The beach is perhaps the worst possible place to read a book. The sun reflects off even the greyest of paper, slowly blinding you until you can see nothing but permanent lens-flare.
The wind insists that you must fight with every ounce of your strength just to keep your page, and heaven forfend you try to turn that page, especially if you’re looking to follow an uninterrupted narrative.
Some say you can avoid the sun at least by wearing a decent pair of sunglasses, and indeed you can, if you want to end up looking like some weird negative of a racoon. It seems clear, then, that nature hath decreed that thou shalt not read at the beach, unless thou art crouched Gollum-like in the fading shade of a tree.
Recommendations are still in order then?
Summer seems to be the time to start major projects, as people have a lot more time on their hands. If that is the case, “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin is a must. There is a reason the TV series is so good. A reason that is wonderfully drawn out across five books that will last for at least half the summer, the other half of which will be spent agonising over the release date of the sixth.
For the truly daring there is Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series. Spanning fourteen books it is definitely the longest undertaking any of you will attempt. Jordan also likes to operate in medias res so be prepared for one of the greatest exercises in patience you will ever experience.
On a slightly lighter note, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is an essential read. It is much lighter and sillier than either of the other titles mentioned so far, but is equally rewarding and will guarantee you at least a couple of awkward moments where you laugh out loud and everyone looks around to see why.
For those not wishing to undertake any large projects, this summer would be an excellent time to read the books that are being adapted into films. “World War Z” by Max Brooks is an excellent and remarkably chilling take on our favourite walking corpses and then, of course, there’s “The Hobbit” (and if that needs an introduction you don’t deserve one).
Finally there is “JAM” by Yahtzee Croshaw which is about an apocalypse brought on by carnivorous strawberry jam. The premise alone demands it to be read and Croshaw’s wit guarantees a great read.
Granted this list seems remarkably one sided, but all of the books guarantee originality and serious enjoyment from highly unusual sources. There are always bookshop recommendations for those who want something more common.