Cara’s Beach Reads

I admit I’m not much of a beachgoer — I lived for over a year in Santa Barbara and never made it to the beach. There’s just something in the combination of sand in one’s clothes, and salt on one’s sunburn, that puts me off. But this whole idea of beach reading is beginning to appeal to me, because it has now occurred to me that:

1) If you read instead of going in the water, you have no salt problems.
2) If you read in the shade, you have no sunburn problems.
3) If you read, you stay in one place, so you have no sand problems!

(Is this what adulthood is all about?)

So, here are my beach reads — the books that I would read on the beach this week, if I were on the beach. (Actually, as it’s been over a hundred degrees fahrenheit here for days now, the beach is sounding better and better…)

My first book would be Firebirds Rising, an anthology of original fantasy and science fiction stories that includes entries by Diana Wynne Jones, Tanith Lee, Emma Bull, Tamora Pierce, Patricia McKillip, and many more. I just finished reading its predecessor, Firebirds (both edited by Sharyn November), and had a great time. It’s also a handy way to sample new authors, and move those I love most to the top of my to-be-read pile! (In the interest of full disclosure, I will reveal that after reading Firebirds, I moved books by Nancy Farmer and Megan Whalen Turner to the top of my pile. I have, of course, already read everything by the inimitable Diana Wynne Jones.) 🙂

For my next book, I’ll pick a Regency romance. I confess I haven’t yet read Myretta Robens’ Just Say Yes, which on Saturday will be up for best Regency Romance in the prestigious Rita Awards (competing with our own Diane Gaston’s A Reputable Rake, Jenna Mindel’s Miss Whitlow’s Turn, and Jeanne Savery’s The House Party.) I just love the cover. The book promises to be sparkling and witty, so I’m really looking forward to it. (I also like more serious Regencies, of course! Like my own My Lady Gamester, which is also up for an award — the Booksellers’ Best Award — which will be awarded this Wednesday. Yep, tomorrow. Competing against three wonderful novels. Including one by our own Diane Gaston. So I’m not exactly holding my breath. Which is good, because if I held my breath till then, I’d have soon have no more breath to hold.)

I am very excited that World Con is going to be in Southern California this year. (World Con is short for the World Science Fiction Convention — held every year somewhere in the world. For more info, see I’ve never attended a World Con before, and I can’t wait for this one! As an attendee, I will be able to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards — so I’m busy reading the current slate of nominees. Next up for me is Accelerando by Charles Stross. I love science fiction — it can be so intelligent, so clear-eyed, so imaginative and brain-stretching that I don’t know any other type of fiction like it.

Believe it or not, I haven’t yet read the new Jennifer Crusie. Her latest, a collaboration with Bob Mayer entitled Don’t Look Down, has been sitting for a while now on my to-be-read shelf. (Actually, it’s a to-be-read bookcase. Though now that I think of it, I’ve never read a bookcase in my life. Which I guess is pretty obvious. Or it would be a has-been-read bookcase.)

I have loved Jennifer Crusie’s funny romances ever since Strange Bedpersons and What the Lady Wants first came out. (That’s an example of subtle boasting. If you look carefully, you’ll see I am claiming to be one of her early fans, not one of her more recent, read-the-reissue-of-her-early-Harlequins-with-covers-that-pretend-these-are-single-title-releases fans. And while we’re on the subject, let me just casually mention I was a fan of Diana Wynne Jones even before Charmed Life came out. Um. Hmm. I hope I haven’t just ruined the illusion that I am incredibly young and therefore a prodigy.)

Which brings us to today’s questions:

1) Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
2) Do you read on the beach? Is sand truly not a problem?
3) Do you have a to-be-read pile? Shelf? Bookcase? House? If so, do you find that certain things just stay there forever?
4) Are there any authors who you pride yourself on being an early fan of? Who?

Keep cool!

MY LADY GAMESTER — Booksellers’ Best Finalist for Best Regency of 2005!

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16 years ago

To answer your four very interesting questions:

1) I have read the new Jennifer Crusie (with Bob Mayer), and enjoyed it very much. It has a lot of Crusie’s signature humor and wit and a satisfyingly sexy romance, together with episodes of intense violence. What’s not to like? And ACCELERANDO is on my to-be-read list, too.

2) I love the beach, though based on my complexion my ancestors never saw the sun. Happy memories from childhood, and all that. And I do read on the beach. It’s very pleasant, aside from the problem that you can never find a completely comfortable position. But I’d be lying if I said sand wasn’t a problem. My theory is that little sand gremlins spread it around while you are distracted with the book.

3) I do have a to-be-read pile. And another pile. And another pile, or maybe more of a mound. And a shelf. And some stuff stays there for a very long time, and sometimes I finally put things back away on bookcases so as to make it possible to actually reach my side of the bed.

4) Well, I guess I can claim I was an early Crusie fan, too! I think the first thing I read was STRANGE BEDPERSONS. And, while I am not unusual in this, I’ve been a huge fan of Lindsey Davis since her very first book. It’s hard being an early fan, though, when it takes me forever to get around to things…


Megan Frampton
16 years ago


What a great list! And good questions!

I have a TBR bookshelf, I do get through them all eventually. If, after awhile, I realize I will NEVER choose that TBR book over all others, I donate it to the local hospital. Just did that with about seven books while picking out TBR books to go on the plane with me.

And there’s this nifty thing called sunblock that really works.

Elena Greene
16 years ago

Ah, more books and authors I can stress about whether I can get to them! OK, maybe summer isn’t for stressing out.

For your questions.

1) Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

No, I haven’t even gotten to the point of putting them in the TBR list yet!

2) Do you read on the beach? Is sand truly not a problem?

I’ll read on a beach, if I find a shady spot under a tree or something. Sand doesn’t bother me too much, guess it’s the early childhood training. I grew up in Cleveland and at the end of our street was a beach on Lake Erie. (OK, don’t laugh at this being called a beach. The lake was pretty badly polluted during that time and I don’t recall anyone swimming there, but we did play in the sand. Only found the occasional dead three-eyed fish.)

3) Do you have a to-be-read pile? Shelf? Bookcase? House? If so, do you find that certain things just stay there forever?

Several piles, and more lists. Sigh…

4) Are there any authors who you pride yourself on being an early fan of? Who?

I’m too far behind in my reading to catch anyone early. But come to think of it, maybe admiring my fellow Riskies’ early books counts. 🙂


Keira Soleore
16 years ago

Give me a deck chair by the ocean and the shining sun shaded by palm trees, and I will simply oooooooze contentment and good cheer. And a romance story strikes just the right balance, with a mai-tai or a margarita.

I confess to owning a wide TBR bookcase. Luckily, it sits against the inner wall of the study. So, if I enter through the door and look straight ahead and out of the tall windows, I can escape having the books reproach me with their dust and un-read status.

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