Today I’m thrilled to share an article from my hometown paper.
Petrak: In search of the perfect beach book
She dug her toes into the warm sand, as if anchoring herself for some much-needed solitary time along the shore. Her children ensconced several yards away, busily burrowing and building castles topped by sturdy blades of seagrass and the occasional shard of driftwood, she felt herself relax, finally, after what seemed like an endless cycle of wake-run-work-drive-sleep.
She slid one hand into a canvas tote, felt around the towels for a hard spine and pulled out the book that had caught her eye on Amazon a couple of weeks ago, during her lunch-hour browsing time.
"Literally couldn't put it down," one online reviewer had enthused, though she figured that was a bit of hyperbole just to get placed higher on the reader comment page.
"A perfect beach read," added another, a statement that, along with the enticing cover of an azure sky with a lone seagull, propelled her to hit the "Add to Cart" button in a rather impulsive moment.
Propping the hardcover in her lap, she turned the stiff few pages and began reading: "Gwen should have known that he'd be up front by the casket, glad-handing various aunts and family friends who smelled of linen soap and who laced tissues through their knotty fingers. Always the comforter, the charmer, the center of attention even when it was supposed to be about someone else…"
Okay, I might have made up the first couple paragraphs, but the fact remains that I've been looking for a good beach read in advance of my annual Michigan vacation.
To me – and many others – a good book and a beach chair go together almost as much as sun and surf.
Searching for a good book, I started wondering about the works of local authors. After a quick search, I found that there are, indeed, several published authors living in this community who have penned books worthy of beach-time reading or, for that matter, anytime reading.
One example is a book of short stories called "No Turning Back" by La Grange resident Dan Burns. Published by Chicago Arts Press, the book includes "an eclectic mix of stories that expand the boundaries of genre and imagination," according to the author's website, http://www.danburnsauthor.com.
Kevin Guilfoile, meantime, put La Grange on the literary map nearly a decade ago with his popular novel, "Cast of Shadows," which was followed by another tome with positive reviews by the New York Times called "The Thousand."
Allyson Hayes of La Grange, who has appeared in this column before, just finished writing the third in her series of "Reality Series" books, published by the Wild Rose Press. Her first short story, "Reality Re-Do," came out last fall.
There are probably others, especially in this era of e-books, blogging and self-publishing. And you never know: in 2016, you could be settling down on the shore reading "Tales from the Minivan: Get Me to the Beach Right Now!" by Lynn Petrak.
Lynn Petrak is a freelance columnist for Pioneer Press.