it.

  41. Is it too late? If not:

    A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty

    I haven't actually finished it yet, so the ending might be awful (I hope not!), but I find that I am really enjoying it, and think it would easily qualify for light summer fare.

    PS Did you ever do a follow up post to the Tell Me What to Read picture book edition?

  42. Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis,I read this as a seventh grader and it still resonates with me.

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