Beach Reads

At the beach, time is truly on your side. Take advantage of those languid hours of leisure by basking in a terrific beach book. The staff at The Bookstore in Frankfort (330 Main St., 231-352-9720) named their picks for super summer reads, and we added a few of our own. So just pick a beach (find some solid suggestions in Serene Breaks: Pick Your Pleasure) and let the reading commence:

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. The Jersey girl detective with the big mouth and even bigger hair strikes again with 12 Sharp, the latest in Evanovich’s laugh-a-minute mystery series, but any story Plum stars in is a sweet summer read.

Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood. A tender, moving memoir of a white Brit’s experience in Africa during the Rhodesian civil war.

Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Peek behind the Wizard’s curtain and visit Oz’s underbelly.

Steve Hamilton’s Alex McKnight series. The Upper Peninsula is the stunning backdrop and star for the page-turning, action-packed mysteries ex-Detroit cop McKnight solves.

Mark Spragg’s Where Rivers Change Direction. The memoir of a rural Wyoming boy who yanks readers on a visceral ride through a spare but stunningly detailed portrait of his life on his family’s ranch.

William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. If The Bookstore’s ever-dwindling stock of this fantasy classic is any indication, it’s a summer essential. (Thankfully, the staff re-orders faithfully.)

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Mermaid Chair. A stifled, middle-aged woman finds herself on Egret Island, torn between her husband and rising desire for a soon-to-be monk.

Michael Lindley’s The Seasons of the EmmaLee. A compelling tale of unexpected love, betrayal, murder and redemption set in idyllic Charlevoix during the 1940’s and present day.

Bradley T. Platt’s Deadstream. A young boy discovers his mother’s body, a special agent delves into the investigation of a local law
officer’s drug trafficking — and it all happens in Houghton Lake.

Lynda Twardowski is travel editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.[email protected]

Note: This article was first published in July 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.