When I used to empty the library bookdrop, finding a returned book with sand between the Brodart jacket protector and the book cover would always cause a bit of frustration. It wasn’t because it was a pain in the a$$ to remove the cover and shake out the sand, but more the realization the book had been somewhere I wasn’t at the moment, because in my world there’s nothing better than settling down in a low-slung beach chair (I’m too old for beach towels) on a beautiful day and pulling out an eagerly awaited book or bringing it up on an e-reader. The plot may be as substantial as a soft serve ice cream cone on a 100-degree day and have the same amount of empty calories, but we know there’s nothing wrong with that. So load up your tote with books or download the following titles on your e-reader and don’t forget the snacks, hat, and sunscreen, and head out to the sunshine, even if it’s just in your backyard.
“Beach Reading” is such a popular topic that I created a list of “beachy” titles on GoodReads (it’s here). And yes, summer reading can be whatever you want it to be (maybe even “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace, a book not one single patron I know of has ever finished), but books with bright and colorful jackets that scream “take me somewhere fun!” are most likely to land in my tote, and having an actual beach on the cover adds to the appeal. So here are a few of my recent favorites. (Note: I realize many of these aren’t yet published, which is why I gave an alternate title which is readily available.)
Late Bloomers’ Club by Lousie Miller (July) is a wonderful feel-good story of self-discovery (even after the age of 40) and also try the companion book, City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. Both have appealing and likable people along with scrumptious food descriptions.
A similar happy read is Miriam Parker’s The Shortest Way Home (July), an engaging story about “following your bliss” set in the Napa wine country of California. I had an ear-to-ear grin when I finished it.
Every June I eagerly await Elin Hilderbrand’s newest title in the “Nantucket” series, and while they tend to run the gamut from wonderful to “meh,” the newest, The Perfect Couple (late June), was almost, well, perfect. One of my earlier favorites is The Blue Bistro.
Wendy Francis’ The Summer Sail was a quick and breezy read, and while it didn’t add anything new to the topic of female relationships, I enjoyed the cruise ship and Bermuda settings.
After reading Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams, you may find yourself peering at Google Earth to find the east coast island that was the inspiration for the setting of this book. If you can’t wait for the publication date of July, try one of her other books such as Cocoa Beach or Secret Life of Violet Grant. I’m also anxious to read Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White, but it’s a bit of a wait until the publication date of September.
Next up for my beach reading pleasure is California Summer by the prolific Anita Hughes who has written a slew of novels set near water. This book features the appealing setting of Montecito, the exclusive community near Santa Barbara, California.
Did you know there is a new Liane Moriarty book being released? That’s the good news. The bad news is Nine Perfect Strangers doesn’t arrive until November. However, if you are anxious to read a new Moriarty title, try her sister Nicola’s newest book, Those Other Women.
If books fraught with female family and friendship dynamics aren’t your thing, perhaps a book that will give you thrills is more up your alley. Don’t worry, there are plenty of those to choose from, too.
One of my “go-to” authors for a taut plot is Linwood Barclay (and he’s also good for those who like Harlan Coben) whose next book, A Noise Downstairs (July), has been receiving raves from librarians. I’m anxious to read it but am trying to hold off until we are on our camping trip. If you’ve never read any of his domestic suspense thrillers, try one of my favorites, Never Look Away.
Not only is Anthony Horowitz an esteemed adult and children’s books author, he also has a long list of TV writing credits (he wrote for the series Foyle’s War). His earlier mystery, The Magpie Murders, was a twisty take on the locked room and country house themes and is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie. His latest book, The Word is Murder, is more of a linear mystery but with the added twist of adding himself as the main investigator.
David Bell has been around for a while but has always flown under the radar. I remember patrons would always enjoy his psychological suspense books and Bring Her Home is definitely a barn-burner. His next book, Somebody’s Daughter, is due in July.
The Last Time I Lied by new-ish author Riley Sager is more of a serial-killer type thriller and librarian pals have been raving about it. It is a sequel of sorts to Final Girls but I understand it’s not necessary to read it first. This author’s books appear to be good “readalikes” for those who like Karin Slaughter and maybe even Stephen King.
And speaking of Karin Slaughter, her next book, Pieces of Her, a stand-alone thriller, is due in August.
I hope those reading my blog found a few of these titles enticing enough to add to your summer reading list, but if your thing is to read more literary type stuff like Infinite Jest, please let me know so I can boast that I know someone who actually finished it.
P.S. If readers find this post a little too fluffy and think “beach-reading” is a silly and meaningless term, here is a fairly
elitist thoughtful opinion I found while looking for suitable images.
My most memorable beach read was “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger. I read it while sitting on the Kauai beach watching the waves come in. It was scary! I’m not sure why I chose it to take on vacation, it was new, it was about the ocean, hey what could go wrong?
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I have many memorable beach reads but two that immediately come to mind are Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER and V. C. Andrews’ FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, both read on the beach of Lake Tahoe.
Another Linwood Barclay fan! I rarely come across people who know him, but he’s also my go-to recommend for Harlan Coben fans.
Loved him ever since his first stand-up alone thriller, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE.
Love your snark!
Snark? Me??? 😉
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