If you're anything like me then when you go to the beach there are two things you remember no matter what: sunscreen and books. Both are essential to a having a good time. SPF 1000 and a good book are the key ingredients to not hating the beach if you don't worship the sun. If you need a few suggestions for when you are reading between sips of delicious alcohol.
So that begs the question....
1. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The first thing a lot of readers are going to notice is that this book isn't exactly a phone book in length, but once you bend the spine you'll forget all about that. Especially considering the bizarre twists and turns you take as your progress through the book. It starts out following the unnamed protagonist visiting an old friend after a funeral. Seems innocent enough and you might even get a Nicholas Sparks vibe, but then Gaiman takes you out of your comfort zone.
The story follows a boy living a world driven by his desire to be alone and the negligence of his parents. Until one fateful night, he meets a girl who turns his world upside. Waking up with coins in your mouth one night and a woman who grew from a worm that was pulled from the young boy's foot are two of the fantastical turns the plot takes. Neil Gaiman pulled out all the crazy stops with The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The story is of the love of new found friends and dodging mystical dangers all the while reading as a coming of age novel. It's as quick and as intense of a read as there is and it'll make those beach beers all the better.
2. The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
I almost removed this book from my list because for whatever reason I can't stand looking at author Sam Sykes's Twitter picture. It's irritating, but that doesn't take away from his ability to write. The first thing you should know about the City Stained Red is that the world is chaotic. Not in a "omg what the hell is going on here" type of chaos.
The story follows a character named Lenk. Lenk is an adventurer of sorts, but seeks out a normal existence as a normal piece of crap individual. Now, as far as fantastical journeys go that may seem fairly boring, but couple in the fact that he is desperately just trying to retire and is awful at everything aside from being an adventurer. That's how the man made his living after all. He did receive a final payday, but naturally it was an I.O.U.
So that's how it gets going for the reader. There are plenty of other story lines to go around in Sykes's book. It's an enriching addition to the fantasy genre and will keep you on the beach long after you've become a crispy slice of human bacon.
3. Aftermath #1 by Chuck Wendig
Now, I may have added this book to the list because I met Chuck and he was awesome, but let me note that I am a very spiteful Star Wars critic and purist. I thought the new movies were atrocious and yet....yet, I was extremely curious what happened after the end of Return of the Jedi.
Aftermath #1 (there's going to be three of them) picks up after the destruction of the Deathstar. Focusing primarily on Wedge Antille's and the Republic's attempt to wrap up the war. The reader is also introduced to another Republic hero, Norra Wexley and her struggle to save her home world.
I found it interesting that after the end of the final movie, everyone assumed it was all roses, but in reality war is brutal. The Empire was made up of millions, if not billions, of troopers. Sure a good chunk perished on the Death Star, but by no means were they gone. Well, wouldn't you know it, the Imperial elites weren't ready to roll over and die either.
If you wanted to know how they dreamed up the Force Awakens well Chuck didn't go that far, but he definitely fills in the gaps.
4. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Griffin
I've had a few people tell me that I never recommend anything other than fantasy, classical or science fiction. Well, that's because that's what I know and what I like to read. Despite that, I decided to cave and recommend a book from a writer that I know literally nothing about.
So according to Goodreads, All We Ever Wanted tells the good life of Nina Browning. Following her marriage into Nashville's elite and the fortune her husband rolls in, Nina begins to question if all these changes are fundamentally change who she is as a person (neat). Nina wasn't the only one who got lucky in life. Tom Volpe is a single dad with a headstrong daughter (so we know he got lucky once) and while he slaves away, his daughter gets into a prestigious private school in Nashville.
Naturally, these two families are slammed into each other by some Lifetime Original twist of fate. In this instance it's a drunken photo that brings the community against them. Somehow, all of this has them questioning their very existence.
It's not my cup of tea, but if you are drunk at the beach who cares?
Get drunk at the beach and read a good book. Just make sure no one you care about drowns or is eaten by a shark. They'll make the paper, but that'll be it.