Years ago when I was hearing how great The Kite Runner was,it made me want to read it, but I knew it was heavy, and so though I thought I’d enjoy it, I could never quite gear up to read it. I tucked it into my beach bag when packing for our family trip to Cape Cod, knowing I always get some good reading in on vacation.
Not exactly the textbook definition of a beach read is it?
But in a way, it was. See — The Kite Runner is the kind of book that sucks you in and demands the reader’s full attention. And when I’m on vacation (whether at the beach or lake or on a road trip), I have the kind of time and mental focus to do just that.
This month, I encountered another book that I could not have read in the same way if I wasn’t at home with a lazy summer schedule. I read Gone Girl in two days, in about 3 sittings. I tuned out the world around me as was drawn in to the story and absolutely had to know what would happen next.
But in a review last month, I also called Paris in Love the “perfect summer read” for the completely opposite reason. It was light and easy to put down (but good enough that I wanted to pick it back up again), which meant I was entertained but didn’t have to think too much.
In Nancy’s review of Ocean Beach, she mentioned her criteria for the perfect beach read, which includes a beach setting. She asked readers to share in the comment section their idea of a perfect beach read, and they vary.
So, I won’t ask you that question (feel free to weigh in over there, and you can also enter to win two beach books), but I do want you to leave a comment answering this one:
Is there a book that you read one summer that still is linked in your mind as a memorable summer read like The Kite Runner is for me? Why?
Jennifer Donovan always enjoys vacation for the togetherness without distraction that her family always finds. She blogs at Snapshot.
For me, it’s Middlemarch by George Eliot. I know that doesn’t sound like a typical summer read, but I read it one hot August and vividly remember standing in the swimming pool for hours reading that book. After years of avoiding classics after college, I picked this up and was able to completely immerse myself in the writing and the story because I had the time to devote to it.
I now try every summer to pick out at least a few books that might challenge me too much at other times of year, but during the summer I have the luxurious option of spending all day outside, just getting lost in a book.
I do love it when books have a clear association with a time or place. I have a few that come to mind (other than the one I mentioned).
Tanya Patrice says
I don\’t have a book that exemplifies summer reading for me – but I do know I tend to like the ones that will carry me away – make me unaware of my surroundings, make me not want to move or worse yet – close the book to attend to the kids!
Summer at Tiffany’s. Part of it is likely the title, but the story was just so fun and relaxing.
I STILL have that on my shelf TBR 🙂 But I remember the summer you got that book.
For me it was Deaf Sentence by David Lodge. I love his dry wit and warped sense of humor and gave me a whole new perspective on deafness. Doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs but learning insight while being entertained at the same time is a winning formula for me.
I totally agree — love info and good reading combined.
I remember reading the book Papa’s Wife while lying in the backseat of my parents’ car on a family vacation to Chattanooga, TN. I also remember reading Rebecca by DuMaurier for the first time while lying on a float in my aunt’s pool (at least partially). I remember reading A Girl if the Limberlost on our last family beach vacation. I don’t think books have to fit certain criteria to qualify as summer reads for me, but I definitely associate books with places and times.
I just started Paris in Love today! Lovely recommendations. Thank you!
Always good to hear. Thanks for letting me know!