Here’s your beachbag packing list: sunscreen, bottled water and Bai drinks (a local product!), organic non-GMO snacks, and, most important, half a dozen books, plus one. From my past year of book reviews, many of which are beachbag-worthy, I’d recommend:
- I.Q. by Joe Ide – the banter among the characters will keep you laughing all the way to where you parked the car, wherever that may be.
- Maisie Dobbs – if 21st century mayhem is a bit much for a beach holiday, try one of Jacqueline Winspear’s charming books, set in England between the wars. This is the first.
- The Never-Open Desert Diner – by James Anderson. Now is where I have to confess a bit of a crush on his half-Indian, half-Jewish protagonist Ben Jones, who drives a hundred-mile route across the high Utah desert, serving his customers, most of whom live far from civilization for a pretty good reason.
- Kompromat by Stanley Johnson – In real-life an EU official and father of one of the Brexit proponent Boris Johnson, this hilarious roman a clef explains the two baffling political cataclysms of the past two years: Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
- Back Up by Belgian author Paul Colize – a murder mystery that begins in 1967, when all the members of the rock band Pearl Harbor die mysteriously, except for one. Are they still after him?
- Paper Ghosts – Janet Haeberlin’s novel requires you to believe a young woman would knowingly embark on a cross-Texas road trip with the man she thinks killed her sister. Get past that, and it’s a page-turning cat-and-mouse game.
- Beside the Syrian Sea – a spy thriller with an unexpected hero. Does this bumbler have a plan to rescue his father from mid-East terrorist or not? No one knows. And you won’t either. Funny and surprising.