Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays: TOP TEN BOOKS That Should Be In Your Beach Bag This Summer.

Top Ten Tuesday is the Weekly fun meme hosted by the gals at THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH. Every week it's a new topic. This time out it's TOP TEN BOOKS That Should Be In Your Beach Bag This Summer. Once you finish reading mine (and not a minute before - ha!) head on over to The B&The B and see what books the other meme participants are talking about. Lots of good summer reading just in case there's a space left here and there on your already overflowing TBR list.

It's summer, it's hot, the sun is blinding, you don't want to read anything heavy-duty while you're sprawled on a beach chair ogling the cute guys in their speedos - right? Hey, I remember what it was like, though my ogling days are practically over. (Yeah, right.)

Wait, wait, what was I just saying about 'ogling'? I lost my train of thought...

Okay, back on topic: I've mixed in lots of old favorites with a few new titles. In my view, beach reading is all about fun, mystery and romance - there's not a super serious tome in the bunch:

1) THE BIG OVER EASY by Jasper Fforde
When Humpty Dumpty (Humpty Stuyvesant Van Dumpty III) a minor baronet, is murdered, the Nursery Crimes unit is on the case. Follow along with ace detective Jack Spratt and his assistant Mary Mary as they hunt for a killer in a not quite so nice nursery world full of double dealing and just plain bad stuff.

2) THE FOURTH BEAR by Jasper Fforde
Goldilocks a murder victim? Yes, and good riddance. Join Nursery Crimes detective Jack Spratt as once again, he and Mary Mary are on the hunt for a killer who might or might not be of the ursine variety - the three bears admit having seen Goldilocks running from their forest abode, but resist the notion that they killed her.

3) FLUKE by Christopher Moore
Marine biologist Nate Quinn's life's work is to find out why the humpback whale sings - to that end he and his fellow biologists spend a great deal of time out on the water recording and filming. When one day, Nate notices something odd on the fluke of a particular whale, nobody believes him since he appears to be the only one who noticed the message written there in foot high letters: bite me. What happens next shouldn't happen to a rational man.

This is the way I'd want to re-read these three fun books all featuring the clever Inspector Wilkins, all set in the 1930's, the heyday of the screwball mystery. When Lord Burford holds a house party at his Alderley estate, murder usually follows.

5) BET ME by Jennifer Crusie
Miranda Dobbs inexplicably finds romance with Calvin Morrisey, a man who asked her out to dinner to win a bet, a man not looking to fall in love. (Are they ever?) I admit I read this a while ago, but I have hazy memories of laughing quite a bit and enjoying the romantic hi jinks. In fact, you could probably not go wrong with any of Crusies 'meant for beach reading' books. They're usually well written and lots of fun. It's not hard to imagine that Crusie also has lots of fun writing these, and it shows.

This is the sixth in the eight books strong 'Pink Carnation'  series of books and my favorite so far. Though you wouldn't go wrong picking up any of the others, especially THE DECEPTION OF THE EMERALD RING. These are fun books (with gorgeous covers) set partially in the modern day but mostly in the 18th century just after The Scarlet Pimpernel's retirement. Hey somebody had to take up the spying slack. There were still plenty of 'royalists' and nobles to be saved and dastardly plots to be foiled.

7) THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD by Agatha Christie
My absolute favorite Christie book if I simply HAD to choose. Follow the adventures of the hapless but clever, Victoria Jones - recently fired from her secretarial job - as she decides on the spur of the moment (after meeting a dreamboat of a young man in the park) to travel to Baghdad in the pursuit of true love. Unknown to her, the world's attention is also fixed on Baghdad as the destination for a 'peace' conference which will gather the rich and powerful together in one easy to strike location. I've lost count of how many times I've read this book.

8)  WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child
To my mind, the best of the Jack Reacher books so far (along with 61 HOURS - both published last year. Pick either one or really, any of the previous Reacher books, especially PERSUADER or WITHOUT FAIL.) A thrill a minute as Reacher hands out his own brand of justice when he finds himself annoyed by a villainous family in control of a small Nebraska town in the middle of nowhere.

9) CROCODILE ON THE SANDBANK by Elizabeth Peters
The first in the Amelia Peabody books featuring an intrepid and very bossy Victorian busybody/would-be  archaeologist and her adventures in (mostly) Egypt. Begin at the beginning if you're not familiar with this wonderful series. My favorites are still the early books primarily because they're the most outrageous. Written in the style of H. Rider Haggard (mostly) as a kind of satirical homage, Peters (who also writes as Barbara Michaels) has a grand time with Amelia and you will too. If you're in a more contemporary mood, then you won't go wrong with Peters' Vicky Bliss books either. My favorites: TROJAN GOLD and NIGHT TRAIN TO MEMPHIS.

10) SMOKIN' SEVENTEEN by Janet Evanovich
I haven't read this (the 17th in the series!) yet (the book hits the stores on June 21st), but I feel no compunction in recommending it. I've read all the other Stephanie Plum books enough to know what's coming down the pike in this latest entry. Laughs galore with New Jersey bounty hunter (?!) Stephanie Plum and her inept crew. Not to mention the two sexy men in her life, Joe Morelli and Ranger. (I pick Ranger.)  If you're not familiar with this series what on earth are you waiting for?

Photo is of Olympic champion Michael Phelps.


  1. Love your Phelps photo! Almost didn't make it to the rest of your post.

    So glad to see the Nursery Crime books on here. Mystery books seem to lend themselves to beach reads and these are my favorite kinds of mysteries!

  2. Yvette, you crack me up! Yeah, my days of ogling hunks on the beach are over now, too! Not that I don't enjoy looking at 'em....I just can't SEE 'em like I used too! ha! (oh the joys of being over 40.......ok 50! ouch!)

    Love Amelia Peabody- she's a riot! (I like the Barbara Michaels gothic mysteries, too).

    Can't go wrong with a Lauren Willig book - so charming and witty.

    Fun topic! (P.S. I still have sign in/sign out issues. How about you?)

  3. Red: Oh yeah, I'm not too old to appreciate that gorgeous photo. Ha!

    Love Jasper Fforde's books. I could have recommended a Thursday Next book as well.

    Last time I was on a North Carolina beach, I travelled with about ten books. My daughter laughed at me. I could see where (for beach reading) a Kindle might come in handy. Except that if it gets sand in the works - what happens?

    Nah, I'll stick with book books.

  4. Joanne: I really think that Google doesn't know how to fix what ails our blogs. I'm switching to Firefox with my daughter's help soon as she has a free few moments.

    I'm still having trouble signing in and signing out - still entering my blog through a back door. Still having trouble commenting on some blogs.

    As for ogling: that's what sunglasses are for. HA!

  5. I need to try the Nursery Crimes series!

  6. You have some very good suggestions on your list. Bet Me is my favourite Crusie, but because it's such a snuggle-down-under-the-covers comfort read for me I associate it with winter, so I would take Charlie All Night or Anyone But You travelling instead. Or Welcome to Temptation - that's a definite summer book.
    Fluke sounds intriguing, and I actually own a copy of The Affair of the Mutilated Mink. Maybe it's time I read it. Christie is always good for quick read, and Peters' Amelia Peabody books are perfect if you're heading to Egypt.

  7. Could you remind me what this post was about? I'm having trouble getting past the Speedo. Oh, yeah. Books. I've read severa of these, and some I haven't so now I'll add them to the list. Ditto on your opinion of Fluke. I love those books!

  8. I don't know James Anderson, but those sound absolutely BRILLIANT. I will definitely have to check them out.
    Christie made my list too--I chose either Evil Under the Sun or Appointment with Death as a beach read. If I chose a favorite Christie, though, it would be Sleeping Murder. *happy sigh*

    Great list! Such fun.

  9. Ronnica: Yes, you surely do. :) They are loads of fun.

  10. Bibliophile: You know, I'm positive I read WELCOME TO TEMPTATION a few years ago but damn if I can remember anything about it. But I'd go along with your suggestion. I liked both these books. (That much I do remember.)

    THE AFFAIR OF THE MUTILATED MINK is absolutely terrific. Don't wait to read it!

  11. Carol: HA! I know what you mean. That photo of Michael Phelps is almost inspirational. :)

    My favorite Christopher Moore book is A DIRTY JOB, but because of its heartbreaking beginning, I would want to read that on a beach. Moore is so good at combining heart break and hilarity. Don't know how he does it.

  12. Birdie: EVIL UNDER THE SUN would make a perfect beach book. :)

    The James Anderson books are wonderful. Do read them if you get a chance. They are so much fun.

  13. I'd add to the list and any books by Nero Wolfe or Andrea Camilleri.

    In fact, August Heat by Camilleri is perfect.

  14. Oh, for sure, Nero Wolfe - that almost goes without saying so I didn't say it. Ha!

    I'm going to be reading Camilleri's books this summer. AND Donna Leon's. Those are my summer books soon as I can get them from the library.

  15. That was my message, didn't mean to be anonymous. Must be poltergeists conspiring with blogger system.

    I meant to put in Donna Leon's books, which are perfect for the summer.

    In fact, I just picked up her latest Drawing Conclusions from the library, and can't start it until I finish Fer-de-Lance.

    I am tempted to just bury myself in the genius' household until September, but too much global crime fiction is calling.

  16. Kathy: Well, you know I'll be reading the Donna Leon books this summer. But I've also decided to mix in some of the Camilleri ones. I haven't had a chance to go to the library for a few days, but I will soon enough.

  17. If I hadn't read your list first, I would have put the James Anderson books on my list (at least the first two--I have read the Cuff Links one yet)...but didn't want to steal. I love his send-ups of the classic British crime novel.

    Here's mine: http://myreadersblock.blogspot.com/2011/05/top-ten-tuesday-beach-reads.html

  18. I hadn't seen the picture at the top, just sped past it. But never too old to notice handsomeness, even in the young.

    Lots of good ideas here. I've also enjoyed Jennifer Weiner's books at times.

    Definitely time to visit Trenton with Stephanie.

    And perhaps time to try a few others here.

  19. Bev: I try not to read the other lists first so I won't be influenced. But it wouldn't be 'stealing' if we shared the same authors on a list. What the heck, lots of us have similar tastes. This was a fun list to work on.

  20. Kathy: How could you miss that pix of Michael in his speedo?? HA!

    Plenty of fun books to be had for summer that's for sure. :)

  21. They are nice to look at whatever your age.

    What I miss are the days my body almost looked like that, it never was quite that good, but I was close. Now, I don't even want to talk about it.

    I don't think I've read any of these books but the omnibus one sounds like a lot of fun.

  22. I remember a line from a book of short stories about a town in northern England, by Pat Barker.

    She said of a woman who was 80, who looked in the mirror, said about herself, "But I still have the same passion I had when I was 16."

    That bowled me over when I read it, and I've never forgotten it.

    Aging is on the outside, not on the inside. It may engender wisdom, but doesn't dull passion -- in many aspects.

  23. Ryan: In own biased opinion, I think you'd like the James Anderson books. They ARE total fun. I also think you'd like the Agatha Christie book, THEY CAME TO BAGHDAD.

    And if you're in the mood for a terrific thriller, then WORTH DYING FOR is the one.

    I miss the good old days of being slim and sleek....WAIT! I was never slim and sleek. Ha!

    Michael Phelps in his glory is something to see all right. A sight that never gets tiring. :)

  24. Wise words, anonymous. Age is what you make it.

    Though when the body begins to fail you, it's doubly hard to keep smiling through. :)

  25. I'm with you on numbers 7 and 9! And I hate speedos. I much prefer the surfer/skateboarder long and baggy bathing suits on men.

  26. Anonymous = Kathy D. late at night blogging tiredly and inadvertently.

    Am enjoying the Nero Wolfe, which I'll wait for your next blog about "the genius, not a god" (his words)0 to comment further.

  27. Nan: I mostly agree with you about speedos, especially for 'normal' guys on the beach. But on a body like the one Michael Phelps has...Well, baggy shorts would be a criminal waste.

    I'm just an evil old lady. HA!

  28. A list with a nice mix of light fiction and mysteries. Excellent.

  29. Thanks, Deb. I do my best. :)


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