Beach reads recommended by McLean & Eakin Booksellers staff. Find eight more of their picks in the Up North department of the June 2009 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

A Tree Grows in BrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (rec: Jessilynn Norcross)

One of the most engaging stories ever told. You will instantly fall in love with 11-year-old Francie, who is struggling to make sense of her world, despite her troubled family. This early 1900’s memoir was altered just enough by Smith to be told as fiction. A classic.

Weight of HeavenWeight of Heaven, by Thrity Umrigar (rec: Karen Ford)

This book is heart wrenching on many levels- first there are Frank and Ellie, who are recovering from the loss of a child; then there is the case of the American company Frank works for in India, wreaking havoc on the lives of native Indians in its typically naive American way; and lastly the Indian house servants Frank and Ellie have inherited, along with their bright young son…you see where this is going? Beautifully written!

Once a RunnerOnce a Runner, by John L. Parker Jr. (rec: Susan Capaldi)

In 1978 John L. Parker Jr. self-published Once a Runner and sold it out of the trunk of his car at road races around the country. Reading it became a rite of passage on many teams and in 2007 it was the most sought-after out-of-print book in the United States. Now back in print, it is the story of college student Quenton Cassidy’s dream to run a four-minute mile. This is a rare insider’s account of the incredibly intense lives of elite distance runners; an inspiring, funny, and spot-on tale of one man’s quest to become a champion. 

Starvation LakeStarvation Lake, by Brian Gruley (rec: From Matt Norcross)

Starvation Lake is a Michigan town that doesn’t have much to cheer about these days, which is why their winning hockey Coach Blackburn is such a legend. But when his snowmobile washes up on the shore, reporter Gus Carpenter digs deep to find that the past isn’t always the way we remember it.

Photo(s) by Paul Giam