Book Lists Tell Me What to Read

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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  • Reply Annie Smilie May 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

    One More Time: A Memoir, by Carol Burnett.

  • Reply Pange May 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall or Bring Up The Bodies.

  • Reply Kayris May 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

    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.

  • Reply melbh4284 May 30, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    The Selection, by Kiera Cass. It's a trilogy if you like it!

  • Reply Kimberly May 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm

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

  • Reply Emily May 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Have you read Edenbrooke yet? If so, The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley.

  • Reply Amanda May 30, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    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!

  • Reply bethany May 30, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer. It's a series and the first three are out already.

  • Reply Amanda P May 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

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

  • Reply Abby May 30, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling … funny and light!

  • Reply Amy May 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

  • Reply allerkins May 30, 2013 at 1:49 pm

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

  • Reply Sherry May 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    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.

  • Reply RA May 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    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

  • Reply Katylin Kelly May 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    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.

    • Reply Janssen June 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      I LOVED this book – I couldn't put it down either!

  • Reply Suzanne May 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    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).

    • Reply heidikins May 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      I *loved* Moonwalking with Einstein!! So good!


  • Reply Amanda W May 30, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Silver Linings Playbook
    The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey

  • Reply Shelly May 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir

  • Reply Laura H May 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm

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

  • Reply Nadine May 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

    • Reply Janssen June 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

      I love this book – in fact Ani's blog name comes from this.

  • Reply Brianna May 30, 2013 at 2:55 pm

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

  • Reply Erica Ricks May 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    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.

    • Reply Lady Susan May 31, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Just finished reading Scarlet. I am a sucker for re-tellings of Fairy Tales.

  • Reply Jenae May 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    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!

  • Reply Kayla FrecklesinApril May 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    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.

  • Reply Rae May 30, 2013 at 4:43 pm

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

  • Reply smalldog May 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    For YA, The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex.

  • Reply Jeannie May 30, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Life on the Line by Grant Achatz. I could not put it down!

  • Reply Sarah S. May 30, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    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)

  • Reply Michelle May 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Elephant Run, by Roland Smith

  • Reply Michelle May 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Ooh, wait…thought of another:

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

  • Reply heidikins May 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    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.


  • Reply Katie May 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Prince of Foxes

  • Reply Katherine May 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

  • Reply Naomi O'Connell May 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    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.

  • Reply brit May 30, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

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

  • Reply Isabel May 30, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Adult pick: "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer

    YA pick: "Wonder" by RJ Palacio

    • Reply Janssen June 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      You have good taste – I've read and liked them both!

  • Reply Amy May 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    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.

  • Reply mandylou4 May 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I honestly have yet to find any book better than the Harry Potter series.

  • Reply Tree May 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    I really enjoyed the Muirwood Trilogy by Jeff Wheeler.

  • Reply Abby May 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Wonder by RJ Palachio. A wonderfully, uplifting book. And it would be an easy beach read 🙂

  • Reply Allison Ruth May 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    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.

  • Reply Amina Elahi May 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm

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

  • Reply Brit May 30, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    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.

  • Reply ccr in MA May 30, 2013 at 11:37 pm

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

  • Reply Deanna H May 31, 2013 at 12:54 am

    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!

  • Reply Kelsey Clark May 31, 2013 at 1:46 am

    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

  • Reply Erin DeCoeur-Wilson May 31, 2013 at 2:32 am

    I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (she of 101 Dalmations fame!)

  • Reply AEK May 31, 2013 at 2:48 am

    The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout and I also second the recommendation for Wonder.

  • Reply Andrea May 31, 2013 at 4:07 am

    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).

  • Reply Megan Marie May 31, 2013 at 4:31 am

    The Cherry Cola Book Club by: Ashton Lee. A cute story, and a really fun read!

  • Reply Rachel May 31, 2013 at 5:11 am

    Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

  • Reply blaine and michelle May 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Into the wind by Jean Ferris. Light, easy, YA historical fiction.

  • Reply Magdalena May 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    "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.

  • Reply Jimi May 31, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Have you read The Night Circus?

  • Reply Lady Susan May 31, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    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.

  • Reply Books Glitter and more May 31, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Carpe demon by Julie kenner

  • Reply Emily June 1, 2013 at 1:33 am

    Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

  • Reply NGS June 1, 2013 at 3:17 am

    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.

  • Reply Emily June 1, 2013 at 4:25 am

    The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

    It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

  • Reply Susanne June 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    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!

  • Reply Emily June 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    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.

  • Reply Elaine June 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

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

  • Reply Sammy June 2, 2013 at 1:10 am

    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!

  • Reply Katie June 2, 2013 at 5:22 am

    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.

  • Reply Creole Wisdom June 3, 2013 at 3:24 am

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

  • Reply Lena June 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I like Lucinda Riley's books "The Hothouse Flower" and "The Girl on the Cliff".

  • Reply Amy June 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    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!)

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife June 4, 2013 at 2:30 am

    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.

  • Reply Mia June 4, 2013 at 4:36 am

    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.

  • Reply KT June 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    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?

  • Reply bookmania1 June 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

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

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