8 good places to read this summer. Forget the beach, how about a backyard hammock? – Chicago Tribune


The “read on the beach” category of books was invented from scratch for marketing purposes a few decades ago, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

The reason it’s stuck is because it describes a genuine phenomenon, people gravitating to a book that matches a mood or an occasion. To go to the beach? You need something that engenders that feeling of escapism, a good page-turner that will keep you captivated or transport you to some exotic place, or maybe put you in a whole different state of mind, like you have too many Mai Tais.

I have no objection to the beach being read as a description of a quasi-kind of book, but as we head into beach reading season, I’d like to suggest that when it comes to of places where you can escape to read, the beach is frankly not great.

Hot, sandy, crowded, kids frolicking, sunburn, sudden thunderstorms and have you seen the new “Spikeball” game where people rush to hit a ball against something that looks like a mini-trampoline at the floor ? They call it the next cornhole on ESPN2.

Sound like a good place to read?

As a public service, I decided to provide you with a list of places to read your escape books that are way better than the beach.

Hammock on the back porch: Quiet, ideally accompanied by a gentle breeze that gently rocks your hammock. A little sight is a bonus so your eyes can take the occasional break from the page.

Air-conditioned library: Kind of the opposite of the range. Quiet, dim lighting, comfortable climate-controlled furniture, and surrounded by books.

Airplane cabin with no one sitting next to you: Once upon a time, airplanes were my favorite reading place, but that’s eroded a bit over the years. It used to be that even non-readers had to pull out a book (or magazine) if they wanted something to do, but now it seems like half the plane is playing “Bridgerton.” The pandemic has also made air travel more difficult for a variety of reasons, but if you can board an uncrowded flight with a little wiggle room around you, there’s nothing like getting lost in a book and not getting lost. wake up from the spell until the wheels touch the ground.

Cabin in the woods: It seemed to work well for Thoreau, who not only spent a lot of time reading, but managed to write “Walden,” which isn’t exactly a beach read, but is a bestseller nonetheless.

Almost empty bar in the middle of the afternoon: It’s like a library, but with more beer and fewer books.

Screened porch when a good summer storm hits outside: As long as thunder and lightning aren’t involved, there’s nothing like being safe in the shelter, listening to the drumming rain, with a book as your companion. The weather means you can’t do anything else, anyway, so might as well dive into the pages.

Front steps: When I lived in the city, if the weather was right, it was nice to spend an hour or two sitting on the porch, elbows on knees, book in hands, reading while the world passed by me.

Hammock stretched between two trees in the woods: Combines both Thoreau’s place of solitude and the gentle rocking like a rocking cradle. If you’re lucky there are friends and relatives nearby, but not too close, light a fire on which you’ll later roast some marshmallows for delicious gooey s’mores, which will be worth putting your book for, since you will need both hands.

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities”.

Twitter @biblioracle

Biblioracle book recommendations

John Warner tells you what to read based on the last five books you read

1. “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware

2. “The Seeker” by Tana French

3. “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles

4. “Nobody’s crazy” by Richard Russo

5. “This Won’t Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns

— Hilary P., St. Louis

Hilary obviously loves a good mystery, so it’s lucky Lisa Lutz has a new book, “The Accomplice.”

1. “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

2. “Girl, woman, other” by Bernardine Evaristo

3. “Flights” Olga Tokarczuk

4. “Shuggie Bain” by Douglas Stuart

5. “In Paradise” by Hanya Yanagihara

—Nancy R., Indianapolis

There is some difficult and emotionally draining material on this list. I guess that’s what Nancy is drawn to, but I want to lean on it while at least shedding some light: Elizabeth Strout’s “Olive Kitteridge.”

1. “Ancestor problem: a settling of scores and reconciliation” by Maud Newton

2. “The premonition: a story of a pandemic” by Michael Lewis

3. “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music” by Dave Grohl

4. “The Harvest of Neil Young” by Sam Inglis

5. “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner

—Lainey M., Chicago

All non-fiction in this list, so I feel compelled to stick to that territory. An interest in personal stories that intersect with culture and history seems evident, reminiscent of Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African”.

Get a reading from the Biblioracle

Send a list of the last five books you read and your hometown to [email protected].


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