What I’m Putting in My Beach Bag
By Allison Winn Scotch
Summer means lazy weekends, sand between our toes, and any excuse for ice cream. It also means that it’s time for a great summer reading round-up, when we’re all wondering what to bring along on a weekend getaway. And I love me a good beach read, so maybe it’s no surprise that each one of my books – regardless of when it first went on sale – is considered a “beach read,” especially my new paperback The One That I Want.
I consider this the highest form of compliment! The quintessential summer book is one that allows you to escape, regardless if you’re down the shore or trapped in an un-airconditioned apartment. It’s one that is physically light, but has enough heart to keep you turning the pages, and offers enough thrills to keep you cool as a cucumber.
As a reader and as a wife and a mom, I’m the one stocking the beach bag for every member of my family. Here’s what we’re taking along with us this summer.
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I recently read Jennifer Close’s Girls In White Dresses, and I just adored it. Funny, smart, and sassy, this book will have you calling all your girlfriends. And you absolutely can’t miss Laura Dave’s The First Husband, which is an incredible novel of anyone who ever felt like she’s lost her way. Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder is going in the beach bag too. I’ve long loved Ann’s writing, and a novel about an adventure deep in the heart of the Amazon sounds like just the ticket for my summer escape. And it wouldn’t be summer without a new Elin Hilderbrand book. I cannot wait to get my hands on her latest, Silver Girl. Finally, I just grabbed Courtney Sullivan’s new novel, Maine. All of my friends are raving about it, and I’m sure that I will too!
For my husband:
I love fiction, but my husband lives for nonfiction. This summer, he’s bringing along These Guys Have All The Fun, which is the wild backstory behind the rise of ESPN. It’s gossipy, salacious, and a little trashy: just right for the beach (and the sports lover – please help me get through baseball season!). He also picked up a copy of Eric Larson’s new bestseller, In The Garden Of Beasts. He was such a fan of Devil In The White City, and this one sounds to be a page turner in its own right. And (if he’s not too busy watching the Red Sox), he’ll getting his political and economic fixes from Thaddeus Russell’s A Renegade History of the United States or William Cohan’s Money & Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World.
For my son:
Some of the new, hot books in children’s literature are a little mature in terms of content for my boy (e.g. Hunger Games, Christopher Paolini’s trilogy), so we’re rereading some of my childhood faves, like Encyclopedia Brown. He also completely cracks up at Jim Benton’s Frannie K. Stein series, and I admit that I giggle along with him. And of course, The Magic Tree Housebooks absolutely can’t be beat: with over forty of them in the series, we won’t have read them all, even by summer’s end. And another blast from the past: he just asked me to pick up the Pippi Longstockings books, which I did happily – she was my favorite as a kid too, and I’m so glad that he’s growing up with her as well.
For my daughter:
My daughter is close to reading on her own, but usually she likes me to plop down next to her and narrate. Her current favorite is Silverlicious (the newest in the Pinkalicious franchise), and she’s completely obsessed with Freckleface Strawberry and anything Fancy Nancy, but I also plan on packing Blueberries for Sal, a classic by David McCloskey, and What the Sea Left Behind, which is an oldie but a goodie about what is living in tidal pools. Both of my kids love mysteries – fun, playful ones that aren’t too dark. I can’t think of anything better after a long day at the beach than snuggling in bed with them and starting the Sisters Eight series by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.
ALLISON WINN SCOTCH is the author of the novels Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found. Her most recent novel, The One That I Want, is now available in paperback wherever books are sold. She lives in New York.