Books for the beach
Summer holidays are a book-lover’s best friend. We spend those long hot days reading until late in bed because we don’t have to get up early, relaxing at the beach or at the pool or just lying about, reading some more, having club sandwiches and fries delivered to your deck chair by someone who looks like your favourite Griffyndor or Ravenclaw (or smurf, for all I know).
Dangers lurk .
In Australia, summer is a time of adventure, right? Maybe even extreme adventures. Some people go surfing or mountain-biking or diving in shark-infested waters, kayaking or sailing. Or play cricket for days on end in 35 degree heat.
Not me, I hear you say.
Oh no no no. Not we book lovers.
Are you kidding?
Reading is an extreme sport. It’s one of the most dangerous leisure activities on earth.
You think I’m joking?
Your honour, allow me to present my evidence.
Exhibit A: Jaws, by Peter Benchley.
I never saw the famous horror movie Jaws. Or Jaws 2, or Jaws 3 or Jaws the Christmas Special or Jaws Meets the Wiggles. No way on earth. Why? Because I read the book, one summer’s day, lying on a banana lounge in front of a tent in the Anglesea camping ground and I NEVER SURFED AGAIN from that day on.
To this very day, every summer, I’ll be frolicking in the shallows at my favourite beach and suddenly I’ll remember Benchley’s description of the “big fish” moving silently through the water hunting prey and in my head I’ll hear that freaky theme music and I will run for my life clear out of the surf and up on to the beach - and preferably into a nearby fish and chip shop to take my revenge by eating a huge fillet of flake.
Exhibit B: War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
OK, so the book itself is not a threat to human life and limb. Far from it. It’s my favourite book, from the very first time I started reading it, one summer on the beach (it cools you down nicely, since it’s set in Russia and it’s always snowing). Unfortunately, I found it so mesmerising, I didn’t notice how pink I was getting.
I was so sunburnt my shoulders blistered and I couldn’t bend my legs for a week. You know that tender bit behind your knees? Nasty.
Exhibit C: The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
If you haven’t read it yet, I can’t think of better holiday reading, except for one major problem. The film adaptation doesn’t open until March 23 (but who’s counting?) and the trailers look so damn thrilling the suspense might kill you before you ever get to see it.
Exhibit D: one day, one time...
You might read a book that changes your life. Or your mind. It could be the very next book. It could be this summer.
So be warned.
Reading is not for the faint-hearted. At least, it’s not for the easily scared or sunburned.
Or is that just me?
So now you have been warned, what do you plan to read in your hammock/deck chair/ocean liner/camel this summer?