Erin Collazo Miller of About.com addressed the question in Top 8 Smart Beach Reads, in which she answered, Smart beach reads are books that are well-written and have well-developed characters, but arent hard to understand or depressing. They are deep enough for book clubs, but dont require work to read.
Thats a good way to think about it. I think of traditional beach reads as fluff fun, junk-food reading, she continued. There isnt enough substance in a traditional beach read for a book club to discuss. My Smart Beach Reads list tries to pick books that are more substantial but still fun.
Many serial mystery authors think Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson make perfect beach reads. Or, jump into the light, chick-lit end of the pool with books like Bridget Jones Diary and Confessions of a Shopaholic. And there are always the latest releases. New notables include State of Wonder by Ann Patchett or Now You See Her by James Patterson.
When the same question was asked of the local chapter of the Romance Writers of America a group that invariably loves to read the list was endless, ranging from romantic suspense to contemporary to historical.
If Wishes Were Horses by Robert Barclay, member Winona Cross said.
The Family by Mario Puzo, said Mary Jo Springer, current president of the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. Linda Goodnight, a winner of RWAs national Rita Award, recommended In Harms Way by Irene Hannon.
No matter where the suggestions fall on the spectrum, readers cant deny a beach read means summer and vacation. In fact, Readers Digests list of beach reads is found under the travel section of its website. The list includes books that are not necessarily new, but are definitely favorites. Laura Kelly, editor in chief of Readers Digest Select Editions, said, These books are truly satisfying page turners.
The choice is not only endless, but yours.
The list includes The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand (in at No. 1), Northern Lights by Nora Roberts and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. While heavy on female authors, the list includes two guys: Lawrence LaRose, with Gutted, and Austin Murphy, with How Tough Could It Be? Full Circle Bookstore, 1900 Northwest Expressway, is worth the visit for the ambience alone. In fact, once you step into its cozy atmosphere, you may never leave to find the beach. There are many different categorized sections, and while not one is labeled beach reads, there are plenty to choose from.
If youre looking for fiction that has already made a splash, check out the display of books that have recently been turned into movies. Theres Charlotte Brontës Jane Eyre, David Nicholls One Day, Sara Gruens Water for Elephants and Mark Logue and Peter Conradis The Kings Speech.
The most important thing to remember about a beach read is that the choice is not only endless, but yours. Whether it is a new romance by Nora Roberts, or something to the tune of Oklahoma Courthouse Legends, a collection of essays by Kent F. Frates, reading is an excellent pastime, be it the latest mystery thriller, memoir or cookbook. Reading any book at the beach, local swimming hole or even on your own back porch definitely qualifies as a beach read.
Just remember this: When asked what she considers a beach read, Dawn Tingler, local resident and avid reader, said in a word: Anything!