July 8, 2013
Seven reasons you suck at beach reading
by Dustin Kurtz
Ah, summer, when everyone in every publishing office and bookstore across the land bends low and pledges fealty to that fickle master the Beach Read. Ask anyone in the business, we’ll all be able to tell you exactly what makes a book a good beach read, whether it be price or subject matter or how heavy the damn thing is while you hold it up to block the sun from your eyes.
But in spite of our unending fealty to the idea of books for beach excursions, it strikes me that many people are taking the phrase too literally. No matter how cheap or trashy the book, there is no excuse for mistreatment. Here are seven things to avoid if you want to be a real master of the beach read.
DON’T use your beach read to hold your taco. Yes, it is messy, and yes, it fits perfectly while letting you read most of the page, and I know you feel like Archimedes for thinking of this, but plantain grease doesn’t come out all that easily.
DON’T use your beach read as a coaster for that banana espresso smoothie you have there. Yes, it is good insulation, yes, you are keeping the bench clean for others but it is making a mess of your book. And think of the seething clicking mass of crabs under that boardwalk that’d like a taste of that drip. Think of the crabs.
DON’T bury your beach read in the sand and build a shrine to it with bits of dead thing you happened to see within reach of your towel. Yes, it makes you think of Ozymandias and mortality, but come on, sand in book bindings is a bummer, and that feather probably has mites or something. Those aren’t even very nice shells.
DON’T take your beach read swimming. I don’t care if you were right in the middle of a good sex scene or the murderer was about to be revealed or Anna is headed for the tracks. I don’t care if the book looked hot. This is a bad idea.
Aw come on, now you’re just being contrary. Seriously, stop it, it’s giving me a panic attack.
DON’T reapply sunscreen after swimming. Wait, you put it on her before, too? That’s not good. No, I don’t care if she does have a pale face. She’s fine. She’s … why are we even calling her she? The book will not get a burn, I promise. And please take her out of the sand again.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
I thought we covered this! DON’T use your beach read as a coaster for your drink. I don’t care how delicious your michelada is, this is bad for your book. How did … are you spilling drinks on it on purpose now? You’re a monster.
That’s better. DO give her a taste of that drink. I think she’s earned it.
Dustin Kurtz is former marketing manager of Melville House.