Saturday, August 8, 2009

From NPR: The 100 Best Beach Books Ever

Special thanks to Boston Bibliophile for this one.

NPR listeners recently, in a poll, selected their 100 best beach books ever. You can read the article on the NPR website by clicking here.

I'm printing their list below. I'm boldfacing those books I have already read, and am putting stars by those that I would like to read. (Thanks again to Boston Bibliophile for the idea; she did the exact same thing in her post).

And I actually reviewed some of these books here! I'll put a link on the title if that's the case.

Now, this list contains some very diverse genres. Which leads me, kittens, to ask this question: What, to you, is a "beach read"? For me it's something light, but not too fluffy, and not too substantial. It's something that doesn't require a terrible amount of thought or analysis, and is something that you can concentrate on as the hot summer sun beats down on you.

For example, I wouldn't want to bring War and Peace to the beach with me. Too heavy, and too serious of a plotline.

That having been said, some of the books on this list surprise me--East of Eden, for example, is quite thick. So is The Pillars of the Earth. And there are some great classics interspersed here, too.

Now that I've babbled enough, here are the 100 best beach books, as chosen by NPR listeners:

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling**
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells**
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams**
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg**
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver**
11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell**
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen**
21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman**
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler **
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant**
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez**
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough**
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon
41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins**
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand, by Stephen King
53. She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner**
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson**
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns**
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
74. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe [tie]
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon**
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver**
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
81. The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve [tie]
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell
89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume**
96. The Shining, by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

I must confess: I have never read any of the linked or boldfaced books on the beach. Most of them I read in high school. But there were some really good choices on this list, so I'm going to draw inspiration from this one if I ever have a lack of anything to read!


Momma Hunt said...

I would agree that some of these are great beack reading, but I don't really know if I would consider some of them beach reads in that some of them are a bit intense and when I think of beach reads I think of chic lit and romance novels.

blueviolet said...

I'm going to print that out myself. That's a heck of a list.

Kerri said...

There are some great books on that list, although I'm not sure I'd read all of them on a beach! Water for Elephants was really excellent. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Anonymous said...

The Great Gatsby is a good one.

Celia said...

That is a terrible beach list. Good Gravy. I would give up reading rather than frogmarch myself through that list. Also Under the Tuscan Sun was one of the most poorly written books that I have ever read. It was fantastically boring.

Mammatalk said...

Excellent choices.

Jenners said...

I don't really see many of these as beach reads ... good read, yes. Beach reads, no. To me, a beach read is something like John Grisham. No thinking --- books like candy, in other words.