The BLOG: Lifestyle

The Beach Bag Book Club makes its summer reading recommendations

(Adobe Stock photo)

(Adobe Stock photo)

The languid days of summer’s sizzling perfection will soon give way to sweater weather, and the chronic condition known as back-to-routine-itis. While there’s still time to feel grains of sand between our toes, the splash of a cool pool, or the breezy shade of a mighty oak tree, the NewBostonPost shares with you a reading list culled from an eclectic group of avid page-turners who share their love of adventure, history, intrigue, personal reflection and a few fabulous classics.

Sam Anderson, a Boston attorney, swipes left on his e-reader so frequently you’d swear the tablet was on fire. The brief-reader treasures his excursions away from the realities of legal voir dire‘s but still loves to solve the riddles of great whodunnits in his free time. The summer pick for Sam is The Bricklayer by former FBI agent Paul Lindsay, who wrote under the pseudonym Noah Boyd. Published in 2010, he says this story rivals the psychological twists of the Jack Reacher series with the character Steve Vail. Vail’s foray into espionage involves plot twists even the seasoned counselor didn’t anticipate.

Brian Doherty, an engineer whose second nature contemplates the how and why of the universe recommends two books. After careful consideration of the vast library he’s devoured he suggests,  A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight by Robert J. Mrazek saying, “If it had not been for these men we probably would have lost the war in the Pacific.” It’s an “amazing story of incompetence, bravery, and pure luck that won the battle of Midway.” Brian’s second summer suggestion is The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Green. Doherty asks, “Ever look up into the sky at night and wonder how this all came to be or why it’s the way it is? Here are the answers! ”

Nancy Wigglesworth Dugan, Director of Student Support Services for the Martha’s Vineyard school system, recommends digging into The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth. She says it’s a great book reviewing the many emotional expressions of love. The novel introduces readers to two young patients with early dementia/Alzheimer’s disease as they fall in love, and questions what it means to be in love when there is no memory. In addition to the main characters Nancy says the quick, good read includes the perspectives of other characters exploring loves found and loves lost in an engaging story of how we are all connected together through these emotional experiences.

Barbara Erickson, President and CEO of the Trustees of the Reservations, has a leaf-turner for young kids to tuck into their beach bags along with the prerequisite pail and shovel. Charley Eliot and the Knights of the Woods by Peter H. Reynolds and his twin Paul A. Reynolds tells the inspirational story of Charles Elliot the imaginative and forward-thinking founder of the Trustees of the Reservations. President Erickson believes the book “will spread the passion of conservation to younger generations, and encourage them to visit and find magical moments at a Trustee site this summer and beyond.”

James “Jimmy” Guy, Salem High School’s Grad Point Tutor is a baseball and running enthusiast. He says three books are in the strike zone for his summer reads. Pedro by Perdo Martinez; the bio of the future Hall of Famer shares his struggles of growing up in the Dominican Republic and how the lessons and sport of baseball helped turn his life around. Running the Edge by Adam Goucher and Tim Catalano offers everyday runners motivational tips and instructions on how to cope with the ups and downs of staying on track. The Last Pick by Dave McGilvray tugs at the seams of anyone’s heart who’s worn the frayed sneakers of being the last one picked for anything. It’s the autobiographical story of the man who eventually became the Director of the Boston Athletic Association’s Boston Marathon. After running cross country in 1978 in an attempt to overcome the hurt of failing to live up to societal expectations, Dave McGillvray, a Medford native, ran on to become a fundraiser for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as many other philanthropic causes including The Run to Home Base at Fenway Park. Guy rates this book as an AMAZING read for all.

Alex Jankowski, NBP’s COO/CFO considers himself an avid reader — it’s not just the vocation, its the avocation! Alex recommends And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi and Bruce Henderson. A murder-mystery set on a remote island 1,000 miles south of Hawaii, the first half of the book will intrigue super sailors and nautical novices alike. The second half of the book is the real-life trial of the murders told by Bugliosi, who gained famed as the prosecutor who put Charles Manson behind bars — leading to write his bestseller Helter Skelter — but was a defense attorney in this case.

Carolyn Morrell, midday announcer at 92.5 The River, Boston’s Independent Radio, says off the top of her beach hat she recommends: Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger as two of her all-time favorites reads. Our mid-day friend includes Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling on her list, finding a laugh in every chapter. Why Not Me was a light-hearted antidote for an overly ambitious summer flirtation fail with James Joyce and his A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man. For Morrell, JJ’s winter soul made her beach bag just too heavy.

As for Di’s Beach Bag Book Club picks, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf is a forever favorite. Summer light balances some dark allegorical imagery used by Woolf to explain complex interpersonal relationships in this master’s level classic. Di also recommends re-visiting The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The staple of many a middle school reading list takes on entirely new meaning when read with an adult perspective. Spoiler alert — Hawthorne was a feminist! For a smirk, a chuckle and someone to virtually sit with you under the summer sun Still Fooling’ Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going and Where the Hell are My Keys? by Billy Crystal is a relatable, sometimes poignant, quick, fun read that honors hard work, commitment to a seemingly impossible goal, and the comedian’s love of family and friends.

We welcome you to join the Beach Bag Book Club and submit your favorite reading pick to [email protected].