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.
4) THE AFFAIR OF THE BLOODSTAINED EGG COSY, THE AFFAIR OF THE MUTILATED MINK COAT and THE AFFAIR OF THE THIRTY-NINE CUFFLINKS - An Omnibus of three novels by James Anderson.
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.
6) THE BETRAYAL OF THE BLOOD LILY by Lauren Willig
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.