We could use a little distraction right now. Here are some older titles to revisit, whether at the beach or in your living room; each is engrossing enough to pull you into the story for a while but not so deep you have to work at it. Download one today from an indie bookseller (see my previous post https://bookishinthemitten.com/2020/03/19/social-distancing/) or from your local library.
Anything by Liane Moriarty
Moriarty is the author of Big Little Lies, which has been made into an HBO series. She is the master of the engrossing chick-lit novel. All of her stories take place in Australia, and the audio versions of her books (all excellent productions) reflect this with Australian narrators. These standalone novels can be read in any order. I have split my Moriarty experience between print and audio, with my most recent read being Nine Perfect Strangers, released last year. My favorite in the series is The Husband’s Secret. Learn more about Moriarty and find a list of her novels here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/322069.Liane_Moriarty
The Da Vinci Code and others by Dan Brown
Brown’s chapters are very short. This makes the book hard to put down, not so much because of the thrills (although that’s part of it) but because there is a tiny little cliffhanger at the end of each chapter, causing the reader to commit to reading the next five-page chapter, and so on. Code does the job if you want to escape – intrigue and established religion are interwoven. Code is the 2nd in the Robert Langdon Series, but many never read Angels and Demons, the first title, until they had read this book. There are a couple more book in addition to these two; learn more here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/630.Dan_Brown
The Bridget Jones series by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones’s Diary is the first title of this very funny British chick-lit series. This is a series you will want to read in order. More info: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3090.Helen_Fielding?from_search=true&from_srp=true
Almost interchangeable with Bridget is the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, who gives us another British seemingly shallow, endearingly flawed heroine who gets her man. It’s not bad! I get the two series confused all the time. Here’s a link to the first book, Confessions of a Shopaholic: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9416.Confessions_of_a_Shopaholic?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=OJdjunketh&rank=1
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series
These are funny, irreverent mysteries/crime novels starring Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter. I would read these in order, starting with One for the Money. There are well over twenty books in the series now – and counting – but you may find you’ve had your fill after eight or nine. More info: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2384.Janet_Evanovich
Any Debbie Macomber title
I’ve posted about Debbie Macomber before; her stories are uplifting, not particularly complex, and sweet. You won’t need an investment of time to complete one, and lots of her titles are always available at your library. Her characters tend to be similar in demographic; if you like the Hallmark Channel, which has featured some movies based on Macomber’s work, you’ll enjoy her books. Just google her name or plug it into your library’s search engine and get started.
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
Time travel, history, romance, and kilts. Diana Gabaldon has produced epic historical novels with complex, flawed but human characters, and a bit of fantasy / sci fi since the historical aspect is due to the main character’s travelling back to a different time, in which she falls in love. What makes these books so escape-worthy is the amount of painstaking research conducted by the author to present an authentic historic Scotland. Start with Outlander. These books contain explicit sex scenes.
Find out more about Outlander, which is the basis for the Starz TV series of the same name, here; there are links to the author and the other titles in the series which, it appears, is still not complete: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10964.Outlander?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=I9uMKgMyL5&rank=1
Stephen King’s early work
I was in my teens when King started writing, and I remember being transfixed by Carrie, The Shining, Pet Sematary, and ‘Salem’s Lot. I’m not sure if his writing changed or I did, but his later books, while good, did not hold me spellbound as these four did. I know it seems weird to list these as beach reads, but I read almost all of them in the summer.
If you like horror but haven’t read any of these first works, you need to start now, regardless of your opinion of his current titles. That being said – these are not for the faint of heart. If you don’t want to be scared, don’t read them.
I’ll be creating a page with these titles called If You Like Beach Reads, and I will add to it as I come across more titles or authors. Keep an eye on that, and also see my other If You Like pages for additional suggestions.