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What and Where to Read at the Beaches

Do you love the smell of a bookstore? Does the idea of curling up on the sofa or in bed with a good book on a rainy afternoon with hot tea and your dog and/or cat on your lap while everyone is away and you probably should be doing something else but you’re not because the book is getting really good and you don’t know when you’ll have another chance to read again so you’re doing it now sound good to you? Was that too specific a scenario? Either way, if you love to read then you might enjoy this article because I have read loads of terrific books recently and would love to share a few of them with you.    

Before I get into the book suggestions, you may be asking yourself “Are there any small, locally owned bookstores or a used bookstores at the beach?” Why yes there are! My FAVORITE places to linger and hunt for my next read are Seymour’s Book Store at the Ponte Vedra Beach Public Library and The Bookmark in Neptune Beach.    

Seymour’s at PVB’s local Public Library is a fantastic place to donate your old books and find gently used ones for SUPER discounted prices. Paperbacks run $1-$5 and larger coffee table books can be found for $15 and their volunteers who run the store are knowledgeable about the books they have in stock and have given me excellent recommendations in the past. And they have everything from children’s books to travel DVD’s and everything in between. They have a book sale coming up (What?? The prices will be even cheaper?!?!? Yeeessss…) from October 6-21. Stop by and bring a large tote bag for your haul! 

For more than 30 years, the BookMark in Neptune Beach has offered a huge variety of books, hosted reading hours for children, and served as a meeting place for book enthusiasts to discuss a wide range of topics and meet their favorite authors. Their staff is bright, friendly, and quick to help with recommendations or guidance. And with a location just steps from the beach and fabulous restaurants and boutiques, it is easy to work a visit to The BookMark into your afternoon stroll around the Beaches Town Center

Now onto my book picks. 

My first recommendation is in the “Fantasy” genre. Do not judge me – I am willing to read (almost) anything that someone I know isn’t a crazy person recommends. Also, I have an incredible book club and I will read 99% of what those gals suggest. So, when we had just finished a book that I found to be extremely negative and I needed a brain detox, one of the gals suggested The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It is, in fact, an easy read that reeled me in with the now-typical “Girl is Goody-Two-Shoes but falls for the guy she is supposed to hate and also discovers that she is stronger than she thinks but then there is war and dragons and a mystery.” My one critique is that it does get unnecessarily “spicy” in one scene, but it is my understanding that this is the new normal and that I am the Goody-Two-Shoes. Overall, there is a good storyline in there and the end is a cliffhanger, so I will read the next one. Is this a Young Adult book? Yes, I think so and I find it slightly embarrassing to admit that I read YA at my age. But reading is good for the brain, so I just read. 

My next recommendation is the thriller Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. I read it quite a while back, but I still love it and always suggest it to folks who like well-written mysteries that keep them guessing. And there is a bonus if you like audiobooks – Something in the  Water is narrated by Steadman herself and she is also an actor. I  typically try to avoid audiobooks as I generally find the narrators’ voices irritating, but Steadman’s narration is utterly amazing and her voice so soothing that I did not even read the physical book I had. I listened to the entire novel on Audible and now suggest to everyone that they must do the audiobook versus the paperback. The reader is drawn in by Steadman and so deeply invested in the main character because of her storytelling, that the twists and turns in the book become that much more surprising when they happen. Download this book. It is fantastic. Trust me on this. 

The last book I will mention here which has also become my favorite in the last 5 to10 years is The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese, the author of Cutting for Stone. This is one million pages (not really, but close) of the most gut-wrenching, joyous, tragic, tender, heart-breaking, multi-generational story that you will read and fall in love with this year, or perhaps this decade. Verghese is an author and physician, so he does include quite a bit of medical and surgical detail throughout the novel, but it all plays a role in the greater story. He can be long-winded in his descriptions, but again, they are so beautifully written, and each word plays a part at some point deeper in the text – all necessary in the winding, intricately linked stories of the characters. The size of the book is intimidating to some, but I assure you it is worth the investment of your time and your heart.   

There you have it – 3 books to read and 2 great local spots to hunt for them. Let us know what you think! I truly hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Happy reading.

About the Author

Karen Tyrrell, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach since 2005, attended Ursuline Academy, Texas A&M University and l’Université de Paris La Sorbonne graduating with degrees in Economics, International Business, and French. Karen has a love for photography and yet is dialed in to all the neighborhoods of Ponte Vedra Beach and the surrounding areas as a Realtor and team member of The Volen Group.

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