Monday, May 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week, we are listing our top ten favorite beach reads.  While I love the beach and my home state is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the US, I only very rarely get to travel to the coast, much less relax and read there.  I also do not read many breezy, beach-friendly books.  So, my top ten list includes my favorite books which are set at the beach, on an island, or at sea!

1.
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
While I don't usually read a lot of contemporary young adult novels, I absolutely adore Sarah Dessen.  She is a native of my native state, North Carolina, after all, and I love to read her compelling books set in small towns along the beautiful NC coast.  Along for the Ride is one of my favorite Dessen books.

2.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I recently read and reviewed And Then There Were None, and was truly captivated by it!  This Agatha Christie novel is a suspense story in which ten people are invited to a small, picturesque island as the party guests of an unknown host.  One by one, the guests are mysteriously murdered.  It becomes clear that someone thinks they all deserve to die, but why and will the murderer succeed in dispatching all of the stranded guests?

3.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
I am writing my review for The Awakening right now, and hope to have it posted soon.  This novella, set in French Louisiana, is the story of Edna Pontelier, a married woman who embarks on an affair and a process of self-discovery.  Chopin definitely invokes the sea, as in this beautiful quote: “The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation. The voice of the sea speaks to the soul."

4.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
I reviewed this book a few years back and gave it 4 of 5 stars.  The story involves 50 American Junior Miss beauty pageant competitors who end up stranded on a desert island after their plane crashes and must cooperate in order to survive.  It's a bit on the longer side as far as YA novels go, but lots of fun and not without its more insightful character moments.

5.
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
I often have a difficult time convincing people to read this book.  It's about a young girl in Hawaii who, along with some of her family and many of her community members, discovers she has Hansen's Disease (leprosy) and has to live for many years on the isolated island of  Moloka'i with the rest of her fellow sufferers.  Yeah, can't imagine why people often seem reluctant to read this book!  It is by no means uplifting, but the characters and their incredible courage, heart, and love for one another make Moloka'i an amazing read.  I really give Alan Brennert credit for writing so beautifully about a place and people which even historians are often ignorant about.  If people think of Moloka'i at all, they probably think of Saint Damian de Veuster, the European priest who worked and ministered on the island until he himself also contracted Hansen's Disease.  In this book, the largely forgotten Hawaiian people who lived and essentially waited to die on Moloka'i are the focus.

6.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Everything Neil Gaiman writes is gold, in my humble opinion.  This book is a short one, perfect if you haven't the time to tackle American Gods or the complete Sandman.

7.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."  This is one of my favorite novels, though du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel may be even better.  The newly-married Mrs. de Winter, a shy young woman whose first name we never learn, arrives at Manderley, the beautiful estate by the sea owned by her husband Max.  She finds that Manderley is haunted by an exceedingly unpleasant housekeeper and the overpowering memory of the first Mrs. de Winter, a certain Rebecca.  I could not recommend this one enough!

8.
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
I would locate this historical fantasy book and its two sequels somewhere along the blurry borderlands of young adult and middle grades.  Young Jack is kidnapped from his home by brutal and half-mad Vikings, including the valiant but equally brutal shieldmaiden Thorgil.  In Jack's world, all the creatures from Norse mythology--including everyone's favorite, trolls!--are all too real.  It is nice to see a series that focuses on Norse beliefs and cosmology, since most fantasies seem to overwhelmingly borrow from Greek myth.

9.
The Tempest by William Shakespeare
The Tempest was probably Shakespeare's last play and includes his farewell to his audience and to playwriting through words spoken by the magician Prospero, who has spent many years stranded on an island.  The cross-dressing comedy Twelfth Night also begins with a shipwreck, and I cannot forego mentioning it because it's one of my favorites!
    
10.
Yet another mysterious island, this one supposedly the location of a marvelous buried treasure!  Before I read it, I thought I already knew the story of Jim and Long John Silver like the back of my hand from having seen so many series and movie adaptations.  I was wrong, of course.  As usual, reading the original book even if you think you know the story proved to be more than well-worth the effort, for there are psychological depths in this book that are not present in many of the adaptations.

I hope you picked up a few ideas for your TBR from my list, and would love to read yours.  Feel free to leave a link to your Top Ten when you comment!

13 comments:

Stephanie Shepherd said...

I was just eyeing Beauty Queens earlier today - it sounds like a pretty fun idea and I mostly really like Libba Bray's writing. Sounds like a perfect beach read!

Mallory @ The Local Muse said...

Oh! Great list! I love both The Awakening and And Then There Were None; Christie made my list this week too because I love reading mysteries by the pool. I also need to get to Rebecca soon as I have been meaning to read that one forever!

Mallory @ The Local Muse

Lenore said...

Along for the Ride made my list as well. Beauty Queens looks fantastic!! Definitely wishlisted it! :)

chrissireads said...

Beauty Queens is a great choice for a beach read! Great list!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I like your idea of listing books set at the beach. Treasure Island, for sure. Another good one that I read some years ago is Maine.

http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2016/05/what-i-hope-to-read-this-summer.html

cleopatra said...

I've had Moloka'i on my TBR list, so I'm glad to hear that it's so good. I went through a Hawaii-reading phase quite awhile ago, so it would be good to get back to the islands!

I hated Rebecca with every fibre of my being and I don't think I could say that about any other book I've read. I found the writing weak, weak, weak. But I know I'm in the minority as many people just love it.

Ah yes, The Tempest ...... one of my favourite of Shakespeare's plays. Which reminds me that I need to get to my Shakespeare project .... it's been horribly neglected this year.

I enjoyed reading your top ten, Kat! :-)

Martha Woods said...

Agatha Christie is just amazing! And Then There Were None is definitely one of her best books though, and that's saying a lot, considering how many she wrote!

Amanda @ Gun in Act One said...

Great list! I really want to read Rebecca again and Beauty Queens has been on my TBR forever!

Kat said...

@Martha Woods-- Yes, I want to read more books by Agatha Christie, but hardly know where to start! Thanks for stopping by.

@Cleopatra--I have talked to several other people who really disliked Rebecca, My Cousin Rachel, and/or Daphne du Maurier in general when I mentioned her books, so I don't think you are alone. Perhaps she is a very polarizing author. I also love the Tempest, and would like to reread it this summer were I not trying to read all of Shakespeare's plays. Maybe I will check out your Shakespeare project--sounds like a good way to get motivated!

Kate Midnight Book Girl said...

Great selections- Rebecca, And Then There Were None and Beauty Queens are all perfect for a beach vacation!

My Top Ten Tuesday


Carrie said...

I really want to start reading Sarah Dessen's books soon! My TTT

Lindsay said...

I loved "Molokai" -- and I actually read it on the beach while living in Hawaii. It inspired us to take a mule ride tour down the cliffs to the Kalaupapa leper colony from the book, which was a pretty cool experience.

"Rebecca" and anything by Agatha Christie (I've yet to read her) have been on my list forever. Maybe they'll make it on my fall must-read list!

Kat said...

@Lindsay--Wow, that sounds like an amazing experience! I love visiting historical or abandoned sites. Lucky you, living in Hawaii! :)

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