Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beach Reads

Oprah's O Magazine has got one, USA Today has got one, The New York Post has got one, and now, Brave New Blog has got one: Best Beach Reads list. But to put a little spin on the tried and true formula, here's a list of books that, while easy to read, aren't just the same old fluff and flowers.

1. Fup by Jim Dodge -- Spanning just 59 pages, this hilarious romp features a 99 year old gambler and fierce opponent of physical movement, a giant boy named Tiny, and of course Fup, a 20 lb. mallard. Hilarious as it is magical, Fup is a great book for old and young alike. Reminiscent of Tom Robbins, Vonnegut, and Brautigan.

2. Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson -- Part noir, part western, and a whole lot of fun, Jim Thompson's cult classic is as exciting (The NY Times once called him the best suspense writer going 'bar none') as it is goofy. Or, if pressed for time, see the excellent film adaptation of the novel (set in Western Africa), Coupe de Torchon.

3. Lush Life by Richard Price -- Ace-crime writer Richard Price's holisitic take on New York, its gentrification, and the people who make it a city is a well-crafted crime novel, a bright rumination upon change, and a linguistic lesson in modern slang. Awesome, easy, and best of all, cool. From the guy who wrote a numer of episodes for HBO's The Wire.

4. Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates by Tom Robbins -- Magical, psychonautic, and chalk full of Robbins' famous brand of philosophical musings, Fierce Invalids recalls the tale of Switters, a CIA operative, fellow C.R.A.F.T. (Can't Remember A Fucking Thing) Club member, and pharmaceutical enthusiast. Probably the best put together of Robbins novels, and easily the wildest. Humor, religious intrigue, political intrigue, sexual intrigue, etc., it's got it all. Great to read and even better as an audiobook.

5. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje -- Sometimes sad but always beautiful, Ondaatje's (of English Patient fame) latest is a rangy, romantic tale which roams continents, generations, and narrators in a startlingly nomadic fashion. A beautiful work about families, love, and the trick of remembering the past.

AND PS, don't be shy! Get back to us with your own favorite beach reads!

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