A sand pail’s worth of confusion and snobbery surround what we call Beach Books. First, what defines a beach read? Macmillan defines the term as “a paperback you can take on holiday, which is good enough to keep you engaged but not so serious it will spoil your vacation. Authors bristle. My work is not breezy–just look at my beautiful metaphors!–while hoping theirs is the book everyone reads on vacay.
But the last thing anyone wants to do when they settle into a beach chair with their margarita-in-a-can (no pop-top to blow out your flip flop) is to tackle The Canterbury Tales or Moby Dick. Actually, Moby Dick would be location-appropriate if it weren’t for the distractions of flesh, frisbees, and fluffy shape-shifting clouds. Not to mention an endless and stunning body of crashing water. The salted wind teasing your hair. If a book is going to keep your attention with a constant assault on your senses, it had better be fun.
A beach read is a vacation in a book.
It’s fully immersive.
The overarching idea is that the book will complement the frame of mind you hope to be in. Both your body and brain need a break.