Sunday, March 1, 2015

Coffee & Breeze Talks Beach Reads

As Carole and I sit and chat over a warm cup of joe - decaf for me - beyond the window, on the other side of the frosty glass, a storm is raging. The snow is piling up once again. It's like Groundhog Day; that movie with Bill Murray where every day is The. Exact. Same. Cold and gray. White and wet. Ugh.

But fear not. Spring is less than one month away. Officially, anyway. And our thoughts have already turned to things far less frigid in nature. With that in mind, we wanted to bring you our favorite BEACH reads!! That's right. Carole and I have temporarily traded our furry boots for flip flops. So settle in and join us, and don't forget your sun screen.


CAROLE: I’m not a typical beach reader in that I don’t shy away from serious or unhappy subject matter while on vacation, but some books are definitely more suited than others for a summer escape.  Here are my choices for this year, all of which would go nicely with an ice cold Corona or a drink with a little umbrella in it.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer.  I was initially hooked by these seven simple words: “If you loved The Time Traveler’s Wife…”  Call me shallow, but I’m wild about the cover too.  In this story, a woman begins shock treatments and travels to two different lives – one in 1918 and the other in 1943.  Thoroughly engrossing!

TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This is the last novel Fitzgerald ever completed and if you’re a fan of Gatsby and have never read it, what are you waiting for?!  Modern Library ranked it #28 on its list of 100 Best English-Language Novels of the 20th Century. 
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver.
Goes down as smooth as Beautiful Ruins while traveling.  Great fun! 

Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall.  Hepinstall’s work is luscious, tense, always gripping, and the settings are never less than utterly fascinating.  This one is an unusual love story set in a mental institution on an island in Florida during the Civil War.  The protagonist is the wife of a plantation owner whose been convicted of lunacy by her husband for dubious reasons.  Historical, mysterious, and wonderfully different, it’s a great read and one that should be rapidly followed up with a tasty serving of Hepinstall’s The House of Gentle Men. 
LOUISE: For me, the beach is the perfect place to get caught up on my ever-lovingly large TBR list. I'm going to bring you my three top choices for awesome (unique?) beach reads. The first is not a new release. I read this some years back, but it always reminds me of those young. sweet and sometimes tense sultry days. From the fabulous Anne Brashares it's THE LAST SUMMER OF YOU AND ME. This is an enchanting, heartrending story of a beach-community friendship triangle and romance among three young adults for whom summer means exciting new beginnings and inevitable endings. I found this upper YA/New Adult read to be entertaining and just the right balance of drama and light.

For a newer read, I suggest WILD by Cheryl Strayed. This gipping true account of one woman's solo journey of self discovery in the great and formidable outdoors will surely have you appreciating your comfy beach chair.

And finally - for the more adventurous bibliophiles out there - there is JAWS - the Novel by Peter Benchley. Of course most everyone has, by now, seen the movie of the same name. BUT to recline at the shore line and flip through these frightening pages, well that takes a special sort of courage. I've done it. Are you up for the challenge? If so, you will discover several interesting revisions that Spielberg made in the book-to-screen-play adaptation.

So there you have it. And, of course, if none of those books suits your beach-reading fancy there's always THE READING LESSONS by our own CAROLE LANHAM or THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN by yours truly. Plus for those of you who prefer to keep your literary consumption shorter whilst seaside - there are PETIT FLEURS and VIGNETTES - my short story compilations.

Now it's time to turn so you don't burn. ;)



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