The other day my friend and I talked about book recommendations. She says her book club only selects “beach reads” in the summer, which she thinks to read by the season is a silly concept. But it’s one that many people follow year after year, especially in summertime months.
My friend said that in the winter, they tend to read more serious books but in the summer they read more lighter-themed books. Perhaps the cold of winter (expect in a couple of states) motivate people to read more epic, type novels. Whereas the summertime brings longer days and more sunshine and people feel more relax and ready to embrace something less serious.
I think I’m somewhat skewed on this living in Phoenix where cold is lower 60s. So I tend to read newer releases that spark my interest no matter the genre or the season. Still, this is not the case for others.
According to an article in The Guardian, the term ‘beach reads’ first emerged in the ’90s in book trade publications such as Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly. Eventually the term started to appear in mainstream media publications. Now a days, articles about summer or beach reads pop up in early May before vacation season kicks off. Both are great SEO terms that probably generates various publications tons of traffic.
But what exactly is a beach read? Why does one book make the beach read list but the other one in the same genre is left off? Does a beach read mean it takes place…by the beach?
And should beach reads be light or heavy in tone? Let’s take a closer look.
I’ve personally viewed beach reads as lighter in tone but not necessarily in subject matter. For instance, one can say The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a beach read because it’s about an aging Hollywood actress, a seemingly not serious topic, but actually there’s plenty of weighty events in the book.
Still, though one time a friend asked her Facebook page what books she should take on her beach vacation. One of her friends answered with The Luckiest Girl Alive. My immediate thought was, “that’s not a beach read!” Until I thought about it more. Thrillers and mysteries are pure escapist reads with plenty of suspense and adventure. That’s why Gone Girl was found every where for a while there and why we’ll most likely see The Perfect Mother cover lots throughout the summer.
Not everyone can or is willing to carve out time each week all year to read. Reading on a vacation might be one of the few chances they can dedicate themselves to a book. Choosing a book that sparks their interest, no matter the subject matter, is exactly the perfect beach read for that individual.
So what makes a book a beach read? That’s up to you.