Jun 3 2014 8:16am

What is a Beach Read?

At this time every year, media outlets roll out their suggestions for books to take to the beach. These “beach reads” often include romance, and also include the implicit approval of reading such fluffy material.

A “beach read” can be something you don't need to follow intensely, or you can be interrupted while reading, or is light and fluffy.

It can also be used pejoratively, as something you wouldn't normally read, but heck, you're on vacation (kind of like donning a loud outfit or a bizarre hat, because you're away from home.

What's your definition of “beach read?” And what books do you remember reading in summers past?

Photo courtesy of Steve Bennett's Photostream

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Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I started thinking about this last night, because I find 'beach read' to be a dismissive term, as though the book isn't worthy of being read when not on the beach or on vacation. But then someone else pointed out that vacation reads need to be easy to pick up and put down, because you're usually getting interrupted, and that there is a certain frothiness (not a pejorative frothiness) inherent in things you choose to do--or read--while on vacation. I still think a lot of media outlets pigeonhole romance into 'beach reads,' because they're seen as fluffy, but I am not entirely against putting a book into a beach read category.
Darlene Marshall
2. DarleneMarshall
I like the term "Beach reads" because 1. I'm a Floridian and I'm all about going to the beach and 2. It implies a book you're reading for the sheer enjoyment of reading that book. It's not a book that goes down like castor oil, but one that is enjoyed like a frothy, fruity drink with an umbrella poking out of it. In other words, a book for the fun times in our lives--like when we're at the beach.
3. Kareni
We camp with friends for a week most summers, so for me the correct term would be 'lake reads'. As to what I read ~ pretty much the same as what I would read at home with the exception that I'd be unlikely to take a library book for fear that it might be damaged.
4. lauralee1912
My tradition is to splurge and buy a hardback book for our annual vacation at the beach. (And a bunch of magazines I don't regularly read.) Last year it was The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank, but I usually end up with Mary Kay Andrews' latest. To me, a beach book may not require as much attention and I don't lose a bigger book as easily in the sand or cottage! Not sure how I'll handle it this year now that I have a Kindle and have been loading it up with all kinds of books, beach read or not.
5. Bell
I pretty much read the same books whatever time of season. Now saying that I think there are books that I think of as fall or winter reads, lol. Maybe because in colder or stormy weather I feel like I can curl up and get lost in that world shutting this one out for a bit. But overall it just depends on my own mood.
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
To me, beach reads are books by authors I enjoy but am not going to keep in my shelves, so that if I loose the book, it doesn't matter so much to me. They must also be enjoyable but not require too much tought.
7. Scarlettleigh
Beach read to me is a vacation read -- that I can finish within four or five hours. Honestly I don't want to read a book that is going to take several days to finish, and is going to grab me by the throat and not let go . . if that makes sense . If I am going someplace new or with someone. I want to do the tourist thing, without feeling the irresistible pull of a book. Now if I am going on a private retreat - like a cabin at a lake then yeah, bring it on, because I'm sure not going to be fishing!
8. Vol Fan
I have a totally different take on a beach read. When I read a book on vacation, I want one I can totally immerse myself in, without the usual daily interruptions of everyday life. When on vacation, I don't have to worry about the phone, preparing food, interruptions, work, etc. My kids are grown now, so I want a vacation book that completely takes me away from my usual routine. I want a long, juicy, deep book that I can really enjoy. Not that I don't enjoy this kind of book at home, but on vacation, with no interruptions, what a joy to fully absorb a great book.
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