We’re gonna go for five titles today —
I’ve never been one for flashy, empty airport reads like The Abacus Conundrum. And I cringe at the categorization of “beach reads.” Still, I admit that there are books that are quick, fast-paced and comparatively easy reads — books that don’t require rumination or notes in the margin. Those are the kind that are perfect for a long weekend, a trip to the beach, or a summer hammock.
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak
Even as a child, I had an inkling that Carolyn Keene must be more than one person. How could she write all those books? And the formula was easy for me to pick out but I still loved it. In fact, I used it to my advantage. I would start a new book before bed, take it to school and read after tests, etc., then I would finish it on the way home from school that afternoon. It was great fun to learn more about the history of Nancy and revisit some of my favorite (if obvious) plot points.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
With so many adaptations and references, it’s one of those books that you think you know. I must have read it as a child, but it was so fun to read again as an adult. It’s funny and clever and not nearly as obtuse as it seems when you’re little. The absurdity makes more sense, somehow. Maybe that is what adulthood does to you…
The Visitors by Sally Beauman
Use that beach sand to pretend you are discovering an ancient Egyptian tomb. Told as a recollection, Lucy remembers being sent to Egypt to recover from typhoid fever. She befriends another English girl, attached to the Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon archeological dig. By association, she is part of the most dazzling discovery in modern times.
I would have preferred the book just be told from Lucy’s childhood point-of-view and remain in 1920s Egypt, but it is overall a very strong story.
The Impersonator by Mary Miley
Leah Randall, an accomplished vaudeville performer (and older than she looks) is mistaken for Jessie Carr. Carr is the heiress to a fortune built by the lumber empire but has been missing for the past seven years.
Set in the roaring 20s, the plot speeds along like a flivver late to the dance. Our heroine glides between society parties to underground speakeasies to backstage dressing rooms with ease. At times the book is reminiscent of the original Parent Trap and at others an Agatha Christie rural house mystery.
Just Enough Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
Basically anything by Wodehouse is perfect for summer — or anytime of year. I can’t get enough of the Jeeves and Wooster antics. This compendium brings together almost all of the Jeeves stories into one book. There are nearly 700 pages of snarky remarks, lost cow creamers, local church fetes and glassy-eyes newts to love.