It’s been a very long time since I’ve granted myself the luxury of a beach vacation. So long in fact, I need new bathing suits (not my favorite thing to shop for), new beach bags, new flip flops and sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.
By far the most important thing I need to stock up on – even more important than the bathing suit – is beach reading material. For me, the sun, sand and surf are nice but without a good book I might as well be at work.
To ensure this precious reading time is not squandered, I reached out to friends to get recommendations. And since I have so many author friends, I included the caveat they couldn’t recommend their own books. While many suggested books I’d already read, there were a few gems in there I had to share. I know I’m not the only one looking for good summertime reading so here is a rundown of the suggestions I received.
My brother, Larry and I exchange book ideas all the time. He usually never steers me wrong. I just finished reading all six books in the Purge of Babylon series by Sam Sisavath based on Larry’s strong support. I absolutely loved them. Can’t wait for book seven. But I finished the series and need more to fill my time.
Larry also recommended Jay Allen’s Crimson Worlds. He says I have to get through the first book (I’m trying) because the second and third books are much better. We’ll see, but I’m not sure I want to spend my beach time on this Marines-at-war-in-space saga. Not giving up on it because baby brother is usually right when it comes to books I enjoy.
Corinne O’Flynn, a fellow #LeiCrimeKW author, recommended The Passage by Justin Cronin. I whole heartedly agree! All three books in the series would be great beach reads if I hadn’t already read them. They’re real page turners filled with the unexpected.
Beth A. Senn and Frank Stackowitch agreed on their recommendation of all things John Sanford. All of his Prey books are engrossing mysteries and they feature my hometown, Minneapolis, which is one of the reasons I’ve already read them all…except for the brand new one Gathering Prey which is now on my Kindle and ready for the beach.
Matt Woodling likes long, dense page turners for his beach reading. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman was at the top of his list. Emily Kimelman-Gilvey, another #LeiCrimeKW author, seconded the recommendation so lucky for me, you can get The Subtle Knife, The Golden Compass and The Amber Spyglass in an omnibus which is now on my Kindle.
And speaking of long and dense books. Dan White recommends historical fiction by Edward Rutherford, starting with Russka. Sounds like Rutherford has a long list of Michener-like explorations into a lot of places in the world. I’m a bit afraid to start with him since every one of them look wonderful. I’ll definitely give him a shot but I’m not sure the beach is the right location for these. I’m putting one on the Kindle just in case.
Toby Neal knows me so well! Her zombie endorsements included a book by one of my recommenders — Emily Kimelman-Gilvey’s series starting with One Kiss is FREE and is now on my Kindle. Toby also recommended a box set called Passion and Danger which is filled with romantic suspense stories all for just .99. Even though Toby’s book Stolen in Paradise is part of the box set, I took her recommendation since all proceeds are going to benefit Thymic and Breast Cancer Research Foundations and there are nine other stories to enjoy as well. Worth every penny I’m sure. That’s ten more books on my Kindle for less than a dollar!
My Kindle is getting so full, but I’m not done yet.
Pieta Renee Can-Cooper recommended The Gargoyle by Andrew Davison. I wanted to marry that book, I loved it so much and it definitely would have been on my reading list if I hadn’t already been immersed in its loveliness.
Janice Hale Richardson tossed in the Dragon Tattoo series, but of course, I read those a couple of years ago. She’s right. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larson would all make fantastic beach reads.
I’m already feeling the sand between my toes, but we’re not done yet.
My nephew Ramsey Sorrells recommended a couple of books that, while fantastic, I wouldn’t take to the beach. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is an amazing story but too dark and depressing for sun and sand. And while The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is filled with twists and turns in a tension-filled adventure, there’s one part in that book that just broke my heart. No crying at the beach means this book is better for some other time.
Gary Garth McCann, another author friend, says Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold is one of his all-time favorites. Since it’s not one that is usually recommended when it comes to Marquez, I’ll have to check it out.
There were a lot more. My other nephew Reuben Sorrells recommended Mary Norris’s memoir, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, but I’m just not into memoir right now. Probably because it reminds me too much of work.
I can hardly wait! When your toughest decisions include what to read next, life is good. Thanks to everyone for sharing their recommendations!