Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is top ten books I plan to have in my beach bag this summer.
I live thousands of miles away from the beach, and I’m really not a “beach reads” type of person. It says so right in my review policy. When I think of “beach reads,” I think of books that are easy and only meant for entertainment purposes. I don’t usually read things like that. I prefer stories that have depth, challenge me, teach me something, or make me think. So, I’m changing the topic a little. Here are ten books from my TBR pile that I’d bring to the beach with me.
My Not-So-Beachy Reads
1. Song of Susannah (Dark Tower #6) – Stephen King
2. The Dark Tower (Dark Tower #7) – Stephen King
3. The Wind through the Keyhole (Dark Tower #8) – Stephen King
The Dark Tower series tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is traveling southeast across Mid-World’s post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower. Located in the fey region of End-World, amid a sea of singing red roses, the Dark Tower is the nexus point of the time-space continuum. It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat. Someone, or something, is using the evil technology of the Great Old Ones to destroy it.
In Roland’s where and when, the world has already begun to move on. Time and direction are in drift, and the fabric of reality is fraying. However, things are about to get much worse. The six invisible magnetic Beams, which maintain the alignment of time, space, size, and dimension, are weakening. Because of this, the Tower itself is foundering. Unless Roland can find a way to save the Beams and stabilize the Tower, all of reality will blink out of existence.
Inspired in equal parts by Robert Browning’s poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western classics, The Dark Tower series is an epic of Arthurian proportions. It is Stephen King’s magnum opus, and is the center of his amazing creative universe.
4. Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) – Brandon Sanderson
5. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) – Brandon Sanderson
6. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) – Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn is an epic fantasy trilogy and a heist story of political intrigue, surprises and magical martial-arts action. The saga dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge?
7. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
8. Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?
9. The Narrow Road To The Deep North – Richard Flanagan
A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.
Richard Flanagan's story—of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife—journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho's travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.
10. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood turns to short fiction for the first time since her 2006 collection, Moral Disorder, with nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships bringing to mind her award-winning 1996 novel, Alias Grace. A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband in "Alphinland," the first of three loosely linked stories about the romantic geometries of a group of writers and artists. In "The Freeze-Dried Bridegroom," a man who bids on an auctioned storage space has a surprise. In "Lusus Naturae," a woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. In "Torching the Dusties," an elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. And in "Stone Mattress," a long-ago crime is avenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.