Last month I wrote about my penchant for the dark when it comes to beach reads. Earlier this month when we headed out for our annual trip to enjoy the salt & sand, I got to load up on my reading, and true to form, most of my selections were not what most people consider beach reading.
Here’s a quick wrap up.
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
This book was recommended by Knox McCoy from The Popcast Pod who green-lit it on Episode 239. Don’t let the premise put you off, but it is the story of Lucy & Owen, a fairly happy couple who decide that for six months, they’ll have an open marriage. They live in a very small town where everyone knows everything, so drama ensues. This may be the closest thing I’ve ever read at the beach that could be called a “beach read.” It is entertaining for sure, and I’ve already passed off my copy to a fellow reader.
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Also on the lighter side, this was an advanced reading copy that I needed to finish in order to write my review for Penguin’s First to Read program. Check out my blogged review here. Clock Dance is available on July 10, 2018. It would be a great read for anyone – at the beach or anywhere!
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
I know, I know, I can’t believe I hadn’t read this one either. This historical non-fiction tells two parallel stories – the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the serial killer who used it as his hunting ground – and it has been on my TBR for at least 10 years. I gotta say, I didn’t love it. I liked it a lot, and I found it incredibly interesting. There is so much American culture directly tied to the Chicago World’s Fair. For example, the beverage that topped the beer contest, giving it the nickname during the fair as “Blue Ribbon” stuck to be known as Pabst Blue Ribbon. Abiding my darker tastes, I really enjoyed the story line about H. H. Holmes and his macabre “World’s Fair Hotel.”
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Again, another one that I should have read by now. I mostly enjoyed this for the cobwebs it dusted away from my studies and love of the British Romantic period and Gothic literature. This late period Romantic novel is a significant illustration of the darker spectrum of its themes. I downloaded the free version to my Kindle around Halloween of last year when something reminded me that I needed to check off this classic in my personal canon. At less than 300 pages no matter which version you pick up, it pays off big for the little effort it requires.
When Rabbit Howls by Trudi Chase (and the Troup)
While non-fiction, this book may forever be canonized in my library alongside the likes of Perfume and Cement Garden. The central character – mostly referred to as “the woman” – was horrifically abused in every way imaginable by her stepfather from age 3 to 14. This non-fiction account of the beginning of her treatment with a psychologist is actually written by the “Troup” of personalities that live within her and who were born out of her abuse. They’ve helped her cope with her abuse by protecting her from the knowledge of it, and this is the story of the woman’s Troup introducing themselves to her and revealing to her what she’s endured. This is an older book, and the Troup came to their physician with the intent that telling their story would help him – not only treat Trudi – but inform how he teaches his students and treats other patients who were victims of child abuse. After reading it, I can only assume that it has been an important work in understanding multiple personality and dissociative disorder. I’m not sure anyone could claim to “enjoy” it, but it is an excellent read if this is your taste.
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