Beachworthy

Recent Salon reviews of good books to read while sitting on a towel (or in economy class).

Topics: Books,

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
In another sidesplitting collection, the author writes about his foulmouthed brother, his hopeless French and his brief career as a speed-freak performance artist.
Reviewed by Greg Villepique [06/09/00]

“The Happy Bottom Riding Club” by Lauren Kessler
A juicy, smart biography of heiress Pancho Barnes, who wanted only one thing: More.
Reviewed by Patricia Kean [05/31/00]

“Chang and Eng” by Darin Strauss
The inner life (and the sex life) of the famous Siamese twins.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [05/22/00]

“Stern Men” by Elizabeth Gilbert
In a terrific first novel, a restless 18-year-old feminist idles away a summer on an island of irascible Maine lobstermen.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [05/16/00]

“White Teeth” by Zadie Smith.
In this remarkable debut novel, London is a merry capital of mismatched lovers.
Reviewed by Maria Russo [04/28/00]

“Wanderlust: A History of Walking” by Rebecca Solnit
A delightful and mind-expanding look at one of the activities that make us human.
Reviewed by Andrew O’Hehir [04/27/00]

“Horse Heaven” by Jane Smiley
A great big novel, jampacked with characters, that brings poetry to the dust and the lust of the racetrack.
Reviewed by Emily Gordon [04/17/00]

“The Custom of the Sea” by Neil Hanson and “In the Heart of the Sea” by Nathaniel Philbrick
Both books serve up hair-raising histories of maritime cannibalism with all the gory details.
Reviewed by Mark Schone [04/13/00]



“The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living” by Martin Clark
A wild and weirdly plotted novel by and about a circuit court judge, complete with a hunt for lost loot, a murder and a convoluted trial.
Reviewed by Michael Scott Moore [04/12/00]

“Le Mariage” by Diane Johnson
Yanks abroad and French nationals are still bewildering one another in a funny follow-up to the bestselling “Le Divorce.”
Reviewed by Elizabeth Judd [03/27/00]

“The Invention of the Restaurant” by Rebecca L. Spang
You didn’t know that it was invented, did you? A scholar unearths the unlikely origins.
Reviewed by Pete Wells [03/24/00]

“Patrick O’Brian: A Life Revealed” by Dean King
The bestselling novelist wasn’t, it turns out, the man he claimed to be.
Reviewed by Ian Williams [03/21/00]

“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” by Helen Fielding
She’s back, she’s got her weight down, she’s got Mark Darcy and she’s in a Thai jail on drug charges.
Reviewed by Maria Russo [02/29/00]

“Chaos Theory” by Gary Krist
It starts quietly enough — with two kids copping a joint — and then spins into a breakneck thriller.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [01/27/00]

“Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition” by Leonard F. Guttridge
Another arctic thriller — replete with starvation, executions, mutiny and cannibalism — that deserves a place alongside the best of them.
Reviewed by Jonathan Miles [01/21/00]

“Sick Puppy” by Carl Hiaasen
In a new novel and a new collection, the Florida author proves that he’s as outrageous in fiction as he is out there in fact.
Reviewed by Hal Hinson [01/13/00]

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    Romance novels need a canon

    "Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie

    A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats.   Read the whole essay.

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    "Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie

    Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower.   Read the whole essay.

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    "A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant

    A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex.   Read the whole essay.

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    "Black Silk" by Judith Ivory

    A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say.   Read the whole essay.

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    "For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale

    A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society.   Read the whole essay.

    Romance novels need a canon

    "Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner

    A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ...   Read the whole essay.

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    "Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen

    Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight.   Read the whole essay.

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    "The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal

    A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency.   Read the whole essay.

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    "Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time.   Read the whole essay.

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