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Still Time For The Perfect Summer Novel

August 19, 2015

The summer isn’t over yet. There’s still plenty of beach days to get in, which means there’s still time to find that perfect beach book. When else does anyone actually have time to finish an entire book other than summer vacation? And since there’s plenty of distractions and other fun to be had at the beach, you better hope you find a real page turner that keeps your attention.

While taste in books can differ from person to person, I have some suggestions of several novels you may consider to cap off the beach season. These are all novel that we humbly put forward as selection that can be enjoyed by many. I’ve chose novels of specific genres to allow you some choice in you next beach read.

Horror- Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley

The quintessential gothic horror novel by Mary Shelley. Frankenstein is creepy, foreboding and absolutely engrossing. A tale of the perils of man playing God, this is a classic for a reason. And those who are expecting the story of a mad scientist and a tall, grunting monster with bolts in his neck will be very surprised. The fascinating, layered narrative and very dark tone may seem like an odd choice to read on a hot sunny beach, but trust me, you don’t want to read it at night.

Fantasy- A Game of Thrones (1996) by George R.R. Martin

The most recent selection on this list, George R.R. Martin’s first book in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series has wasted no time in developing a name for itself. Filled with political intrigue, feuding families, and lots of bloodshed, the novel explores a fictitious medieval world in which magic is slowly returning after years of dormancy. Certainly not a children’s tale and might require a bit more attention than your average beach book (there are a lot of characters, many of which have challenging names). The novel is nonetheless a prime example of a page-turner. You’ll be hooked. Fair warning; there are four more published books in the series, each bigger than the last, and you’ll want to immediately read them all.

Adventure- The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) by Alexandre Dumas

Perhaps the most famous revenge story of all time and the inspiration of many more revenge stories to come. It’s said that when Alexandre Dumas’ novel was released in serial version, the public’s reaction to it was unmatched by any current cultural phenomenon. The novel is a great adventure, expanding a number of locations and featuring a stirring story at its core. The ease at which such a complicated revenge plan falls into place can cause some slight eye-rolling, but I dare you not to get slept up in Dumas’ adventure. You’ll be having a hell of a time before you even know it.

Crime- The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972) by George V. Higgins

Considered the greatest crime novel ever written by many crime writers, George V. Higgins’ first novel was about the Irish mob operating in Boston in the ‘70s. The novel could be described as the anti-Godfather, as it totally deglamourizes the life of organized crime. Instead of mansions decorated in marble, it’s dank one-bedroom apartments and mobile homes. Instead of dining at fancy restaurants with celebrities, it’s doing shots of whiskey alone in some dive bar. Instead of confident tough guys, it’s paranoid grown men worrying about which of their friends will stab them in the back. It’s a very human look at a life that’s often a point of fascination for the public at large.

Romance- Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen 

What’s a beach reading list without at least one sweeping romantic epic? Although it is looked at as one of the great romance novels of all time, Jane Austen’s classic is also one of the more realistic depictions of romance I’ve ever read. The love isn’t at first sight. There’s quite a few areas of ugliness to get through before the happy ending. There’s meanness, awkwardness, dealing with the in-laws, finding the wrong guy. It’s just like real life! It’s truly amazing that Austen was able to create such an overtly and embowering feminist tale in an age when even a woman writing a book would be looked at as inappropriate. But this book is not made exclusively for one gender. It’s a funny, touching, and relatable book that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy/Science-Ficton- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams

A two for one! This science fiction tale which begins with the total destruction of our planet also happens to be downright hilarious. It is rare to find a book that will make you laugh out loud, but this will have you cackling on every page. You may get some looks from other beach goers, but who cares, you’ll be having to time of your life with this read. Douglas Adams creates a wonderful mythology filled with incredibly memorable characters and some very dry humour. Although the humour is decidedly British, I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t get a kick out of this hilarious adventure. It’s a fast, fun read, and if you finish it too quick, there’s a whole series to dive into.

There you have some classics to enjoy on your remaining beach days. You can’t pick a wrong one out of the bunch and if beach season passes too soon, who says you can’t enjoy a good autumn read as well.

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