Dilemma of a Beach Book Junkie: How Do You Chose the Perfect Read?

I’ve been looking for beach books to download to my Kindle as mentioned in a previous post.

So far I have found nothing. I decided to start with ‘Top Ten beach Books’ – I love google – and searches of that ilk.

Do you know how many lists there are to choose from? Every magazine seems to have a ‘Top Ten’ from Vogue to Good Housekeeping, as well as every newspaper and celebrity magazine. I’m exhausted looking through them all. Who decides these lists anyway?

I’m never sure whether  to be happy or disturbed when I discover I’ve read most of the books on a list – if it’s the New York Times, the UK Times, Telegraph or Independent I admit to feeling a tad saint-like, if it’s the Women’s Own or National Inquirer list I do start to question my taste in literature. The only saving grace is that we are looking at beach reads here, something not too challenging or demanding on the vacation brain cells.

I’m supposed to be reviewing several books at the moment and one I’m working on comes into the reading for pleasure category. It’s Michael Harling’s Postcards from across The Pond, ‘a humorous commentary on British life by an accidental expat’ to quote the blurb on the back cover.

It’s rather Brysonesque (not to be confused with Byronesque a whole different genre of literature altogether ) and having ventured across the pond myself, although in my case from east to west, it is of great interest. I can relate to his coming to terms with the idiosyncracies of the English when I understand them so well, but appreciate his sense of having landed, rather like Alice, in Wonderland.

I was a little dubious to start this book being a huge fan of Bill Bryson, who has reduced me to tears of speechless laughter in every one of his books. Bryson has endeared himself to the hearts of the British by arriving in England, leaving, and then going back again and is now regarded as a National Treasure – his being American is overlooked as he’s such a jolly nice man. Definitely on my list of ‘twelve most interesting people you’d like to invite for dinner’. Although I’d have to have it catered.

Harling married an Englishwomen (obviously a man of exceedingly good taste) which explains his appearance on a small, wind and rain-swept island off north-west europe. He arrived and was surrounded by local in-laws who could gently introduce him to the finer workings of the British psyche and culture. In that he was exceptionally lucky.

It has been fun comparing his first experiences with my own on arrival in Louisiana, USA; my introduction to American football, his to watching a professional soccer game; the use, or not, of electricity in bathrooms; baseball as compared to rounders; dealing with Thanksgiving. Anyone who has had the opportunity to live for a time on either side of the pond will relate and enjoy.

I haven’t finished reading the book yet, or started the review, but I have a feeling it’s going to be rather fun, and a little more exercise for the grey matter than I expected.

Will keep you posted.

About wordgeyser

Our anglo/american family used to live in four countries (USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands) on two continents, separated by distance, time zones, circumstance and cultures. It has been a scary, enriching, challenging place to be. The only things guaranteed to get us through were a sense of humour and the amazing people met along the way. . . This year everything changed with a move for us from the Netherlands, – and a move along with us for our son and his wife from the UK – to Houston, Texas, the same city as our daughter. With our youngest in Vancouver, Canada, we are now all living on the same continent. How this happened, and more importantly why, will be the subject of this ongoing blog...
This entry was posted in England and Things English, Expat Related Book Reviews, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dilemma of a Beach Book Junkie: How Do You Chose the Perfect Read?

  1. Wait, I wanted your Top Ten Beach Read list… Must confess I haven’t read any Bryson (gasp!), so we could start there with a recommendation or two!

    • wordgeyser says:

      Not read Bryson? You’re missing a treat. Crossed my mind to do my own top ten at which my mind went blank; I’d cheat anyway and end up including books that ‘should’ be there rather than books I like!

  2. Byron Eaton says:

    Whoops I thought you were reffering to me. Can’t you do another run? Will miss it sooo much.

  3. sheila eaton says:

    that’s an idea – never thought of looking at the top ten books anywhere! Congratulations on completing the UBC.

  4. Jane says:

    Love the coining of Brysonesque as opposed to Byronesque… 🙂

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