I’ve always had a complex about reading what you’re “supposed” to read. Ie, huge literary tomes, the classics, major lit prize winners etc etc etc. These are all well and good, and in many cases, excellent reads. But sometimes, I just can’t deal with them. All too often, I’ve tried to read the prizewinners and the critically acclaimed and battled in a big way. Not because these novels aren’t well written or engaging, but because they’re just too much. Of course there are times when I want to stretch myself, challenge my opinions and engage in a world different to my own. However, I find that reading is the best kind of escape and I don’t always want it to feel like work. This year, I’ve stopped stopping myself from reading what I really want to – sometimes you just need to indulge yourself and lose some time in someone’s fictional romantic escapades, ala Bridget Jones.
I’ve long had a soft spot for chick lit, but always wanted to hide it. No more though! For the uninitiated, chick lit is essentially a romantic comedy in novel form. Pure, fluffy, escapism, also known as beach reads. I’ve certainly read my share of chick lit/beach reads over the years, and consider myself something of an expert in the matter. A lot of novels in this genre are forgettable, and easily replaced by the next one to come along. The good ones though, stick with you. These are five of the best beach reads that I’ve returned to, or have shared with friends or just generally enjoyed too much not to share.
1// The Younger Man, by Zoe Foster-Blake.
Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a massive girl crush on Zoe Foster-Blake. Her novels are funny, smart, easy to read and the absolute antithesis to the snotty literary fiction I usually push my way through. Start anywhere with her novels, but The Younger Man is my favourite for it’s sassy protagonist, fun trio of best friends and delightful eponymous younger man.
2// Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.
Do not read this unless you are happy to cry. I finished this one on a sunny winter’s day last year. I just happened to be sitting in the law school courtyard between classes, and I totally lost it. Had I been alone, there would have been ugly crying. I had to go home and sort myself out before returning for class. Embarrassing, but true. While it’s chick lit, it will also make you think and question your thoughts around some pointy social and legal issues. For bonus points, read it before the film adaptation comes out, and follow up with the recenty release sequel, After You.
3// The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.
This is basically the story of Prince William and Kate Middleton – except she’s American and it’s super cute. Take it and enjoy it for what it is, preferably when you’ve got nowhere to be and nothing but a day stretched out in front of you.
4// Cents and Sensibility, by Maggie Alderson.
I’ve returned to this gem a few times, I’ll admit. I think this was one of the first Maggie Alderson novels I read, and still my favourite of the bunch. When a novel starts on the French Riviera, you know you’re in for a good time. Plus the characters are great – stylish, big, and fun. The story isn’t too soppy or corny, but it’s just enough to leave you with a smile. If you’re part of a big family, or just wish you were, you’ll relate in so many ways.
5// The One That Got Away, by Bethany Chase
I read this recently off the back of a recommendation somewhere (can’t remember who or where, sadly). I had a night time bus trip down to Canberra and knew from past experience that sometimes the reading lights don’t work, so I loaded this one onto my iPad in lieu of taking a paper book, and started reading. Over the course of the return trip, I was sucked in a finished right as the bus pulled back into Sydney – the perfect ending to a weekend with my gals. There’s a ballsy girl boss architect, a hot former Olympian swimmer, a Texan setting, and so. much. tension. Enjoy.
I’m always on the look out for new books, especially coming into summer. Hit me up with your favourite beach reads! x