I have book recommendations for you. Well, not for you, the discerning reader, but for you, the reader who needs a book fluffy enough to be able to divert your attention from it often enough to make sure your kids are still properly afloat in the ocean and all is right on the beach, yet interesting enough that you feel like you are indulging yourself in a decent read while lounging on the beach and smugly thinking about all the poor suckers working.
First and foremost, I want to tell you about a great website for finding new authors similar to those you already like. Wait, that’s pretty silly. You probably already know about this website. It’s http://www.literature-map.com. Here’s a shot of a map generated from one of my favorite authors for beach/pool reads: Tana French.
I circled some of the other authors on this map I’ve read. I’ve read most of Erik Larson’s books and enjoyed all of them. His books are some of my favorites. I particularly enjoyed Isaac’s Storm and The Devil in the White City. I also highly recommend Caleb Carr’s The Alienist. Circling back to Tana French, if you haven’t read In the Woods, and you like mysteries/thrillers, do yourself a favor and give it a try for a beach/pool read this summer. I appreciated how much time she invested in character development, and I became invested in them. Made for a very affecting read. And finally I just finished The Bright Forever by Lee Martin and enjoyed it very much.
Here’s the thing. Typically, when I go on vacation, I arrange a reciprocal agreement with my fabulous neighbors whereby they retrieve my mail for me while my family is away, and I retrieve their mail for them while they’re away. And we hand each other stacks of accumulated mail upon each other’s return along with the exchange of pleasantries. It’s really quite fabulous since they are the best people in the world, and I don’t get a chance to see them nearly enough. This time I failed to get all of that worked out in advance because I lack follow through. Which means that on one fine, sunny day, I “over-the-fenced” the details of our vacation to my poor neighbor who was just trying to get some yard work done and verified the timeframe for theirs. I promptly forgot the dates of theirs and whether or not the overlap of our vacations (which I do remember there being) was surmountable or not. So, I decided to give the ol’ USPS a whirl. They hold mail, you know. Or at least they claim to. There has GOT to be some sort of really really fine print somewhere that was formatted with white text/white background, italic, 1 pt. which explained the extremely squirrelly things they expect of you in return for holding your mail while you vacation. So, I didn’t see it as I was clearly not meant to. Anyway, I think they have some sort of reciprocal (where SOMEONE doesn’t understand what the word reciprocal MEANS) arrangement going on that I wasn’t privy to when I signed up for this service. To wit, I went on the website and entered my hold mail information and put it all out of my mind. I got back to find that my mail was there as well as another family’s – all bound up with a rubber band including that family’s hold mail notice with a future date on it and an address inconvenient to me. CERTAINLY NOT NEXT DOOR! HOW RUDE!!! So, I assumed that the USPS was trying to tell me something. In exchange for holding my mail, I was to deliver this “tidy” little bundle of mail to my “neighbor” at the designated date in the future. Well, I should tell you I was quite discouraged to find out I had been giving busy work upon my return from vacation. After all, I had to get back to reality. Wasn’t that ENOUGH to have on my plate? I ask you. I didn’t see any note that indicated that I would be reimbursed for my time/services. Or that this was some sort of reciprocal agreement with my new “neighbor” friend. Or even a polite thanks for the assistance. Nope. Just a bundled stack of mail with the hold start and end dates and the address. Nothing else. So, I dutifully delivered the mail today, and now I’m starting to wonder when I became an errand runner for the USPS. Because I’d like to put a stop to that pronto.