The month of June has been an abysmal failure if you judge it by the number of books I read, which is a big, fat null. Obviously, that number should not be something to guide yourself by, but I do feel guilty for not having a proper book club recap for you all so instead I compiled a list of five light-ish beach reads that could inspire you for your summer holiday. I won´t give away too much, but here are the books I would love re-reading on a sandy beach, with a margarita in my hand.
Dejan Tiago-Stankovic´s Estoril
A novel that combines historical fiction with a small degree of actual real facts, Estoril tells the story of a luxurious hotel on the Lisbon coast and its many intrigues at the height of WWII. You´ll meet Carol, one of our Romanian kings, British agent Ian Fleming, Russian chess grandmaster Alexander Alekhine, French writer Antoine de St. Exupery and Polish pianist Jan Paderewski, amongst many others. Estoril itself being a beach resort, and the story being so fascinated, I find this book an ideal beach read. The only danger I foresee here, is getting a burn because you´ll be so enthralled in the novel that you´ll forget getting out of the sun every now and then.
DBC Pierre´s Breakfast with the Borgias
The premises of the book is the same premises of my favourite play, Jean Paul Sartre´s No Exit : “Hell is Other People.” But before you tell me existentialism is not exactly fit for a beach read, let me tell you that this book, despite its dark setting of a lonely guesthouse on the Essex coast, is super entertaining. Essentially, it tells the story of Ariel Panek, an academic on his way from Amsterdam to the USA, who gets stranded because of the famous English weather and takes rest in said lonely guesthouse on the Essex coast. The family of the guesthouse bares secrets though, and it is those secrets that will keep you entertained for a day (or a couple of days if you´re a slow reader) at the beach.
Maya Angelou´s A Song Flung up to Heaven
If you´ve been here for a while you might know that I absolutely adore Maya Angelou, and find her biographical books gold. I typically read each in one or two days and I felt that this one, albeit not exactly light, could do a great beach reading. The book is set in the mid 60s when Maya returns to America, leaving her son Guy behind in Ghana to finish university. Caught up in the middle of the civil right movement, Maya seems right in her element, amongst Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I won´t disclose more, but would really recommend you read the whole series if you have the chance.
Kelsey Miller´s I´ll Be There for You
A great book to check out if you´re a Friends fan and if the recent Friends reunion brought back all the feels. Kelsey Miller is a journalist and a pop culture expert (something I always aspired to be) and in this books explores one of the most famous tv shows in history. The book has some great insights into the Friends phenomenon and touches upon both light-weight subjects like Rachel´s famous haircut and heavy-weight subjects – like the lack of racial respresentation in the show, or the first televised respresentation of a gay wedding. A great resource for Friends fan, and a potential great beach read.
Judith Schalansky´s Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands
A lovely little book exploring fifty remote islands that the author never plans to visit, yet finds fascinating. Through this book I learned where Robinson Crusoe´s island actually is located (630km from Chile), that I would love to visit an island that is called Disappointment (commercially known as Napuka island, in French Polynesia) or that human beings have lived on Tikopia island for three thousand years (and there´s still 1200 of them there now, despite the island being only 4.7km2). What I´m basically saying, is that this book is full of interesting facts and since it´s about islands it´s a perfect beach read to end the list with.
What beach reads would you recommend? I´d love to hear about them!