Thursday, August 06, 2009

NPR's 100 Best Beach Books Ever

I saw NPR's list of the 100 Best Beach Books Ever (compiled from a survey of nearly 16,000 "book-loving NPR-types") at The 3 R's. Florinda, in turn, saw it at Musings of a Bookish Kitten. Since it's hard for me to pass up a good book list, here it is again - with the ones I've read in bold:

    1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
    2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    (A few of my thoughts.)
    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 (My brief review.)
    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 (My review.)

    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 (My review.)

    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 (My brief review.)
    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 (My review.)

    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

That's 31 for me! (A lot of the others are on my to-read list.) Which of them have you read? What is your favorite "beach book"?


  1. I too have read 31 of those books, with about 10 that I own and have not yet read and a good few that I would like to read.

    My favourite beach book is anything that provides a laugh, preferably Irish...Marian Keyes, Shelia O' Flanagan, etc.

  2. Aren't beach books supposed to be light reading??
    Some of those are NOT at all what I would call light!!

  3. ETA- Ayn Rand, seriously?? Aren't her books all like 1600 pages long? :D

  4. NPR's idea of "beach reading" isn't what I'd normally think of, but it does seem to include a lot of the sort of books I read year-round. Then again, I'm totally a "book-loving NPR type," so maybe I shouldn't be surprised :-).

    I don't read all that much chick-lit, but that's what I'd be most likely to read at the beach.

  5. Thanks for the list, which I posted on my blog as well:

  6. To my mind, "beach books" should be light - easy to read, not requiring me to think too much, preferably funny or at least light-hearted. But I can also understand the idea of using vaca time to attack something that makes me think in different ways than I usually do; I think that's the idea behind many of the "heavier" books on this list.

    I do think I'm going to set a goal to read everything on this list! :)

  7. Some of these are oldies, which I read decades ago. Since I have at least one or two generations head-start on you, Alison, the numbers shouldn't count.

    For the record, there are several on this list that I chose NOT to finish because there are too many "out there" that I'd rather read. Life's too short to read the ones I'm not enjoying.

  8. I'm playing along! And I'm gonna get to reading!