The days are getting longer, which means more daylight hours to spend outside strolling, meeting up with friends, or stretched out on a beach with a good book (or ten). From short stories to historical fiction to nonfiction, we rounded up ten great books to read on the beach this summer. Enjoy!
THE BOOK CLUB PICK
Want an issues-focused book you won’t be able to put down? For a book you can fly through but that will still make you think, pick up Lucky Boy, a contemporary novel about an undocumented Mexican immigrant and Indian-American couple in Berkeley, and the child caught between them.
In one of the most buzzed-about romance books for this summer (releasing June 5, 2018), a woman with Asperger’s sets out to explore the dating world. She hires an escort to help her “practice,” and I don’t think I need to tell you what happens next. (You might want to make sure no one is reading over your shoulder for some scenes…)
THE SHORT STORY COLLECTION
f you need something you can pick up in small chunks and put down again to get to your next summer adventure, a short story collection is the perfect answer. This collection of nine stories will take you from Carnegie-era Pittsburgh to Nigeria to under the sea and beyond.
THE SFF PICK
Looking for your next Afrofuturistic read? Nnedi Okorafor is perhaps best known for Binti, but Who Fears Death has all the elements of a great vacation read: adventure with more than a side of a danger, a healthy dose of magical realism, and even an intense love connection.
Looking for a twisty beach read? Look no further than the queen of thrillers, Karin Slaughter. This one starts with a brutal attack on two sisters and their mother, but you won’t be able to put it down for the next 500 pages. (And if you like this one, Slaughter has a new book coming out on August 21 for any late-summer escapes!)
The Epistolary Novel
I know it sounds odd to say a World War II book is charming, but this book is indeed charming. Set directly after the end of the war, the novel is compiled of letters between a London-based writer and a “book club” on the formerly German-occupied island of Guernsey. Bonus: The U.K. movie adaptation came out in April, and Netflix is reported to be releasing it in the U.S. later this year.
The Historical Read
If you’ve somehow made it to 2018 without reading this book, now’s the time! This debut novel follows the descendants of two half-sisters from 18th century Ghana: one who marries a slaver, and another who travels on a slave ship to the United States. This beautiful novel earned Gyasi a “5 Under 35” award (she was only 26 when the book published).
The Young Adult Pick
This book is chock-full of lush, descriptive language, and the story is just as magical as the beautiful cover. If you’re looking for an escapist read this summer, try this story about a girl who grows roses from her wrists and her best friend who paints moons, and the secrets they keep together and from one another.
The Nonfiction Pick
Annie Spence is a public librarian in Michigan, and this book is a collection of her letters to books: love letters and “Dear John” letters alike. It includes favorites like The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Namesake, but it will also make your TBR explode with books from all genres and age categories.
I know, I know. We’re recommending a book by a dead white guy. Snooze. But this dead white guy is very funny, and his wry humor really comes across in this short play about mistaken identities. Plus, it clocks in at well under 100 pages, so you can finish it in one afternoon on the beach!