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Five Best Beach Reads
Pack the pages that pack a punch

Few things say relaxation like basking on the beach with a book you can’t put down. The best beach reads aren’t necessarily books that have found great literary acclaim; instead, they’re those that tell a gripping story in a way that’s easy — and fun — to read.
 
The inspirational tale of bravery
If you haven’t had a chance to pick up Kathryn Stockett’s "The Help" yet, this summer might be the perfect opportunity. The epitome of a page turner, "The Help" follows the taboo project of three women living in Mississippi in the ‘60s. One of the women, a white college graduate, risks being socially ostracized if she’s found out — but the others, black women working as hired help, are risking much more.
 
The racy romance novel
"Fifty Shades of Grey" is the first installment of a trilogy by first-time author E.L. James. The book has made waves in the publishing world, topping the New York Times Best-Seller list week after week. The story, which follows a naive college student’s romantic and erotic relationship with a wealthy entrepreneur, is not likely to garner literary accolades anytime soon. Even so, it’s hard to deny the whirlwind of popularity that surrounds it. Since its release, the book has sparked parodies and spoofs, and has already sold movie rights to Universal Pictures/Focus Features. If nothing else, it’s worth taking "Fifty Shades of Grey" to the beach just to see what all the fuss is about.
 
The epic fantasy
In 2011, four out of the five titles topping the Publisher’s Weekly paperback bestseller list came from George R.R. Martin’s epic series, "Game of Thrones." The first book in the series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," introduces a kingdom preparing for the next winter — a season that in the book’s world can last a lifetime. On top of the coming cold, there are disturbing signs that an evil force is congregating outside of the city. "Game of Thrones" sets the intrigue of Medieval power squabbles amid a landscape of magic, imagination, chivalry and deceit.
 
The gripping mystery
When Bee’s sister Tess is found dead in a public restroom, the death is ruled a suicide. But Bee is convinced that her sister would never have taken her own life and begins to search for the truth. As she investigates, more and more of the relationship she shared with her sister is revealed. A New York Times book review calls "Sister" by Rosamund Lupton “both tear-jerking and spine-tingling,” and declares that the book “could cause a chill on the sunniest afternoon.” Sounds perfect for a hot day on the beach.
 
The imaginative landscape
If you love to stimulate your imagination with surreal landscapes, the perfect addition to your beach bag might be Kevin Brockmeier’s "The Brief History of the Dead." With language that is at times poetic and dreamlike, Brockmeier presents us with a city that is inhabited by the souls of people who have died but are not yet forgotten by those on Earth. When disaster strikes the world of the living, it means big consequences for the city of the dead.
 
When packing up your beach bag this summer, don’t forget to add your literary equivalent of comfort food. Sometimes the best beach reads are the books that you’re already in love with and want to read again and again.
 

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