By Bobby Forand
I have been to the beach four times in the last calendar year – to attend a wedding, to watch my son surf with Surfer’s Healing, to go for a walk with my girlfriend in hopes of making her bad day better and to work on this article. The beach is awesome, but I’m not the type to spend the day there. For those who are, here are some good local beach reads to occupy you during swimming, tanning and people watching.
A story about a has-been country singer trying to keep up with life. This is a great read that is also a quick one. If you have an iPod and iPad, you can be really daring by reading the book while watching the movie and listening to the soundtrack at the same time. That will blow other beachgoers’ minds.
The Lost Villages of Scituate, by Raymond A. Wolf
This is my home and possibly one of the forgotten stories in Rhode Island history. So many people were put out when the reservoir was built, and this book goes into detail about that. Read this guiltily while taking sips out of your bottle full of city water.
This is a great biography about the life of a strong-willed woman, and it sounds like it could be about almost anyone who lives in this great state. I especially enjoyed that Mae grew up right near me and liked learning how different Olneyville was back then.
The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, by HP Lovecraft
This is for those who spend the summer complaining about the heat, the noise and how much they hate summer. Reading HP Lovecraft’s creepy tales will remind you that fall is right around the corner and it won’t be long until you’re breaking out the hoodie from the closet. Read this while listening to The Misfits for twice the “Halloween is coming” feel.
The Bones of Gary Hayman and the Search for Samuel Finn, by Jason Carpenter
This is about children who were able to escape from Rhode Island’s infamous mental institution, Ladd School. It’s hard to believe that this is a true story, but it is. I work in this field, and it’s great to see how far understanding of people with disabilities has come.
The Rhode Island Dictionary, by Mark Patinkin and Don Bousquet
You live in Rhode Island or at least know enough about the state to read this article. This is a humorous definition of Rhode Island, and every local will get every joke.
The Windowless Soul, by Jeff Zurowski
Like Machine of Death, this is a self-published book. These fiction and non-fiction poems take you into Mr. Zurowski’s world and provide a peek at the trials and tribulations that he has endured.
Mug of Woe, edited by Kyle Cranston and Jenn Dlugos
Riddled with stories by local writers, the Mug of Woe series won “Best Anthology” at the 2012 “Beach Book Festival” in New York. These collections of very short anecdotes (none is more than a few pages) aim to make you feel better about yourself, life, and everything by humorously chronicling tales of woe.
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
If the beach you are enjoying has a gift store anywhere within 50 miles, your kids are going to ask you to stop there so you can buy them something. Hand them this book and tell them, “No because Christmas is coming soon.” When they complain, remind them that Santa is watching. That should buy you at least a few minutes of peace to read the other books on this list.