Are you on the beach? I hope you’re on the beach. Right now, reading this. We’ve had a bunch of rainy weekends here in New York, followed by gorgeous 80 degree sunny days during the workweek. This coming week is forecasted to be more of the same. It’s summer and I’ll take it, but I hope to get to the beach soon!
When most folks think beach read, they picture a crappy paperback, overblown romance novel, or fast-paced thriller. While these are all fine for the beach, they aren’t the perfect recipe for spending a few enjoyable, literary-filled hours lying on the sand. While the beach may not be the best time to try a Victorian classic by Thomas Hardy (snooze) or grand historical novel like Wolf Hall (major snooze), you don’t need to resort to garbage writing and cheap thrills to pass the time. My requirements for a beach read include a mix of an engrossing, fast-paced story, adventurous characters, not too much description or flowery writing, and a book I can easily read for hours without feeling overloaded.
Here are some suggestions for what to read on the sand:
by Emma Straub
This one made it onto almost every ‘beach reads’ list of this year. The Post family is on a two-week trip to the island of Mallorca. This promising relaxing escape falls by the wayside as family DRAMA comes into play. A smart novel in the over-saturated market of dysfunctional family tales.
If you haven’t read this yet, now is the time. Don’t be intimidated by the size. Fast moving, well-paced (mostly), and an engrossing, unique tale make The Goldfinch a fantastic read.
by Cheryl Strayed
I think my love affair with Cheryl Strayed is well documented by this time, but I enthusiastically endorse Wild as a fantastic beach read. Adventure, youth, yearning, and loss all have a place in your beach bag.
by Pierce Brown
A suggestion that came from Eric (who is a fan of the sci-fi/fantasy genre), Red Rising is the first book of a forthcoming trilogy. In the first 100 pages, we learn about Darrow, who is living in a mining colony on Mars, gets infiltrated into a revolutionary group, and helps to bring down society. Ambitious, fast-paced, absorbing, gripping? Check, check, check, check.
By Jess Walter
A romantic story set on the Italian coast in 1962 and in present day Hollywood, the novel is enjoyable, easy to read, and peaceful. Cocktail in one hand, Beautiful Ruins in the other.
If you haven’t read it, then do yourself a favor and read it on the beach! Even if you’ve seen the (excellent) movie, read it anyway! Gillian Flynn’s thriller will keep you occupied for hours.