And the other book I read on the beach (two books in a week!) was David Lodge's Deaf Sentence. Although the UK cover quotes the Guardian "Very funny" and the New Statesman "Seriously funny", I'd probably pick out the following key words: death, suicide and obviously deafness. Okay, so corpus linguistics gets a mention (page 32 in my edition).
While sitting on the beach recently, I read Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks, recommended by Stuart. Okay, it did have something to do with work: one of the main character's thoughts are written in SMS-style shortenings and abbreviations.