Readers nominated around 600 titles in NPR's search for the Best Beach Books Ever. The list has been whittled down to 200, and it is time to vote for your top ten out of this list. Here is the link to vote. Winners will be announced July 29.
The list contains great books and, although it was difficult to choose just ten, below are the books that got my vote:
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett.
I read this wonderful book one hot, humid August. Sitting outside on the deck in a floppy sun hat, I was absorbed in Ms. Patchett's writing, looking up only occasionally to check out the action on the lake or to take a sip of ice tea. Bel Canto is permanently linked in my mind with summer.
Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns.
This is another terrific read - and a blast from the past. Years ago Cold Sassy Tree was recommended to me by two friends and they were right about what a good story it is. One person I subsequently gave my copy of the book to said, "If you have more like this, pass 'em on." And if you haven't read this yet, consider trying it this summer.
Dune, Frank Herbert.
Everyone should read Dune at some time, don't you agree? What an exciting story. And where better to read it than on a sandy beach?
The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling.
You know Harry; good stuff.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Another great, unforgettable book that you just want everyone to read because it is such an enjoyable experience.
The Mosquito Coast, Paul Theroux.
I read The Mosquito Coast while I was in college and taking several political science courses. The courses and the book dovetailed perfectly, making this novel particularly memorable. But you don't need a brain fueled with political science theory to enjoy The Mosquito Coast; it is an excellent book.
A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin.
Another novel that I actually did read on a beach. A wonderful book, and one of the few works of fiction that I've read more than once.
Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow.
I distinctly recall, years ago now, sitting down to read a few pages of this book early one Friday evening, and not doing much of anything else - including sleep - until I finished the entire thing. Exciting book.
Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes.
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Both Under the Tuscan Sun and Water for Elephants are delightful stories. These are books that you think about when you are off doing other activities, anticipating your return to a good, good read. Perfect for vacation.