Beach reads are the epitome of a summertime escape. Getting lost in the pages of a book that transports you to a different time and a new place, allows you to escape with each turn of the page. Do the bickering squabbles of bored kids or the pressures of work have to invade your mind when your summertime characters are having such fun?
That said, I'm not much for iconic summer books. Oh, I'm no literary snob and I can appreciate a good trashy read as well as the next woman, (although I seem to be among a small minority of middle age women who could not get beyond the first book of Fifty Shades of Grey). But as a social worker and elder care expert, I've seen more than my share of predictable drama. A plot line that involves family members feuding and misplaced priorities just doesn't do it for me. I find myself trying to solve their problems. To really escape, I need something that requires concentrated attention, and for a book to keep me mesmerized, it either has to teach me something about myself, or it has to drop me into a lifescape that is at once noble and emotionally compelling.
With those requirements in mind, I've got my stack of five summer escape-ready reads on the table by my lounge chair. In no particular order, they are:
• Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. In her latest memoir, the former New York Times columnist, novelist and essayist captures the real life joys, angst, conflicts, compromises, and inner thoughts of fifty-plus women. Ms. Quindlen has been the voice of a generation of women -- my generation -- and she has aged with us beautifully. She's sharp-witted and honest, but at the same time he approaches life with gratitude and joy.
To read more of this post by Jody Gastfriend, LICSW, read her blog at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jody-gastfriend/beach-read-suggestions_b_1672507.html