Fun books to beguile lazy, sun-soaked days

Looking to bring some reading with you to the beach? Here are five Shore bets.

Love Hampton by Sherri Rifkin (St. Martin's, $13.95). Replace "Hampton" with "Avalon," and you've got your typical thirtysomething's Jersey Shore house, complete with roommate spats, romances and that one too-young person eager to prove she's mature enough to hang with the crowd. The plot's a little silly and very predictable, but Love Hampton is still a fun, funny ride.

Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner with David Fisher (Thomas Dunne Books, $29.95). You gotta give William Shatner this: he's led an interesting life. From his early days on Montreal stages to his current roles as Priceline.com shill man and Denny Crane on TV's Boston Legal, he might just be the hardest- working man in show business. The book is bizarre and often funny, though he breaks into patches of serious writing and, for some reasons, commercial. Pure Shatner, pure entertainment.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan (Hachette, $19.99). Trish Ryan looked for love in all the wrong places. She tried every sort of self-help and new age tactic for finding that significant other, and after a messy divorce where she went so far as to assume a false identity to shake off her ex, she turned to the most unlikely place for help: Jesus. Don't worry about Bible beating - this Villanova law grad manages to walk the fine line of telling her story without proselytizing. She is honest, frank and funny about the mistakes she made that led her to where she is today.

The Scandal Plan or: How to Win the Presidency by Cheating on Your Wife by Bill Folman (William Morrow, $24.95). This political farce is the perfect antidote for anyone still hung over from Obama/Hillary - and dreading the race to November. Bill Phillips is a model citizen and the perfect presidential candidate, which is his problem: he's too perfect. So, his staff cooks up a plot to humanize him by creating an affair. Of course, the plan goes awry, and the fallout of what seemed a good idea is a framework in which Folman makes plenty of jabs at the political machine.

Historic Photos of the Jersey Shore by Joe Czachowski (Turner, $39.95). This one isn't exactly a book to take to the beach, but it's great for any Shore home, or as a hostess gift. Historic Photos is exactly what the title says - a compilation of pictures depicting key moments in Jersey Shore history, like a brand new Lucy the Elephant, the aftermath of the 1927 fire in Ocean City; the brand new, and the pre-casino Atlantic City boardwalk. But it's the detailed captions that make it worth reading, and sharing.


Jen A. Miller is the author of "The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May."