Tuesday, May 15, 2007


With summer almost here it’s time to get serious about gathering together enough books to help wile away the hours at the beach, pool or while stuck in the airport or on a plane. I call these, though this title isn’t original to me, “Beach Books.” The following titles are perfect examples of what a good beach book should be as their stories are compelling and they require little more of the reader than to sit back and enjoy a great story.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer is the story of the enduring relationships between parent and child. Told mostly by the very precocious nine year old Oskar Schell, this is the tale of his quest to find the lock that fits a key that belonged to his father who died in the 9/11 Trade Center bombing. From this work of interconnected stories the reader gets a good sense of New York and its inhabitants as well as new perspectives on life when you join along on this journey.

When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton is a prime example of a great beach book. It is as literary as the former selection but is also the perfect potboiler to keep your mind off the heat. In this family story with a very unusual twist, a man's first wife suffers brain damage as the result of an accident and for all intents has the intellect of a six or seven year old child. The husband remarries and his second wife cares for Madeline and raises her along with the children of that marriage.

Happy vacation.

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