Why only one teaser when you can have two. Since I am still in my beach book mode I thought it would be fun to share the books I picked (neither being on yesterday's list I'm afraid) to start out with. One is a library book and the other I've had on my TBR pile for years and I think it's time to read it.
I'm not really sure what to think yet of Ellen Block's The Language of Sand. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it and find myself reaching for it quite often. It's just that it's sort of quirky and I'm not clear where the author is going with the story. Abigail Harker is a young woman who's burdened with heavy grief after the death of her husband and child. She decides a change of scenery is the best thing and takes a job as caretaker of a lighthouse on Chapel Isle in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Contrary to what she was led to believe the lighthouse and adjoining cottage are completely ramshackle and perhaps even haunted and the island appears filled with an assortment of unusual characters.
Lottie is one of the quirkier characters so far in the novel, the real estate agent who has organized Abigail's (or Abby's as she takes to calling her) stay. Likeable enough, she is also loud (in every sense of the word) and overly fond of bric-a-brac. Here's the spiel she gives Abigail about the lighthouse:
"The Chapel Isle Lighthouse was built in 1893. It took more than nineteen months to complete. Our magnificent spiral staircase has one hundred and two steps to the turret. We've got original Fresnel glass. Top of the line. Made specifically for lighthouses to ensure they would have the clearest, longest beams. We're the twenty-third-oldest standing lighthouse in the country, and the number of vessels guided in safely while the beacon was in service is estimated in the thousands. The Chapel Isle lighthouse is a bona fide piece of Americana."
In theory it sounds pretty nice, but I could never live in the wreck that is the caretaker's cottage. Threadbare carpet, no heat but a fireplace, everything coated in a layer of dust, and not even a working washing machine. I'm curious to see how Abigail deals with it all.
I've only just started reading Colette's The Ripening Seed, but it is about as different than the Block book as can be. Ever since I read and loved Cheri and the Last of Cheri, I've wanted to read more of Colette's work. I expect this deceptively slim novel to be far deeper and complex than it appears. Vinca and Philippe are friends who return every summer with their families to the seacoast in Brittany. Now fifteen and sixteen respectively, this is a coming of age tale, or more specifically a tale of their awakening sexuality and involves also an older woman.
The description notes that the seacoast pervades almost every page, so how could I pass it up?
"They were swimming side by side, his head round and black under his wet hair and his skin the whiter, hers the light gold that fair skin turns, a blue foulard round her head. The daily plunge, joy silent and complete, restored them to the peace and childhood they were in danger of losing at their difficult age. Vinca floated on her back, spouting water into the air like a young seal. Beneath the twisted foulard peeped two delicate pink ears, hidden by her hair during the day, and, on either temple, two clearings of white skin that saw the light only at bathing time. She smiled at Philippe, and under the eleven o'clock sun the delicious blue of her eyes took on a greenish reflection from the sea. All of a sudden he dived down, seized one of her feet, and dragged her under the water. They 'drank a draught' together, and came to the surface again spitting, spluttering and laughing, as though forgetting their age, she her tormented fifteen years of living her childhood companion, he forgetting his sixteen years of domination, his debonair disdain, his precocious lordliness and his unreasonable demands."
Even though this is a very short book, it's one I am not trying to rush through and find myself rereading passages as I go.
The nice thing about my own interpretation of 'beach books' is that they might be light and fluffy or they might be serious and somber or somewhere in between--as long as the setting makes me feel the sand between my toes and hear the roaring of waves!