With the prospect of warm sun, clear blue waters and a wide beach beckoning, thoughts inevitably turn to relaxing on the soft white sand with a good book – or the latest download on your Kindle or iPad if you are so inclined – and before you are due to travel to the Mexican Caribbean you should always stock up on beach reads; you can never have too many!
Whatever your preference, fiction or non fiction, suspense or romance or even rereading the classics of world literature, the beach is the place to drift off and set your imagination free. We thought we would put together a list of books we have been reading recently. Even if you have your own favorite authors, you might want to take a look at some of these.
This tale of 17th-century Amsterdam is seen through the eyes of a young bride who marries into a family of powerful merchant traders. The contrast between the spices, gold and opulent wealth they trade in, the secrets they keep and the intolerance of society soon becomes apparent. The miniaturist is an enigmatic artist in the shadows and yet she seems to know the fate that awaits the family.
Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies
We are eagerly awaiting the third book in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell, a man from humble origins who became Henry VIII’s most faithful advisor and the most powerful man in England.
We first meet Cromwell when he is the ambitious clerk of Cardinal Wolsey, the man charged with procuring Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon so that he can marry Anne Boleyn. After Wolsey’s fall from grace, Cromwell becomes his successor and brings his ruthlessness, political instincts and talents for manipulating people and situations to court. Yet, he also has a hidden side, that of a family man and we feel sympathy for him and his grief when tragedy robs him of his wife and daughters.
Hilary Mantel was the first woman to win the Man Booker prize for two books: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both of which were the inspiration for a BBC drama series starring Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damian Lewis as Henry VIII, broadcast in January 2015. The award was well deserved for her rich prose and her vision of Tudor London. She brings history to life with her portrayal of the cast of characters that accompany Cromwell on his rise to power, and the enemies that he makes at court and who ultimately bring about his downfall.
A Tale for the Time Being
The diary of Nao, a Japanese schoolgirl is carried across the Pacific Ocean by the 2004 tsunami in a Hello Kitty lunchbox and washes up on the shores of Vancouver Island where Japanese-American writer Ruth finds it. There then follows a richly interwoven story that crosses time and continents, alternating between Nao’s tale of her life as a lonely teenager in Japan after years in the United States and the story of Ruth and her partner Oliver.
Nao relates incidents of bullying that turn her into an outcast vulnerable to predators, her relationship with her father who is struggling with depression and unemployment and ultimately her redemption as her grandmother Jiko, a Zen Buddhist nun teaches her strength and shares her memories about the family’s past and Nao’s great-uncle, a kamikaze pilot.
Although tragic in parts, this book is about love, humanity and reconciliation and makes compelling reading. You share Ruth’s hopes that Nao will triumph.
The Glass Painter’s Daughter
A tiny stained glass shop in the mews of Westminster, London is the setting for a love story and one young woman’s discovery of a family history she knew nothing about. After her father falls ill, musician Fran Morrison returns to London to take up the reins of his stained glass shop.
As she searches for clues about a 19th-century window that her father was beginning to restore for a local church, Fran stumbles on a long-lost romance and secrets from her own childhood that she has to come to terms with as she searches for happiness.
The Last Runaway
Honor Bright is a young Quaker woman from Devon who travels to the United States in 1850 with her sister who is to be married there. Tragedy strikes and Honor is left alone in a strange land. As she struggles to make a new life amidst strangers, she is drawn into the activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom.
Notes from a Small Island
A travel classic that never grows old. The journeys of US writer Bill Bryson through the United Kingdom; this is his funny and affectionate look at the island and its people.
Once you have read one Bill Bryson book, you’ll be hooked and will be searching for the next one, whether narrating his adventures on the Appalachian Trail or Down Under in Australia.
Run out of Books?
If you do happen to run out of books during your vacation The Royal Market at the Royal Resorts stocks a small selection of bestsellers and all the clubs have book exchange shelves in the lobby where you can leave the books you have finished and swap them for others.
Several stores in the Cancun area sell English language bestsellers and there are secondhand bookstores with much larger and varied selections of books:
Malecón Las Americas, Cancun
Mexico’s leading bookstore stocks a selection of books in English.
Small selection of bestsellers.
Coba Ave., Downtown Cancun
Alma Libre Bookstore in Puerto Morelos
Secondhand and new books
On the main square in Puerto Morelos
Open during the winter and spring. Closed for the summer season.
What are you reading at the moment?
We would love to hear from you, why not drop us a line and tell us about your favorite beach books?