5.31.2016

Top 10 Beach Reads


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature of The Broke and the Bookish.

I love going to the beach; I also just love sitting by the water in general. If I could safely have a kiddie pool in my apartment, I would lay out by it (but unfortunately, kicking up my heels with the sink full of soaking dishes just isn't the same!) I can pretty much read anything poolside, but here are some of my favorites:


1. Jaws, by Peter Benchley. 
Yes, seriously. I'm already semi-terrified of going in the water, so this one really doesn't do anything to make that worse. 

2. Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort-Of History of the United States, by Dave Barry
Apparently Dave Barry is not for everyone. This is not a concept I understand. He's the kind of writer that I find funnier every time I pick him up. So if you don't mind looking like an idiot cracking yourself up, this is (probably) for you.

3. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, by Lauren Willig
I've only read the first book in this series, but I have no doubt that Willig's historical flair runs through its entirety. I have to say, though, I'm a little concerned about her running out of color and flower names. Book 10 in the series is The Passion of the Purple Plumeria which just sounds awful, but then it's followed (Book 11) by The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, which sounds like something the Brontë teenagers made up. 

4. Actually, while we're on that subject - Charlotte Brontë's juvenilia (e.g. The Secret, Tales of the Islanders, etc.) which is fantastical and perfect for reading on and off while you doze by the water.  

5. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
But then, I recommend The Princess Bride for all kinds of locations. It's an awfully fun book to just lose yourself in when you're laying out. 

6. The Princetta, by Anne-Laure Bondoux
A children's epic with adult appeal. It's perfect when you're by the water. 

7. Mariel of Redwall, by Brian Jacques
You don't *need* to have read the first three books in the Redwall series to appreciate this one, but I strongly recommend doing so. Mariel is great for the beach, though, because we first encounter the title character in a shipwreck, and pirates (naturally) follow. 

8. On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan
McEwan is always a bit dark, but it's a great vacation read.

9. The Pirates of Barbary - Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the 17th Century Mediterranean, by Adrian Tinniswood 
While it's a fair distance from the classically romantic notions of pirating, it's a great non-fiction read for your beach bag. 

10. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
Thought I was going to leave Jane out, did you? Foolish mortals. Of course not. Persuasion is my favorite and, as such, I can read it just about anywhere. But the nautical undertones make it an easy to ones' beach reads. 

5.29.2016

Collected Book Reviews (5/22 - 5/28/16)

In addition to TLG's review of Bruce Wagner's The Empty Chair, be sure to check out more from the critics in this week's collected reviews:

The Thank You Book, the 25th and final book in Mo Willems' "Elephant and Piggie" series, and which Maria Russo acknowledges as a sort of "sacramental" experience. Willems is launching a new imprint "Elephant and Piggie Like Reading" later this year. 


Smoke, by Dan Vyleta which Jason Heller cites as being Dickensian in a way, but as also managing to avoid "anything remotely resembling cliché."


Brenda Janowitz's The Dinner Party - based on Marion Winik's review ("fun premise...hilariously precise") this one sounds like it'd make a great beach read. 


Finally, rather than another review, check out this report from The Guardian on two new papers that analyze the spells in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, and their likelihood of realistic use. (Seriously, science? It's magic. Back off. Let us have our nice things.)


5.26.2016

Review: The Empty Chair: two novellas, by Bruce Wagner

I'm warning you right now - there are some recent Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

I know - that's not what you came here for. I'm sorry for that. The fact is, when I sat down to write this review, I had no plans of bringing up Game of Thrones. I was simply trying to work out how best to explain Bruce Wagner's compellingly difficult work. Suddenly it came to me - this week's episode "The Door" is the perfect companion piece to this book's backbone. So if Game of Thrones is not your thing, or it is but you still haven't watched this week's episode - sorry - you can skip this review if that's going to spoil something for you. Come on back later. For everyone else, let's dive in (after the break)