Five Favorite Authors

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US

This is insane. Why did I do this to myself? Asking a book lover to pick a favorite book is like Sophie’s Choice, but with way more children. Although I must admit, Queen Jo made that choice a bit easier over the course of the years. Same scenario exists with authors. While picking five (or 15) just a few years ago would’ve been a piece of cake, today it feels difficult. A cursory glance at my bookcase at home reveals how varied my tastes have become over the years: The magic of Harry Potter is nestled beside the garbage of Fifty Shades of Grey (which I bought based purely on buzz and couldn’t bring myself to read beyond the line “…and my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.”) Dan Brown’s mind-bending literary labyrinths join the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Frodo and Bella Swan share a shelf, for crying out loud. I suppose that’s how I was as a kid too. I could read Sweet Valley fluff one day and turn to the creep-tastic Goosebumps books the next. I’ll admit my tastes aren’t high culture, nor do they have very deep roots in classic fiction. I read Pride & Prejudice in college because, well, I felt like I should at least once and I wanted to cry every time I started a new chapter. I would throw my mass market paperback across the room and complain loudly to my roommates, “You can’t tell me people ever really talked like this! I need a dictionary just to get through a paragraph!” I felt like an uncultured swine—but I did finish it. I would watch Rory Gilmore tear through novel after novel and think, hmm, I’ve never read that. Or that. Nope. No again. Damn. I had to drop out of a Faulkner class because The Sound and the Fury made me want to rip my eyes straight from their sockets so I wouldn’t have to finish it. Anyway … Continue reading

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Best Beach Books

I’m still over a month away from my St. Lucia vacation, but I’ve been compiling my reading list for months. Every time I go away, I have a suitcase for clothes and a carry-on for books. (“But Danielle, that’s why they created e-Readers!” NO.) My absolute favorite place to read is on the beach. Everything else melts away and you’re just left with the feel of the pages between your fingers and sand between your toes, the smell of salty sea air and fresh paper, and the sound of the waves crashing. It’s my happy place; nothing beats it—clearly, I mean, just listen to how dreamily I talk about it. I know I’m not the only one with this particular love in my life, otherwise authors wouldn’t launch new summertime novels so easily. (Many of these books are considered chick lit for obvious reasons, but that’s what makes them the best for nibbling on during a sunny afternoon.) When I take a glance at the bookcase in my bedroom, I can pinpoint specific vacations just based on the book spines. Below are a handful of favorites and my recommendations to anyone in need of a good beach read this season.

A Trip to the Beach by Melinda & Robert Blanchard
Read on a Carnival cruise, 2007

jpeg-4I don’t read many nonfiction books, but this one intrigued me. It’s the true story of a husband and wife team who decide to abandon mainland living to open the restaurant of their dreams on Anguilla and spend their days living on “island time.” It’s all steel drums and palm trees until a hurricane turns their lives upside down. Don’t read on an empty stomach; the Blanchards write with recipe descriptions so vivid, you can almost taste the words. Continue reading