Big onscreen awhile back (okay, 45 years ago) was a movie called The Endless Summer, a documentary following two surfer dudes in search of the perfect wave. I propose we go in search of the perfect beach read.
In general, a beach read is light reading as opposed to difficult or demanding reading. A beach read will not send you to a dictionary to learn the meaning of a critical word. It will not encourage you to stop and think, to contemplate what the author is telling you. A beach read is a book you can put down anytime you like and pick up again without losing the thread of some major thought. A beach read is pure entertainment.
Every summer many newspapers and magazines put out lists of recommended beach reads drawn from current book releases. I'm going to harken back in time, however, and list some personal favorites from prior years. In addition to the types of books below (which don't include romance novels, for instance, since I'm not a big reader of those), there are mass market paperbacks galore at your local supermarket, pharmacy, and big box stores. Enjoy your summer. Be sure to wiggle your toes in any sand you can find that the ants haven't already claimed.
Suspense: The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark — This was the first Mary Higgins Clark book I ever read, so I have a fondness for it that may go beyond reason. This one involves a murderous fertility doctor. If that’s not your choice of topic, take a look at other MHC books. They’re all grand beach reads.
More suspense: Misery by Stephen King — Think you’re not a Stephen King fan? This one may change your mind. There’s nothing about the supernatural here, just good old-fashioned scare-you-silly the way only an insane person otherwise behaving normally can. Plot line: A famous author meets up with his biggest fan.
Humorous Memoir for Boomers: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson — Bryson recalls in his own wonderful, wacky way the amazingness of growing up in the '50s in Des Moines, Iowa. His comments on his parents, neighbors, school, food, and current events (think the atomic bomb, for instance) will give you a lot of material to read aloud to the person sunning next to you.
Humorous Essays/Memoir: When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris — Typical of Sedaris’s essays, these won’t disappoint. My favorite is about his love-hate interactions with a particular neighbor in a New York City apartment building. This book also describes his decision to quit smoking — thus the title of the book.