Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Soo... it's been a while since I've posted anything, and I'm sorry about that. It was my busy oh-my-god-how-is-it-the-end-of-the-semester-already time, and I was writing last minute essays. Also, I had hoped that one of my first posts would not be a meme but a review, but participating in memes might be a good way to force myself to actually start blogging with some regularity and motivate myself to write those reviews instead of just reading the books and moving on to the next one...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Beach Reads

I am probably not going to see any beaches this summer (sniff, I love the sea) but I enjoy reading at the beach. I usually associate beach reading with light, fun stuff, but I'm not sure how much of what I read would qualify for that... alternately, I also think it's a good opportunity to read some of those classic's you've always wanted to check out but somehow never quite got around to. So here's my list:

1. The Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
I haven't picked a specific one because I think the whole series would make for a great beach read. Fast-paced, fun, romance, vampires, but still depth and serious topics. Also, those are fast reads - you can polish one of those off in a day at the beach.

2. The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This one is not getting nearly enough credit as far as I've seen. I don't read a lot of contemporary or 'problem' books, but this one really blew me away. It's such a wonderful story with unique characters! I loved watching Victoria transform from a fierce but lost and traumatized foster child into a more confident young woman. I loved the subtlety of it all, the frailty of the relationships and the dynamics between characters. Also, I'm a sucker for books that are set in San Francisco.

3. The Vincent Boys, by Abbi Glines
Another contemporary. I've read that some people found the plot too clichéed, but I really enjoyed it. Awesome chemistry between the characters. Also, the action takes place during summer break, so it fits.

4. Lament, by Maggi Stiefvater
Another book I somehow associate with summer. Loved the fey lore in this one.

5. The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins
As I said, the beach is an opportunity to read Classics, in my opinion. The Moonstone is very entertaining and, by the way, also one of the first detective novels. It's told from several characters' points of view in the form of written statements that have been collected by the main amateur detective.

6. Novecento, by Alessandro Baricco
This one is really short. It's the story of a boy that was abandoned by his parents on their way from Italy to the Americas in the early 20th century. The ship's crew raises him and gives him the name Novecento. It turns out that the boy has an amazing talent for the piano. He eventually becomes known as the 'pianist on the ocean' since he, in his whole life, never sets foot on land. He doesn't even have a passport or anything. Baricco's style is unique, in my opinion - read this one in Italian if you can. Or watch the movie, if you can't help it...

7. Generation X, by Dough Coupland
I read this one a year ago and could still identify with it, even though it was published in 1996. I loved the slang vocabulary or Roy Liechtenstein-style comic images near the bottom of the page. If you've ever felt in an 'inbetween' stage in your life and unsure what to do with yourself - read it. It's also about the power of storytelling.

8. The Water Mirror, by Kai Meyer
I read this one almost ten years ago, in German. It's set in a re-imagined Venice where the lagoon is being besieged by the Egyptians and their mummy warriors. Merle, apprentice to a mirror maker, and Serafin, a young thief, have to save the Flowing Queen (something like the protective city goddess of Venice) from being captured, which would mean the inevitable fall of Venice.

9. The Morganville Vampires series, by Rachel Caine
Quick, fast-paced reads. Will keep you on the edge of your deck chair. Awesome characters - I'm a big fan of mad-scientist Myrnin. Be sure to bring a few of them, because they are really short and end with the most terrible cliffhangers.

10. Seven Tears Into the Sea, by Terri Farley
I've first read this one in 2006, but I've re-read it several times. It's one of the few Selkie stories I've read, and I really enjoyed it. It's perfect for the beach, as it largely plays on one. Beautifully written, but really sad.

Comments? What kind of books do you choose to read on the beach?


  1. Fascinating list of books. The Water Mirror sounds intriguing. I have The Moonstone down this year as a reread. The Language of Flowers has popped up a few times today; however, like you, I don't read that many contemporary or problem books but....

    1. The Water Mirror is amazing as far as I remember (can't vouch for the English translation). It's the first in a trilogy. I've never read anything quite like it since - I was sucked right into the world Meyer created.
      About The Language of Flowers: it stood on my shelf for a while before I actually read it, but I'm really glad I gave it a shot! It made me cry both happy and sad tears...

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)