Unconventional Beach Reads

| July 18, 2017

In my non-vacation life I read the lighter fare, the pulpier the fiction the better. I find it is perfect for the train and taking a break when work/school is too much. Which means I have to change it up on vacation. Hence my Unconventional Beach Reads Staff Picks for July/August. When I head to the beach I take the weightier books – figuratively & literally (I read Atlas Shrugged on vacation, which makes most people look at me askew) But I have the time, and no place to be. When I need a break, I can stare at the horizon or go swimming.

The figuratively weightier ones need space in my brain to be argued with, or to ruminate on, or to just try to wrap my head around. Things that are not always easy to accomplish on a subway commute, when your train is suddenly not running, and you have to figure out how to get to work another way. The literally weightier ones are the books that are so big you will hurt yourself trying to carry them to and from work. The plots are bigger, there are more characters and more intersections that have to jigsaw together in your brain. Basically these books require my actual attention not my partial “don’t miss your stop…hey what are the subway dancers doing…is something happened on twitter?” attention.

For some of these books I can tell you exactly what beach I was on, some I hope to read on the beach this summer. In a funny way when I come across the ones I have read, it takes me back to that beach.

There is fiction and nonfiction –  biology to social science, dystopia to historical events, cells to black holes and even some baseball. Mix and match (Nudge and Happiness maybe) or make a pair with a theme (Moneyball and Summerland).

Go stick your toes in some sand and read a good book!

 

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard

“Life was far from dull, but something essential was missing.”

 

Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors by Marian Wright Edelman

“I did come into or get through life alone. Neither did you.”

 

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

“I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story.”

 

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

“The insight that ‘everything matters’ can be both paralyzing and empowering.”

 

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

“We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”

 

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

“To be honest, I didn’t even know if I wanted to be a lawyer.”

 

Sisters In Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World by Linda Hirshman

“Women’s names and titles matter. They are so hard won.”

 

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

“Those who authentically commit themselves to the people must re-examine themselves constantly.”

 

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

“Yes, if I had recognized this instant of perfect happiness, I would have held it fast and never let it slip away.”

 

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

“Aomame loved history as much as she loved sports. She rarely read fiction, but history books could keep her occupied for hours.”

 

The Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

“They had a choice all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father, or President Truman.”

 

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

“When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city.”

 

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Master was a little crazy; he had spent too many years reading books overseas, talked to himself in his office, did not always return greetings, and had too much hair.”

 

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

“The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you’ll ever breathe in Los Angeles County. It carries the taste of promise on it.”

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Urgent message to the inhabitants of this town, they say. Depart immediately to open country.

 

Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

“I claim no special knowledge of when the end of science will come, or where the end might be found, or whether an end exists at all.”

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

“There’s no way of knowing exactly how many of Henreitta’s cells are alive today.”

 

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

“I came to know him most intimately when he’d ceased to be.”

 

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

“It should have been like a storybook here.”

 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

“The party has been on since eight o’clock and already the guests are bored.”

 

Summerland by Michael Chabon

“Ethan said, ‘I hate baseball.'”

 

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

“My name is Marcus Yallow, but back when this story starts, I was going by w1n5t0n. Pronounced ‘Winston.'”

 

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

“But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”