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My favorite summer reading

So I promised the folks on my message board that when the registered members there reached 300, I would post something special, just for them. We hit the magic number on my birthday, so here it is–everything you need to have a fabulous summer: a beach (or a lawn chair will do), a drink, a snack, and my can’t-miss, something-for-everyone list of suggested beach reads, old and new, fiction, nonfiction and food. Enjoy!  

Dorothy, Tami, Robin, Kathy

Greetings from the Island

 If once you have slept on an island, you’ll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked and go by the same old nameYou may hustle about in street and shop you may sit at home and sew,But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls wherever your feet may go,You may chat with neighbors of this and that and close to the fire keep,
But you’ll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell and tides beat through your sleep,
And you won’t know why and you can’t say how such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island you’ll never be quite the same!
–Rachel Field


A Day At The Beach from

  • 1/2 oz. Amaretto
  • 1 oz. Rum, coconut
  • 1/2 oz. Grenadine
  • 4 oz. Orange Juice
  • Pineapple Wedge
  • Strawberries
  • Mixing Instructions: A definite beach drink! Shake everything except garnishes in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a highball glass half-full of cubed ice. Serve with pineapple wedge and a strawberry as a garnish.

Some Of My Favorite Beach Books

  • The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher
  • The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw
  • That Camden Summer by LaVyrle Spencer
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • The Beach House by Georgia Bockoven
  • Beach Music by Pat Conroy
  • Rhanna (entire series) by Christine Marion Fraser
  • Coast Road by Barbara Delinsky
  • Home Fires by Luanne Rice
  • A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean
  • Homeport by Nora Roberts
  • Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons
  • Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • The Cove by Catherine Coulter
  • Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult
  • Black Creek Crossing by John Saul
  • Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
  • Invisible Lives by Anjali Banerjee
  • Such Devoted Sisters by Eileen Goudge
  • The Summer House Cookbook : Easy Recipes for When You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time by Debra Ponzek, Geralyn Delaney Graham
  • Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
  • Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs
  • What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George
  • The Penny Tree by Holly Kennedy
  • The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger
  • Looking for a Ship by John McPhee
  • The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • American Idle by Alesia Holliday
  • Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn
  • Notes from the Shore by Jennifer Ackerman
  • It’s My Fucking Birthday by Merrill Markoe
  • Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Recipes and Stories from Summers on the Coast of Maine by Rebecca Charles, Deborah Di Clementi,
  • Oysterville by Willard Espy
  • Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain
  • Summer Secrets by Barbara Freethy
  • The Beach House by Mary-Alice Monroe
  • Between Friends by Debbie Macomber
  • The McCleods of Montana (series) by Lois Faye Dyer 
  • Slow Heat in Heaven by Sandra Brown
  • The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King
  • Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts
  • Harvest by Tess Gerritsen
  • Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie
  • Bitsy’s Bait & Barbecue by Pamela Morsi
  • Lost Highways by Curtiss Ann Matlock

Crudites with Serrano-Sweet Pea Aioli

based on a recipe by Rosemary Furfaro

Crudites are crisp, raw vegetables (carrots, celery, radishes, cauliflower) or blanched stalks of asparagus or broccoli. Serve them with this delicately-flavored green aioli. Take it to the beach in a cooler.

  • 1/2 cup sweet peas, shelled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil–too strong in flavor)

Cook the sweet peas in simmering water until tender, about 8 minutes, and drain. Place the egg yolks, whole egg and lime juice in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Process until the mixture begins to become light and fluffy. Add chile, garlic, cilantro and peas. With the machine running, drizzle in the oil until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture turns into a thick mayonnaise. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.

Beach Books I’ve Written


Passing Through Paradise

Summer by the Sea

The Lightkeeper

The Drifter

Lakeside Cottage

Summer at Willow Lake


The Ocean Between Us

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0 Responses

  1. You’re a doll adding The Penny Tree to this list.
    I’m honored, Susan (and I’m also quickly jotting down a few of them to add to my summer reading list 🙂

  2. Thanks for the list. I’ve read a great number of the books and very much enjoyed them. A few years ago, I decided to read books that have settings on the water–ocean or lake. I have not run out of options yet! The most recent book I read is The Hot Flash Club Chills Out by Nancy Thayer–a great read about 5 women friends who have the opportunity to spend the summer on Nantucket Island. If you’re in your 50s-60s I think you will very much identify with the characters and their lives and find this a GREAT read! (I didn’t like the cover of the book, however. Its shows younger women (maybe in their 30s) and is not indicative of the book contents.)
    Otherwise I highly recommend it.

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