Thursday, July 19, 2007

The 2005 Beach Books List

1776, by David McCullough. Does this need description? No one on the distribution list recommended it, but I figured I couldn’t do a 2005 book list without including this book. I think I’m going to try it. “Try” being the operative word. ;-)

After all these Years, by Susan Isaacs: Since I’m among friends, I’ll share this and some other lowbrow suggestions (for those of you who are secretly yearning for “commercially successful” reads.) Susan Isaacs is the ultimate beach book author. Her books are fun, engaging, usually murder mysteries. This is one of the best.

Aristocrats: Sarah, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox: by Stella Tillyard. I can’t remember who told me about this book, but it’s about an 18th century British aristocratic family. Non-fiction.

Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes “A total beach read, but it does have something to say and it's pretty darn funny.”

The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, by George Howe Cult.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell; and Freakanomics by Steven Levitt: Leland thought everyone would have read these, but I, for one, have not.

Colony, by Anne Rivers Siddons: Another of my more “accessible” recommendations. Siddons writes total beach books, (many literally, as they are set at beaches) with many books to choose from. Susan Isaacs (mentioned above) is Long Island sarcasm, while Anne Rivers Siddons is southern melodrama.

Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole: “hilarious.” An old favorite of many.

Confessions of a Slacker Wife, by Muffy Mead-Ferro: “written by 40something mom who posits that today’s moms are actually wildly more domestic than the moms of the 1950s.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime: by Mark Haddon. “Quirky but good.”

DaVinci Code (great read if you haven’t gotten to it yet.)

Don't Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller (This got two recommendations. Krista Meisel even dropped it off at my house! Woo hoo! ).

Dress Your Family in Denim & Corduroy Holidays on Ice. Or anything by David Sedaris [wrote “Me Talk Pretty One Day”]: “I devoured them all on spring break.”

Falls, by Joyce Carol Oates: Again, this got some good reviews. Seemed like a good beach read. I really liked and continue to recommend We Were the Mulvaneys, which she wrote a few years back.

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson: Very well reviewed. Multi generational story told through a letter by a dying Iowa preacher to his children.

Girl with the Pearl Earring: Good read if you haven’t gotten to it yet.

The History of the Siege of Lisbon, by Jose Saramago: “Won a Nobel Lit. Prize.”

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, by Julia Alvarez
I Am Madame X, by Gioia Dilberto: “it's a part historical documentation and part fictionalized memoir of the storied, risque model in the famous John Singer Sargent painting and a fun read... similar to Girl with A Pearl Earring.”

The Kite Runner, by Khalid Hosseini. I loved it. Most everyone I know really enjoyed it.

The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B, by Sandra Gulland: This is the first in a series of three historical fiction novels about Josephine Bonaparte. Interesting, fun.

The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd: This has gotten several “thumbs ups.” It might be the “buy it in hardback” suggestion for 2005.

Metropolis, by Elizabeth Gaffney: “This got great reviews. It's historical fiction set in NYC during building of Brooklyn Bridge...”

Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides: “Dark but good.”

The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri: This got more than one recommendation.

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro: This is one I’d read about, but for which I don’t have a “live” recommendation. It’s by the author of Remains of the Day. From Amazon: “the students of an elite English school are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny.”

The Other Boleyn Girl

Oh the Glory of it All by Sean Wilsey: “A much talked about memoir...some of us know the players...I found it sad, funny, insightful, and a little self-serving.”

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, by Helen Fielding: “I just started reading [it] and am enjoying so far (30 pages in), I'm laughing out loud, etc.”

The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio

The Red Tent: “Heard it’s great.”

Saturday, by Ian McEwan:. “It has a slow start but then his writing sweeps you in just like Atonement.”

Social Crimes by Jane Hitchcock.

Snobbery, by Joseph Epstein: “Rave reviews in NY TIMES; I’ve only read intro so far – kind of a New Yorker mag approach to social critiques, what makes people tick….very humorous.”

Snobs, by Julian Fellowes: Above suggestion made me realize that I forgot to mention this one to you all. This is a WONDERFUL British novel of manners by Julian Fellowes who wrote Gosford Park. It is superbly written, very entertaining.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. “Recommended from a friend but haven’t read it yet.”

Watermelon, by Marian Keyes. “Easy summer reading.” This Irish author has written a bunch of other books, too. I also like Maeve Binchy for beach reading.

While I Was Gone, by Sue Miller. She wrote the Good Mother. This is another one I forgot to recommend. Definitely in the beach book category. Kind of suspenseful.

The World is Flat by NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman.

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