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Books for dad, books for the beach

Books for dad, books for the beach



Summer is here and that means beach reads. Whether you read at the beach or on your back deck, now is the time to soak up the sun with its healthy vitamin D and get lost in a good book.

Today is Father’s Day, and I wish all the fathers out there a happy, relaxing day. If you have forgotten to get dad something, it’s not to late to pick up a book for him. Justin Halpern, who wrote the hilarious best-seller “S@#* My Dad Says,” is back with another small volume, “I Suck at Girls,” a sweet and profanely funny book filled with his dad’s advice on girls, relationships and marriage, along with Justin’s misadventures with the fairer sex.

Anthony Swofford, the Marine who authored “Jarhead”, recounts his reconciliation with his dying father in his new memoir, “Hotels, Hospitals and Jails,” which is getting big praise from such authors as Sebastian Junger, Tim O’Brien and Karl Marlantes.

It’s baseball season, and Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz has written “Starting and Closing,” a memoir of his last season in baseball that is a cut above the usual baseball book.

Yankee fans will enjoy Harvey Araton’s “Driving Mr. Yogi,” about the unique relationship between retired Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry and Yankee legend Yogi Berra. Guidry accompanies Berra to spring training every year in Tampa, and this is a wonderful tribute to their special relationship.

If literature is more your style, there are three new books that pay homage to classic books. Francesca Segal’s “The Innocents” is an updating of Edith Wharton’s “The Age of Innocence” set in the Jewish community of modern London.

Wharton’s “The House of Mirth” inspired Jyotsna Sreenivasan’s beautiful and brilliant “And Laughter Fell From the Sky,” about an Indian-American woman and her struggle between love and her responsibility to her family’s wishes. I loved it.

Margot Livesey’s take on “Jane Eyre” is “The Flight of Gemma Hardy,” about a young orphan in Scotland who grows up to be a governess for a mysterious man’s young charge, falls in love and searches for her true family.

Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins” begins in 1962 Italy and involves a love affair and Hollywood. The writing inside is as gorgeous as the cover of this striking novel.

Laura Moriarty has written one of my favorite books this year, “The Chaperone,” about Cora, a middle-aged woman who accompanies a young soon-to-be silent film star Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s. There are a lot of secrets in this book, including how Cora came to be left in an orphanage in New York as a young child.

If you like pulse-pounding page-turners, Gillian Flynn’s novel “Gone Girl,” about a young wife in a bad marriage who ends up missing and her husband a suspect, is the book for you. Reading it is like riding a twisting, turning roller-coaster.

Matthew Quirk’s “The 500” has been getting comparisons to John Grisham’s “The Firm” — not bad company to be in. Mike Ford is a Harvard law grad who gets a dream job at a high-powered Washington, D.C. firm. Of course, all is not as it seems. Make sure to use plenty of sunscreen with this one, because you will lose track of time reading it and may get sunburned if you are not careful.

Thriller meets historical fiction in Jean Zimmerman’s exciting “The Orphanmaster,” about the disappearance of orphans in 1663 New Amsterdam, the precursor to New York City. A young trader and a beautiful British spy team up to search for the killer and end up falling in love and under suspicion.

Victoria Thompson’s historical fiction "Gaslight Mystery" series, set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, follows the adventures of Sarah Brandt, a midwife, and Frank Malloy, a police officer. The first in the series is “Murder on Astor Place,” about the murder of a wealthy teenage girl in a boarding house. You get to see a different side of New York in these mysteries, of which there are 11.

Some people prefer paperbacks at the beach, and there are many good ones out now. Jennifer Weiner’s novels are always terrific, and “Then Came You” is no exception. This one explores the topic of infertility and surrogacy, and the women involved.

I’ll end with J. Courtney Sullivan’s “Maine,” a classic beach read about three generations of a family of women coming together at the family’s summer home. It reminded me of Ann Rivers Siddons’s “Colony,” one of my-all-time favorite beach books.

Diane LaRue is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She can reached by email at For more book reviews, visit


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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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