Beach reading to transport you

July 13, 2017

beach-readingIf you’re around my age you remember those “Calgon, take me away!” TV ads.  Yes, that is a live link. But how often have I wished something could transport me away from the horrors of the world today? You, too, probably. So here’s a beach reading list full of excellent distractions to take you away from the it all. At least for a little while.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (who wrote The Paris Wife) is historical fiction about the life of aviator Beryl Markham. Set in Kenya, the book is captivating in not only its setting, but the way McLain portrays her protagonist’s personal life. Markham’s parents pretty much abandoned her, she had some disastrous marriages and yet, she achieved status that women in her era simply didn’t get on their own. It’s a book I couldn’t put down.

There Was a Fire Here by Risa Nye, a friend of mine, is all about a family’s life after they lost everything in the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. She’s a really good writer and I felt like I was part of her family as they picked up the pieces of their world. Here’s a video trailer for the book.

Under the Influence by Joyce Maynard is another one of her transporting and personal novels. I love her writing. The book is about the cost of addiction, the aftermath of recovery and life. I won’t say more. Read it!

Cruel Beautiful World by Carolyn Leavitt is a family drama about sisterhood, family and the nature of love. It’s not your run-of-the-mill plot, either. Her characterization is so good I felt like I knew everyone, myself.  The reader is pulled in immediately and carried along by suspense.

Catch a Wave: the Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin.  I loved this psychosocial treatment of the entire Brian Wilson story, in details. Loved it. I came away with a deeper understanding of this deeply tormented talent–and just how deeply talented he is. Be prepared–it’s a deep dive, not a frothy confection.

A few of my writer friends have hilarious and enjoyable books just perfect for the beach this summer, and for transporting you out of the real world. Here’s what I recommend:

Diane Tolley’s novel, Daughter of Ishmael, is being lauded all over the place. It’s a scriptural novel that begins in 600 BC, a story about family, betrayal, relationships, faith–it’s about life. I wrote about it when it came out– I loved it! And yes, it has a bit to do with the Book of Mormon. Give it a read.

Humorist Elaine Ambrose edited Feisty After 45, a fun concoction of the best blogs of midlife women. I have a piece in there, so full disclosure, but I love them all. Many are by bloggers I know and enjoy. Her latest, Midlife Happy Hour, is full of amusing anecdotes about surviving careers, kids and chaos

Lee Gaitan’s My Pineapples Went to Houston is a diverting romp through her life. The subhead says it all: Finding the Humor in My Dashed Hopes, Broken Dreams and Plans Gone Outrageously Awry.  It’s hilarious, but also inspiring.

So there you have it. My list of distracting reading for our current age of horrors.  Go forth and enjoy! Oh yes, full disclosure: Amazon affiliate links above.


57 comments on “Beach reading to transport you
  1. Wonderful list, Carol. Thanks for including me!

  2. Thanks for the ideas! I love to be transported via books, and there are plenty of reasons to need that these days 🙂 Clicked here thru your shared link on Blog Share Learn – always nice to have time to explore what others are doing! Site is beautiful, btw. I just re-launched mine after a major redesign. I love the simplicity of yours – wish I’d taken a look before I chose a template 🙂

  3. Lee Gaitan says:

    Thank you so much for including me! I’m honored to be in such good company! ????

  4. MAKEBA GILES says:

    Thank you for sharing this list!! I’m headed to the beach next week, and these sound perfect for reading there!

  5. Mandee says:

    Thanks for sharing! I am itching to start reading some new books! I just need to get to the bookstore so I can pick some out! Summer is my favorite time to read!

  6. This is a great list! There’s nothing better than sitting on the beach or beside the pool and eating up a great book. Love it!

  7. Marcie W. says:

    We leave for our beach vacation in just over a week, so these fabulous book suggestions come at the perfect time! I can not wait to read on the sand with the sound of the waves in the background. Heaven!

  8. Angie says:

    Thanks for sharing! Always looking for new books to add to my reading list!

  9. Chef Dennis says:

    my wife is always looking for books to read. I will share this list with her, thanks!

  10. Hi Carol! I’m always on the lookout for good books to read. Thanks for the inspiration. ~Kathy

  11. Cynthia says:

    Very nice list! I can’t pick up a favorite just yet, but Circling the Sun and Under the Influence sound like my kind of thing!

  12. Roger Willis says:

    I would be interested in the Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson. I’m a fan of books on music and musician’s biographies/autobiographies. I’ll have to see when/if it’s available on Kindle! Because my schedule has kicked up, I normally only read when I’m on a flight. Thanks for sharing these book reading ideas!

  13. Risa says:

    Carol, I’m honored to be included on your list! What a lovely surprise to see my book here! Thanks so much–and even though my beach time is over for the summer, I’ll check out these other authors. Many, many thanks!

  14. candy says:

    Daughter of Ishmael sounds like something I would totally enjoy. Life really does begin after 45 so this would be a total interest to myself.

  15. Toni McCloe says:

    Thanks Carol. I’m heaing to the library now – with your list.

  16. Lisa says:

    Thanks for sharing this list! It’s always nice to get recommendations/reviews like this. 🙂

  17. I loved this list. I am in the mood for a lot of beach reads this summer. I just finished with The Little Paris Bookshop. It was very well written. Romance, Drama, Humor and a Tavelogue all wrapped into one! 🙂

  18. I was just looking for a list of new books for the summer! These sounds fabulous! And sadly I do remember that ad?!? does that make me old? haha

  19. What a great collection of summer books! They all sound interesting and I have a couple of them already.

  20. Ashley Cook says:

    Thank you for the list! I’ve been needing some new material! I pinned it so I could get to each other them 🙂

  21. Lois Hoffman says:

    That’s a great list! I can’t wait to dive in!

  22. They all sound great! Thanks for the recommendations.

  23. BeTh Havey says:

    Lists like these are wonderful for READERS and especially for AUTHORS. I should send you my book!

  24. Sarah says:

    I was never big on reading, but lately I’ve wanted to get into reading, I think I’d enjoy it a lot more now. Thanks for the ideas!

  25. Cassie says:

    I haven’t read any of these yet so this is a great post for me to stumble across!! Definitely need some new reads

  26. This list came at the perfect time! I am heading to the beach next week. Looks like I am heading to the bookstore first!

  27. Amber Myers says:

    Thank you for this list! I’m always looking for new books to read.

  28. Joely Smith says:

    Thank you for this awesome reading list. I am not sure I will be by a lovely beach anytime soon but it’s still a wonderful summer take me away reading list!

  29. Dogvills says:

    I am always on the look out for great books to read. Thank you so much for this list. Everything sounds interesting.

  30. Cheri says:

    My favorite book so far this summer is “The Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende. Favored every page!

  31. Nice list of readings you actually reminded me I need to plan a visit to the beach. Living so close and yet so far too busy to take a break. Hopefully soon I will be able to visit soon and enjoy a good reading. Currently I am not reading anything. Too much work.

  32. Elena says:

    What a great list. I am heading to the beach in couple of weeks so I still have time to find all these books.

  33. I am always looking for a good read, and a beach. I am in Iowa so it can be difficult 🙂

  34. Angela East says:

    This is a wonderful list. Never considered reading a book while I’m lounging in a chair there, but now I will definitely pack one. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Emely Roman says:

    I’ve been enjoying lots of podcasts lately too! Reading books on the go is great though and it kind of slows you down.

  36. I just love the list you gave us. I have been wanting to get back into reading.

  37. Heather says:

    We are in the desert this week, and sitting poolside is all that’s on the agenda. These all sound like books I need to check out while we are relaxing.

  38. uprunforlife says:

    It has been several years since I have been to the beach. We go to the swimming pool a ton lately and I haven’t thought of reading out there. Maybe I will this weekend.

  39. Mary says:

    Our beach vacation is coming up. This list will come in handy. There is another book I recently read at the beach called SUGAR. So good!

  40. Louisa says:

    I’m so captivated by the summary of Under the Influence. Looks like a great read. Maybe something to listen to on the go to help relax.

  41. Nadalie says:

    Yay, perfect timing! I’m just charging up my ereader as I type this and I was sooo wondering what new books I need to check out! Happy beach days!

  42. Rosey says:

    I like a good humorous book. I think the Pineapples book would be my choice to read. 🙂

  43. Nana says:

    I have never heard of these. I hardly have time to read but it would be awesome to start reading at the beach or on those boring evenings.

  44. Wow! What a great list of books. They all sound so interesting. It’s the rainy season here but this would make for perfect reading at home too

  45. Tony says:

    Some great insights on some great books. It’s been a long time I had the time to read a good book. Your list is very interesting.

  46. No pool or beach reading for me with the two kids! However, Daughter of Ishmael would be the kind of book that I’d want to get lost into.

  47. This is what I plan to catch up on this summer, reading books! I feel like I’ve neglected reading because I have so many things on my plate, this summer though, I have the extra time and I wouldn’t mind checking out any of your recommendations!

  48. Eileen says:

    Thank you for this list of great books to read. I am currently building a reading list for the 3rd quarter of this year. I think your book suggestions are all worth the read. I am particularly interested in Feisty After 45 and Cruel Beautiful World.

  49. Oh, lovely! We were at the beach over the weekend, but not much reading gets done with 11-month-old twins at the beach LOL Next time I’m taking a babysitter with me, and I’ll go armed with this list!

  50. Jennifer says:

    I love Lee’s book, but haven’t seen the other ones yet, so thanks for a new reading list.

  51. Linda Hobden says:

    I have just downloaded Circling The Sun onto my Kindle ???? I have already got Lee’s book downloaded, awaiting to be read. Thanks for the recommendations!

  52. DEBBIE says:

    What a great selection of reading material. While you are talking of reading at the beach we are sitting by the fire so reading is a favourite past-time at the moment. I’ll add some of these to my list. Thanks!!

  53. Elizabeth O says:

    Good for you! You have a nice selection of a wide range of readings to keep you busy for the summer.

  54. gary says:

    What? No Skipah’s Realm? That would put anybody to sleep on the beach!!!!!

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