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Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I’ve always had a problem with the ‘Beach Read’ expression, because I never really understood its meaning.  I assumed for the longest time that it was just a marketing stunt to sell books during the summer but was never satisfied with that explanation. So, I decided it was a good topic to investigate a little closer. Up to now, my idea of a summer reading list consisted of a list that included all the books that I have not been able to read for lack of time. In other words, my beach reads were pulled out from my ‘catching up’ or ‘to be read’ lists. Maybe that is why I never got the classification of ‘Beach Read’ as a subgenre.

However, I have discovered during my mini investigation that it is a legit thing! You see, during the summer we are surrounded with distractions. We have beaches, lakes, summer camps, outdoor adventures, yard and garden work…and yes, kids out of school with too much time and energy. Many of us take this time for traveling, others for catching up on things before the fall. So even though we like to think that we will have a lot of time to finally enjoy a few reads, the truth is that our brain will be all over the place while we are reading. Therefore, a beach read can be defined as one that doesn’t require a lot of concentration. Some consider romance and chick-lit beach reads because of their light characteristics. But I can’t limit myself to just few genres. So now that I understand a little better what a ‘beach read’ is, I came up with my ultimate beach read characteristics.

  • Simple language. Yes, I know we writers love to showcase our vocabulary, but if I am to read a book while watching my kids and puppies playing in the pool or the ocean, I want to to be able to read with one eye watching, so no big words!
  • Easy to follow plot. I am on vacation in the summer, relaxing and forgetting all my problems and challenges of my job and daily life. My brain has gone into hibernate mode, so I want to read a commonsense plot with no more than one twist.
  • No sad stories! I am happy during a vacation…do not want to spoil that.
  • Still want it interesting though. No dull characters and plots. I still want it to captivate me, so yes, it needs to be a good, well written book.
  • In my case, all fiction genres are welcome in my ultimate beach read list. However, I don’t consider nonfiction titles as beach reads (just my own personal preference).

So, what is your ultimate beach read?

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