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The Reading List: 5 great summer beach reads

Posted by Alex Pearlman  June 3, 2012 02:42 PM

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beachreading.jpgBy Tamar Zmora

At times, finishing a book is a harrowing feat, unless the book is great, and you’ve got nothing else to do. Sunshine helps readers drudge through even the most painful prose, because for some reason, when you’re sprawled on a towel with your feet embedded in the sand, the feat is suddenly less daunting.

I want a book that will put me at ease in the summer, but I don’t want my brain to enter a comatose state, or worse get fried, Snooki style. This list of page-turners and guiltless pleasures will have you lightly ruminating while relaxing.

The Sea Is My Brother, Jack Kerouac
Kerouac’s lost first novel has been recently released in its entirety. A smug seaman, Wesley Martin walks into a bar in New York City, and meets a cast of people.  A stranger, Wesley, ingratiates himself with this socially conscious group of young adults, reevaluates his lonely lifestyle, and in Kerouac fashion goes on a hitchhiking journey to Boston.

Fifty Shades of Grey, EL James
Be warned, the writing in this controversial, so-called “Mommy porn” isn't great. But, like many heavy handed and poorly crafted books, the story captures and entices readers. Ana, a college co-ed,  is attracted to wealthy businessman Mr. Christian Grey, and so with pining, longing, and some suppressed urges, this erotic romance comes to fruition. An oddly entrapping debut novel by EL James (based on Twilight fanfic) will pull in horny mothers and their daughters alike, and anyone enamored with the Twilight saga.

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, David Foster Wallace
Wallace reflects in an analytical, honest and at times self-righteous way. He offers cultural reflection on the adult entertainment industry, finding Kafka’s humor, and life in Bloomington, Ill. One of his standout essays, “Up, Simba,” tells the story of the 2000 McCain candidacy and subsequent failed election.  Wallace oscillates between his respect for the man and simultaneous disagreement with his policies.

The piece is a curious study into McCain, and a young voter generation that couldn’t be less interested in politics as a whole. But, of course Wallace couldn’t forget the lobster, or the Maine Lobster Festival for that matter. Wallace’s frank sincerity isn’t for everyone, so tread with caution if you’re looking for something light.

The 13 ½ lives of Captain Bluebean, Walter Moers
Since outgrowing my OshKosh B’Gosh and the Disney franchise, I have been looking for a book to excite my dormant adolescent wonder. Captain Bluebean captures the imagination in storytelling and whimsical drawings. Reminiscent of Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein, Moers’ series of books welcomes the reader to the cerebral, fantastical world of Captain Bluebean. But the fun doesn’t stop with this book. “The City of Dreaming Books,” another Moers’ creation, will surely entertain book lovers.

One Day, David Nicholls
What if you met "the one," but because of circumstances beyond your control you weren't together? One day, Emma and Dexter meet. Divided by different career trajectories and separated by countries and foolish shyness, it takes the two years to reunite. The novel keeps track of these friends’ lives after their first encounter in college, checking back every year on July 15 -- the day they first met. It was the inspiration for the recent film of the same name, featuring Anne Hathaway’s worst attempt at an accent.

Photo by aafromaa (Flickr)

About Tamar -- I'm a recent Wellesley College grad with a degree in English and studio art. I grew up in the Midwest and briefly lived in Europe and the Middle East. My name is often mistaken for Tamara from "Sister, Sister." I love exploring coffee shops and am almost always highly caffeinated. I am very interested in films, the arts, theatre, painting, photography -- you name it -- '90s TV shows, and music.

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