Some Books to Take to the Beach
Heading to the beach with a good book is part of our collective vacation experience. Here are some choices, based on what our staff is reading. The books are as varied as our staff titles and job descriptions. You may find something that strikes your fancy.
The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe
Caretta Rutledge thought she'd left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning out of control—has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide "turtle lady" and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life's most precious lessons—true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven. Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator.
Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and tentative steps toward recovery. David Sheff traces the first subtle warning signs: the denial, the 3 A.M. phone calls (is it Nic? the police? the hospital?), the rehabs. His preoccupation with Nic became an addiction in itself, and the obsessive worry and stress took a tremendous toll. But as a journalist, he instinctively researched every avenue of treatment that might save his son and refused to give up on Nic. Tracy Skrabal, coastal scientist.
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most remarkable, powerful, and captivating women in history. Sarah King, development officer.
Hall of Famers, the gentlemanly Connie Mack, right, and the fiery John McGraw, shake hands before the 1911 World Series. Photo: Baseball Hall of Fame.
Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball by Noman Macht
Cornelius McGillicuddy (1862–1956) was the Grand Old Man of baseball and one of the game’s first true celebrities. Macht chronicles Mack’s little-known beginnings. He tells how Mack, a school dropout at 14, created strategies for winning baseball and principles for managing men long before there were notions of defining such subjects. And he details how Mack, a key figure in the launching of the American League in 1901, won six of the league’s first 14 pennants while serving as manager, treasurer, general manager, traveling secretary and public relations and scouting director (all at the same time) for the Philadelphia Athletics. Frank Tursi, assistant director.
The Dangerous World of Butterflies by Peter Laufer
A true tale of beauty and obsession, smugglers and scientists and nature’s most enigmatic creature. Sam Bland, Jones Island manager.
The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America's Banana King by Rich Cohen
When Samuel Zemurray arrived in America in 1891, he was tall, gangly, and penniless. When he died in the grandest house in New Orleans 69 years later, he was among the richest, most powerful men in the world. In between, he worked as a fruit peddler, a banana hauler, a dockside hustler and a plantation owner. He battled and conquered the United Fruit Company, becoming a symbol of the best and worst of the United States: proof that America is the land of opportunity, but also a classic example of the corporate pirate who treats foreign nations as the backdrop for his adventures. In Latin America, when people shouted “Yankee, go home!” it was men like Zemurray they had in mind. Todd Miller, executive director.
The Founding Fish by John McPhee
John McPhee is a shad fisherman, and his passion for the annual shad run has led him, over the years, to learn much of what there is to know about the fish known as Alosa sapidissima, or "most savory." In The Founding Fish McPhee makes of his obsession a work of literary art. In characteristically bold and spirited prose-inflected, here and there, with wry humor-McPhee places the fish within natural history and American history. He explores the fish's cameo role in the lives of William Penn, Washington, Jefferson, Thoreau, Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth.Ted Wilgis, coastal education coordinator.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan's last book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, launched a national conversation about the American way of eating; now In Defense of Food shows us how to change it, one meal at a time. Pollan proposes a new answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Pollan's bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy and bring pleasure back to eating. Ana Zivanovic-Nenadovic, program and policy analyst.
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased. Mike Giles, coastal advocate.
The Mulching of America by Harry Crews
Determined to win Soaps for Life's annual sales contest, Hickum Looney is thrilled when he finds the perfect customer in a little old lady, but he still has to contend with the Boss, who outsells his salesmen every year. Rose Rundell, administrative assistant.
Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen
Honey Santana—impassioned, willful, possibly bipolar, self-proclaimed “queen of lost causes”—has a scheme to help rid the world of irresponsibility, indifference and dinnertime sales calls. She’s taking rude, gullible Relentless, Inc., telemarketer Boyd Shreave and his less-than-enthusiastic mistress, Eugenie—the 15-minute-famous girlfriend of a tabloid murderer—into the wilderness of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands for a gentle lesson in civility. Lauren Kolodij, deputy director.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing. Along the way he explains the secrets of software billionaires, what it takes to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math and what made the Beatles the greatest rock band. Emily Farmer, administrative assistant.
Putting Food By by Ruth Hertzberg
For more than thirty years, Putting Food By has been the go-to- resource for preserving foods-from fruit and vegetables to meat and seafood. Now, this essential volume has been updated to reflect the latest information on equipment, ingredients, health and safety issues, and resources. Whether motivated by economics or the desire to capture the taste of local, seasonal food at its peak, home cooks have made preserving today's hottest food trend. There are many books on canning, but Putting Food By stands out as the classic that has stood the test of time. Christine Miller, assistant director.
Spontaneous Happiness by Andrew Weil
Dr. Andrew Weil has proven that the best way to maintain optimum physical health is to draw on both conventional and alternative medicine. Now, in Spontaneous Happiness, he gives us the foundation for attaining and sustaining optimum emotional health. Rooted in Dr. Weil's pioneering work in integrative medicine, the book suggests a reinterpretation of the notion of happiness, discusses the limitations of the biomedical model in treating depression, and elaborates on the inseparability of body and mind.Sally Steele, development director.
State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett
As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rainforest's jeweled canopy. Erin Fleckenstein, coastal scientist; and Rose Rundell, administrative assistant.
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews
Sometimes, when you need a change in your life, the tide just happens to pull you in the right direction. Ellis, Julia, and Dorie, best friends since Catholic grade school, now find themselves, in their mid-thirties, at the crossroads of life and love. A month in North Carolina’s Outer Banks is just what each of them needs. Rachael Carlyle, director of operations.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, and costly courtesans comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken—the consequences of which will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. Sarah Phillips, coastal education coordinator.
-- Rachael Carlyle, director of operations