3 Personal Faves
author, The Wind Done Gone.
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, is the perfect choice for mothers with one eye on a toddler and one eye on the page. The exquisite torture of being bright, beautiful, and tied to babies at the beach has never been more empathetically portrayed. When you turn the last page, constraint feels a little more like safety. A literary cousin of Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence.
publisher, Maxim, Stuff, The Week.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon and David Womersley, editor. All the necessary ingredients for beach reading are present: gratuitous and barbaric violence, capital punishment as a spectator sport, wholesale sexual perversion, political chicanery and corruption disguised as the exercise of democracy, religious persecution, and shopping. Dec and Fall has it all. A compulsive page-turner that you can dip into and out of at will. If Gibbon were alive today, he'd be writing for Maxim.
author, Bridget Jones's Diary.
Misadventures by Sylvia Smith. A hilarious series of apparently dull incidents narrated in a deadpan fashion by an apparently dull, unmarried 50-year-old secretary living an apparently dull life in various dingy rented rooms. Proof that there's no such thing as a dull life with the right take on human nature, the stories are wickedly funny, mercilessly well observed, and as warmhearted as they are spiky. Plus they're very short, which makes the book a most convenient read between applications of sunblock.