In defense of the beach, read: What We Get Wrong With Vacation Books

IIf you want a perfect beach figure, just take your body to the beach.” At least that’s what a very wise person with exemplary values ​​said. Probably Oprah.

If only it worked that way with books. If you want a perfect beach read, take your time and choose wisely. Or, like me, end a recent Hamptons weekend and tearfully flip through the pages All lovers in the night, Mieko Kawakami’s lonely meditation on drinking too much in Tokyo. My Friends Who Made Better Choices – a selection from Reese Witherspoon’s book club; Sally Rooney – were emotionally able to read the funny bits and even idly comment on the tide and popularity of Pickleball.

The beach read is one of the most derided subcategories of contemporary fiction, like chick-lit, vampire romances, and macho spy thrillers starring Jack. It’s also vital. I’ve ruined pleasant afternoons in the sand by bringing back books I felt guilty about not having read instead of books I was dying to read. Ultimately, though, treating a vacation like a chance to catch up on the cultural curriculum is a recipe for misplaced baggage allowance. We all have our own person Infinite joke, by which I mean an uncracked book mocking us as we drag it from beach to beach in vain. Mine is random Infinite joke.

But get the right book, and it will become one of your most powerful reading memories. When I was done, I wore a dark green one-piece suit to the sunset on the rocky Croatian coast The fault in our stars, John Green’s teenage tearjerker about two teenagers with cancer. I remember the chunky writing of Mary Higgins Clark’s name on the secrets my mother packed for days on the Jersey shore. Now, when I see Higgins Clarks novels on the library’s clearance shelves, it’s hard to believe the pages aren’t stuck together with sunscreen.

What exactly is a “beach reading”? It’s more of a mood than a genre, but generalizations can be made. However, books that pair well with tiki drinks tend to tell a long story and shed some light on sick kids The fault in our stars is an exception because it’s big on jokes. Jokes are great by the sea. Genre fiction performs robustly in sunlit conditions: crime, romance, fantasy. After I devoured Philip Pullmans The Golden Compass in the Caribbean (released as northern lights in the UK), I was so desperate to start the sequel that I tried to create a Spanish translation called La Daga – the only copy I could find at the time.

Crucially – and I think this is misunderstood – that reading on the beach doesn’t do that to have being a “guilty pleasure” from the two-for-a-ten table. Sweeping, captivating epics of all brow heights – from Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet to his meaty, ecstatic cousin The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough – are perfect for long mornings of slow page turning.

And yet, some of the best beach reading is unbeatable romp. Summers ago, I inhaled a Hunger Games novel every day for three days while sitting under a striped umbrella. And I clearly remember calling out The Diana Chronicles‘Gossip details from my beach blanket to anyone who would listen simply because I couldn’t be alone with them. (“Did you know he gave Camilla a bracelet engraved with GF? For Girl Friday!”) When I think about it, Tina Brown is a true beach read queen. consider The Vanity Fair Diariesher account of working for the legendary American magazine, or The Palace Papers, her recent tea-spilling take on Meghan Markle. I think Brown would be disappointed if her sides weren’t warped with salt water by the end of summer.

Which brings us to the number one book that unifies beach reading across genres, from pot boilers to bildungsroman. Above all, a beach read must be extremely tasty. Because the beach is hard work. The sun bakes you to life from the outside. Several times a day you have to decide between holding her or burning the soft soles of your feet to reach the toilets. The people nearby have their radios turned up too loud. seagulls want your snacks; Children throw sand. The Beach Reading is your armor against the chaos on the beach. It is the escape from your escape from everyday life.

So next time you’re packing your bags for a seaside location, I’m asking you to forget that classic novel you’ve always wanted to read, plus the hottest new release about millennial boredom (unless it’s Rooney, because of it again). of jokes). SPF 45 and any book with sunglasses on the cover is the protection you need.

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