Reading is my passion, whether skimming newspaper headlines or immersing myself in a 1,000-page novel. Summer is my favorite time to read, as the break-neck speed of tourist season gives way to daily afternoon thunderstorms, cross-country travel, and 90-degree temperatures. It’s an excuse to escape to a quiet, air-conditioned corner and crack open a good book.
P is my opposite in so many ways, but especially when it comes to reading. It’s his least favorite thing to do on the planet – besides, maybe, house work. However, in the last year, we have formed a bond over reading aloud together each night before bed. Last August, we started reading the Harry Potter series (of which I have been a HUGE fan since the fourth grade), and now we find ourselves debating horcruxes over breakfast, discussing Hermione and Ron’s love life on long car rides, and constantly comparing the books to the films. It’s become a special part of our marriage and I hope reading aloud together continues for a very long time. If you want to know some interesting facts about reading, especially reading aloud, click here, here, and here.
Here are six books that P and I are packing in our beach bag this summer – let’s see if we can read them all!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Great Britain. Gosh, I feel old. After ten months of nightly HP reading sessions, P and I are finally on the last book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I’m going to cry when it’s all over. For fans of the series who have never reread the books, I highly recommend it – it’s so much fun to pick out all the clues along the way once you know the ending. For those who have only seen the movies, the books offer detailed context, plot extras, and inside jokes impossible to include in a 2 1/2 hour film (Hello, what happened to S.P.E.W.???). Just ask P how much he missed over the last 20 years by only watching the movies!
Camino Island by John Grisham
Although it’s going to be hard to transition out of our Harry Potter bliss, next on our reading list is John Grisham’s newest thriller, Camino Island, just released on June 6. Set in a small Florida town, there’s a heist, a rare books dealer, a novelist with writer’s block, and a mysterious woman from a mysterious company with a generous offer. P is a fan of the legal films based on Grisham’s books, so we’re hoping this seaside caper lives up to our “A Time to Kill expectations.”
Best State Ever by Dave Barry
I’m a sucker for any book about Florida. Last summer, I read Oh, Florida!, Craig Pittman’s tome documenting all that is weird about our beloved home state. This year, we’re tackling Dave Barry’s book of a similar vein, Best State Ever. I’m looking forward to the chapter on Cassadaga, the spiritualist camp located not too far from my Alma Mater and the “Psychic Capital of the World.” Maybe someday I’ll write my own book about the Sunshine State.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter by David Sax
I saw this non-fiction book in the newsletter for The Society of the Four Arts, a museum, library, and performance space located on the island of Palm Beach. It piqued my interest because I am a lover of all things old and outdated (in more flattering words, “vintage” and “retro”). In The Revenge of Analog, David Sax chronicles the rebirth of ideas and goods considered antiquated in our digital world, such as film photography, brick-and-mortar retail, notebooks, records, and stationery. And, the Epilogue is entitled “The Revenge of Summer,” so I thought it was appropriate beach-time reading.
Fly Me by Daniel Riley
Honestly, I took a quiz embedded in the email blast from publisher Little, Brown and Company and it generated the answer that Fly Me is the perfect book for me to read this summer. Penned by GQ writer Daniel Riley, the novel takes place in 1970’s Los Angeles. The protagonist, Suzy Whitman, is a flight attendant involved in a drug-trafficking scheme during the era’s skyjacking epidemic. Maybe not the best book to read before boarding an aircraft – however, P thinks this story is bound to be full of adventure.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Finally, our last selection: I’ve been dying to read an Agatha Christie mystery since I saw the play The Mouse Trap at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre a few years ago. What’s not to love about a plot involving ten strangers, an island mansion, and an unseen host, whose creepy voice wafts from a record player, accusing each of his guests of hiding a guilty secret? Especially when those guests begin to be murdered one by one… P and I will have to save this one for some dark and stormy summer nights.
What are you reading this summer? Have you read any of our summer Beach Reads? Any suggestions for what we should read this fall? I’d love to hear from you! Say hello at NativeJUP@gmail.com.