A while back, I posted a short list of Alternative Beach Reads, and it was fairly well received. (Thanks guys! Don’t forget to pin things if you like ’em.) But since I’ve been on a bit of a bender, I wanted to update you with MORE books I think should be on your to-read list when you hit the sand.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The essential and ridiculous story of how to cope when your planet has been blown up. First read this book when I was in the eighth grade and entirely did not get the humor. Now? It’s a must read, at least once a year. Maybe it’ll inspire you to hit the road yourself.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The original tale of maintaining your childlike wonder. Plus side: can read to the kidlets. An awesome entry on the list of Alternative Beach Reads.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Page-turning murder mystery with an ending you’ll never see coming? This one was the original. Will inspire you to watch some Murder, She Wrote and also lock your doors while you sleep– especially if you’re vacationing at a country bed & breakfast.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
I offer up Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone because 1) it’s a classic and 2) really, when was the last time you read it? I re-read it recently (and also marathoned all the movies over the course of a weekend) and was just delighted with how beautifully the story moves in the first book. Without a doubt, a masterfully written book you should read again. Stat.
The White Album by Joan Didion
Joan Didion is brilliant. Joan Didion gets it. Joan Didion peeking out of your purse makes you look really, really cool. And reading Joan Didion actually does make you really, really cool.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My favorite book by Kurt Vonnegut is Mother Night, which is about a reformed Nazi and a bit too heavy to actually read on the beach, casually. (“Oh! What are you reading?” “A story about a man grappling with the decisions of his youth to come to terms with his sullied soul before his execution for war crimes. You?” “Franzen.”) And, let’s face it, Slaughterhouse isn’t a yuk a minute either. But it’s absurd enough to feel like you’re having fun while thinking about family, legacy, and what you would do if you watched your life over and over again. Bonus points: aliens shaped like plungers.
Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
The politics of race, ethnicity, culture, and the economy won’t be fixed by the Fourth of July. And because this summer is going to be hot, sultry, and full of complex framing and re-framing of social narratives, I suggest you read Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon as soon as possible. It is not a page-turner. It is not a fun read. It is not going to be made into a movie in 2017. But it is essential reading for Summer 2015.