Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Bikini Reads, Pt. 1

Each year I share a list of great beach books with my newsletter list; this year, I’m also posting it on my blog. Let me know if you read any of them and send me comments or post them here if you like. My reading preferences are deliberately diverse, so there ought to be a book or two here for everyone. Oh, and I don’t always pick new titles. Each of these will tuck nicely into a beach tote. It was around 95 degrees on the beaches here in Jax today. Both my daughters went and came home coated with sunscreen and sand. Ah, the joys of Florida living. I guess I’ll do this in two parts so I can comment on each book. So my first five titles are:

Nine Parts of Desire
The Hidden World of Islamic Women

by Geraldine Brooks
Television personality Shaima Rezayee was murdered in Afghanistan because of her liberal tendencies and another woman was murdered for suspected adultery (Christian Science Monitor, May 24, 2005). So while you’re enjoying the freedom of exposing at least 80% of your body, enter the world of Islamic women through the eyes of a woman who lived among them. This is one of the most incredible books on the subject, and reportage is as objective as any I’ve found. It’s a fast read, despite the complexities of the subject.

The Drowning Tree
by Carol Goodman
Mythology, classic literature, art. All woven into a mystery that ends with a not so tidy love knot. Skillful writing. What’s not to like?

Schott’s Original Miscellany
by Ben Schott
A great gift from the British; good book for hit and run reading. You can thumb through and quickly absorb such matters as symbols for cattle branding and how to tie a bow-tie. Charming book. Good gift for a guy.

Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston
One of the best modern novels in English. Poetic, imaginative, haunting. To me, Hurston is a writer-goddess. Should be required reading for all poets and writers of fiction.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
by Mark Haddon
It’s amazing what a writer can do with a novel. This one’s a must-read for any serious writer or reader of fiction, and is accessible on many levels. You could write a book of criticism about it.

Okay, those are the first five. And of course, in a shamelessly self-promoting plug, both my books are great for the beach. Links to each, top right on this page.

3 comments:

shoofoolatte said...

Can I add another great summer/beach book that I'm reading now during one of those afternoon thunderstorms? ... "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini ...

Some blurbs from the back cover:
"A moving portrait of modern Afghanistan." - Entertainment Weekly

"This is one of those unforgettable stories that stays with you for years. All the great themes of literature and of life are the fabric of this extraordinary novel: love, guilt, fear, redemption." - Isabel Allende

"This powerful first novel ... tells the story of fierce cruilty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, Khaled Hosseini's privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country's revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in THE KITE RUNNER, are only a part of this story. In THE KITE RUNNER, Khaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence - forces that continue to threaten them even today." - The New York Times BookReview

Kay Day said...

Beth, I'm so glad you mentioned that book. I am crazy for that book. I read it when it first came out and just forgot to include it.

Hosseini writes so masterfully. So yes, thank you!
Best,Kay

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