By Adrianne M. Schinkai, Head of Reference & Circulation Services, Vicksburg District Library
Summer has landed in the Kalamazoo area. As restrictions are lifting with the COVID-19 pandemic, many are planning vacations and adventures by the water. Along with swimwear, hats, and sunscreen, people are grabbing their trusted books, or “beach reads.” But what exactly is a beach read? That depends on who you ask.
Many definitions and factors can surround a beach read. Beach reads could be strictly vacation books. They could be those that are read by the waterside, whether sea, lake or pool. They could be books that give off the feeling of summer and warm weather. Others debate that a beach read is made by the style of the writing. A beach read may not have a lot of drama. It could be fiction, easy to read and oh-so-cheesy. A beach read could suck you in!
These are all fine ideas of a beach read. But to me a beach read is simply a book. As a librarian, to me a book is a book is a book. If you enjoy reading it, who is to say you are wrong with where you read it? I say this because everyone is very different in their reading habits. While some may prefer the 80’s romances that feature Fabio on the cover while they are out boating, another might want the latest political tell-all while they are lakeside or sitting on their front porch. Some may prefer not to read books at all. What if they like magazines instead? What if they listen to an audiobook while they are relaxing in the sun? Long story short (no pun intended) the definition of a beach read can be different for everyone.
Summer is a hot release time for books, which is one reason why beach reads are so popular. Along with everything else in the world, readers are seeking out the next biggest and greatest tome to pique their interest while they are out during the warm and sunny season. Here are a few items I enjoyed and would recommend for readers this summer.
“Miss Benson’s Beetle” by Rachel Joyce tells the story of two women looking to prove the existence of the golden beetle of New Caledonia after World War II. While the book was published in November 2020, the story’s atmosphere of jungle adventures put you in a warm-weather mood as you trek along with Margery Benson and Enid Pretty.
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “Daisy Jones and the Six” is formatted to read like a behind-the-music documentary, through which you hear the story of the 1970s band The Six and how they came to collaborate with the devilishly gorgeous singer, Daisy Jones. Sex, drugs and rock and roll rule in this saga of California-style fame. Reid’s latest book, “Malibu Rising,” is already listed to be one of the biggest hits of summer 2021.
“The Henna Artist” by Alka Joshi takes you to the colorful city of Jaipur as young Lakshmi escapes from her abuse-filled marriage and works to perfect her skills as an artist and advisor to some of the richest and well-known women in India. The sequel, “The Secret Keeper of Jaipur,” was released mid-June and is already looking to be just as well-received.
Looking for more recommendations? Be sure to stop in at the Vicksburg District Library and we’ll be sure to set you up for some great beach reads for the season!