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List, Top Ten

Top Ten Beach Reads

This week’s Top Ten (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is featuring our best beach reads.

The main problem for me this week is that I read everything down the beach. I live literally two minutes walk away and in winter, I can just about see the sea from one of my living room windows. In true British style, I’m down the beach in any weather, although rain would put me off reading there!

I Have Never Eaten Gherkins Here

Yes, that’s me on the beach in winter. I’m guessing, for most people, a beach read is something easy-going or light-hearted and not something you’d be embarrassed about being caught in public with! However, on my list this week, are books that all feature the sea in some way.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

The sea seems to play a big role in a lot of du Maurier’s novels, especially those set in her beloved Cornwall, where there’s a lot of coast and people rely on the sea for a living. Rebecca’s sea is sinister and deadly.

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall

Forget Jaws, will go you into the water after reading about the Ludovician?

Jingo by Terry Pratchett

The island of Leshp is based on the real life volcanic island of Ferdinandea which rose from the sea only to sink again. It’s the 21st Discworld novel but one I feel works as a standalone read too (but, seriously, you’re missing out).

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

This is set down the coast from where I live, based on the lives of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot who were the women behind some of the greatest fossil discoveries. In a male orientated world, they had to fight to be recognised and respected. The novel is quite historically accurate with only the interpersonal relationships made up. I’ll be giving a copy away of this book during the Small Blogs, Big Giveaways event next week.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

I recently read this for my book group and it’s a real life account of Louis Zamperini’s experiences in World War II. After being shot down, he survives an amazingly long time at sea in an ill-prepared lifeboat.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

An unsettling tale of surviving an Antartic winter amid superstitions and fears.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Afterlife is an island where we age backwards. I read this imagining it was the Isle of Wight!

Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X Pham

A travelogue and memoir rolled into one. I read this ages ago but one of the parts that stuck with me were Andrew’s childhood memories, when he left Vietnam as one of the “boat people”.

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

I can’t believe I forgot about this when I was writing my film adaptation blog hop post. It’s one of my favourite films of all time. I have to admit my memories of the book are a little fuzzy, I think they have been overtaken by Carroll Ballard’s wonderful direction. Both the terror of the shipwreck and the time spent on the island stick with me much more than the racing aspect.

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Not a book everyone loved but I think that’s because it’s so different to his normal fare. I actually liked the tale of Mau’s ritual passage into manhood turning into isolation and the piss take of the British Empire.

Vamos a la Playa

Both photos are by me, click through to go look at my Flickr photostream.

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  1. Birgit

    Let me just say you photos are AWESOME!!!

    Oh and good to see you're obviously a Pratchett fan too πŸ™‚ !

  2. Becky LeJeune

    The photos ARE fantastic! I've only read Rebecca on your list so far and I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree. I read it in the pool one summer when I was in high school. And yes, beachy reads for me tend to be whatever I'm in the mood for at the time.

  3. Connie

    I have to agree with the previous comments – the photos are amazing.

  4. Birdie

    Ellie, what a great list. I'm jealous in the nicest way that you live so close to the beach. Living in Indiana is as far as I've ever lived from a body of moving water, and I miss it terribly!
    Um, but your list–Definitely Rebecca. I think of it as a "last of the season beach trip" read, since I think the autumnal chilliness setting in goes well with it. Of course, you don't really have a "season" for beach reads πŸ™‚
    And I would put the WHOLE Black Stallion series in the beach bag and head out!

  5. Anonymous

    I've only heard of some of these – I should check the rest out. Thanks for the suggestions. πŸ˜€

    And thanks for visiting me this week!

  6. Jim

    Cool list! I actually have Remarkable Creatures but haven't got round to reading it yet – I'll bump it up my list.

  7. So many books, so little time

    love the pics! Great quality.

    I love shark stories of any kind, you MUST tell me how it is

    Lainy x

  8. B

    I feel like I am one of the last book bloggers to have not read Rebecca. I'm going to try and get to it this summer.

    Nice list and lovely photos πŸ™‚

  9. Priya

    Nation is awesome, it almost made it to my list! But I didn't think it's much of beach read; so I stuck to Discworld πŸ™‚

  10. KarenSi

    Your photography is amazing!

    I have only read Rebecca on your list and I loved that book. Great way of choosing titles. I'm not sure I could pick ten books with a beach setting.

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