Whether you are spending part of your summer relaxing in the sand, lounging by the pool or enjoying the warm breeze from a hotel balcony, a good book should always be included in your beach bag.
After all, summer is the season for reading great books at the beach.
It’s the best time to catch up on missed readings, return to old favorites or explore some new releases.
While many people consider vacation as a time to relax and give your brain a break, a good book on the beach can help you truly escape reality … even if it is for only a few days.
The following are some great books that are worthy of a spot in anyone’s beach bag:
Tangerine: A Novel
By Christine Mangan
This is a dark and haunting tale of friendship and obsession that centers on the main character, Alice Shipley, who has recently moved to Morocco with her husband, John. While Alice struggles to adjust to her new surroundings, an old roommate, Lucy Mason, unexpectedly visits. At first, Lucy, who has always been fiercely independent, helps Alice emerge from her new flat and explore this exotic country. But it doesn’t take long for Alice to begin feeling controlled and stifled by Lucy. Then, Alice’s husband mysteriously disappears, leaving her questioning everything around her, including her old friend’s actions. It’s a thriller you won’t be able to put down. But you better read it this summer because a movie based on the book is said to be in the works starring actress Scarlett Johansson.
Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece
By Michael Benson
If you do, this is the summer read for you.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of this classic film’s release, this book is the definitive story of the making of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” While the movie is now said to be one of the greatest films ever made, “2001: A Space Odyssey” received mixed reviews when it was first released in 1968. Director Stanley Kubrick was radically innovative with “2001” because of the film’s limited dialogue and lack of a central character. Author Michael Benson takes readers behind the scenes of the making of this monumental film. “Put simply,” Benson writes, “it changed how we think about ourselves.”
By Madeline Miller
Based on the characters of classic Greek mythology, this book follows Hera and Zeus’ unusual daughter Circe. Although she isn’t powerful like her father or alluringly beautiful like her mother, Circe discovers she has witchcraft powers that bewilder the gods.
Threatened by his daughter, Zeus banishes Circe to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Medea, and Odysseus. This book is a celebration of indomitable female strength and takes readers on an adventure filled with family rivalry, palace intrigue and romance.
The Girl With All The Gifts
By M.R. Carey
In this science-fiction novel, humans have been infected by a fungus that quickly causes people to lose their mental powers and feed on the human flesh. The infected are referred to as “hungries,” and the disease spreads through blood and saliva, but it also can be transmitted through spores created by the fungus. The few surviving uninfected humans in England either live in heavily guarded areas or roam in packs of hostile, scavenging “junkers.” However, a military base in Beacon also begins studying a group of child “hungries” who lose control only when they get too close to human scent. These children are educated by teachers and tested by the head scientist, Dr. Caroline Caldwell. But Helen Justineau, a behavioral psychologist and teacher at the base, sees the child “hungries” as people. She grows especially fond of Melanie, a 10-year-old whom Caldwell calls “our little genius” because of her high IQ level. Melanie loves Justineau and views her as a surrogate mother. The young girl dreams of a future and does not understand that she is different from the healthy, uninfected adults. Tensions ensue as Justineau is pitted against those who feel Melanie is just a monster like the other hungries.
By Debra Jo Immergut
“The Captives” is a riveting story of a beautiful, young woman named Miranda Greene who is convicted of a brutal murder and is assigned to be counseled by the prison psychologist, Dr. Frank Lundquist. But Dr. Lundquist is shocked when Miranda walks into his office for her appointment and he immediately recognizes her as his high school crush. Still reeling from the scandal that cost him his Manhattan private practice and landed him in his unglamorous job at Milford Basin Correctional Facility in the first place, Dr. Lundquist knows he has an ethical duty to reassign Miranda’s case. But Miranda is just as beguiling as ever, and he’s insatiably curious: How did a beautiful high school sprinter and the promising daughter of a congressman end up incarcerated for a shocking crime? Even more compelling is the fact that, although he remembers every word Miranda ever spoke to him, she appears to have no recollection of him. So, who’s the real one playing games? Is it the doctor or the inmate?
By Lauren Groff
Acclaimed-author Lauren Groff offers a compelling collection of short stories centered on the Sunshine State, where an assortment of strange characters and bizarre tales are overflowing in the wild swamps of Florida. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades and even centuries, but Florida — its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind — becomes its gravitational center. Among those characters navigating the Sunshine State are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy; a restless, childless couple; a homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character — a steely and conflicted wife and mother. These characters encounter everything from the state’s oppressive heat and humidity by day, surprisingly chilly nights, swamp dwellers, sinkholes, hurricanes, transplanted Northerners, drug dealers, drifters, grifters, gators, lizards, mosquitos and a plethora of snakes. After this book, readers will never view Florida the same way again.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
By Jesmyn Ward
This book follows 13-year-old Jojo through his journey to understand what it means to be a man as his family travels through rural Mississippi. While Jojo is biracial, he is faced with a deeply divided family including his white father, Michael, who is being released from prison, and his absent white grandfather, Big Joseph, who won’t even acknowledge his existence. Meanwhile, his black mother, Leonie, struggles with meth addiction and the death of her brother, who comes to her in visions, but only when she is high. The characters in Ward’s novel are haunted not only be the ghosts of loved ones and acquaintances, but also by the heinous crimes and atrocities committed against the black race during slavery and the pre-Civil Rights South.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
By Bill Bryson
Bestselling author Bill Bryson, who trekked the Appalachian Trail in his book, “A Walk in the Woods” and confronted some of the deadliest wildlife in Australia in “A Sunburned Country,” now takes on his greatest challenge: To understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and all of mankind. Bryson travels the world, meeting with famous archaeologists, anthropologists and mathematicians to find answers about life as we know it. Science has never been more entertaining than in this book.
Wicked and the Wallflower
By Sarah MacLean
It’s impossible to have a summer reading list without a romance novel, right? “Wicked and the Wallflower” is the first novel in a new series, The Bareknuckle Bastards, by author Sarah MacLean. In the book, the character, Devil (what a name, eh?) is a bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets. He has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and he decides to stop his half brother from marrying 27-year-old spinster Lady Felicity Faircloth and having an heir. Devil plans to ruin Felicity before his half brother can make her a bride, but he is soon faced with a major dilemma when he finds himself truly in love with Felicity and she shares his feelings. Let the sparks fly with this summer romance novel.
Raw: My Journey Into the Wu-Tang
By Lamont “U-God” Hawkins
While the Wu-Tang Clan are considered hip-hop royalty, none of the founding members has ever told their full story. This year, Lamont “U-God” Hawkins released an unforgettable first-person account of his life with the band. In his book called “Raw,” U-God describes surviving New York’s projects and the tough streets of Brooklyn in the 1970s and ’80s to eventually meeting his Clan’s core and bonding over their love of music. Their talent led them to a wild life of performing in front of massive audiences around the world. “It’s time to write down not only my legacy, but the story of nine dirt-bomb street thugs who took our everyday life ― scrappin’ and hustlin’ and tryin’ to survive in the urban jungle of New York City ― and turned that into something bigger than we could possibly imagine,” U-God writes. “Something that took us out of the projects for good, which was the only thing we all wanted in the first place.”
Beach House Reunion
By Mary Alice Monroe
If you are headed to Isle of Palms this summer, you may want to check out author Mary Alice Monroe’s latest book in the “Beach House” series. In “Beach House Reunion,” three generations of a Charleston, S.C., family (the Rutledges) gather at the family beach house on the Isle of Palms for a summer they’ll never forget. The book centers on Cara Rutledge, who returns to her Southern roots to spend time with family, but is faced with a flood of painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends and the rhythms of the lowcountry can she release the hold of the past and open herself to new possibility for the future.
Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story
By Chris Nashawaty
There are very few Augustans who aren’t familiar with the classic comedy, “Caddyshack.” But this year, the film critic for Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty, takes a look behind the scenes of this iconic film which brought together the genius comedic minds of Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis.
It’s a movie that pitted the rich, clubhouse snobs against the working-class slobs who are forced to haul heavy golf bags around in the hot summer sun. The Washington Post describes “Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story” as “more fun to read than the movie was to watch… a scene-stealing book.”
When Life Gives You Lululemons
By Lauren Weisberger
While everyone knows the book, “The Devil Wears Prada,” best-selling author Lauren Weisberger has a lot more to offer. Her latest book, “When Life Gives You Lululemons” follows everyone’s favorite frosty assistant, Emily Charlton, after she leaves her job working for Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Runway. Emily has now built a career as a publicist to Hollywood’s elite, but she gradually starts losing clients. Suddenly, she finds herself dealing with a fallen supermodel, Karolina Hartwell, in the suburbs of Connecticut. When Karolina is arrested for a DUI, her fall from grace is merciless. Her senator-husband leaves her, her Beltway friends disappear and the tabloids pounce. But in Karolina, Emily finds her comeback opportunity. Along the way, an indispensable ally emerges in the one and only, Miranda Priestly. Fans can’t wait to read more classic lines from Miranda like, “Details of your incompetence do not interest me.”
Bruce Lee: A Life
By Matthew Polly
Film legend Bruce Lee made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans. Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at 32, journalist and bestselling author Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. It’s also one of the only accounts; incredibly, there has never been an authoritative biography of Lee. Following a decade of research that included conducting more than 100 interviews with Lee’s family, friends, business associates and even the actress in whose bed Lee died, Polly has constructed a complex, humane portrait of the icon. He explores Lee’s early years as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction and how that turned Lee into a troublemaking teenager. But, eventually he traveled to America where he became a martial arts teacher and later the personal instructor to movie stars like James Coburn and Steve McQueen. The rest is history.
The Pisces: A Novel
By Melissa Broder
How can you have a summer reading list without a book featuring a beautiful woman falling in love with a Venice Beach merman? That’s right. In the new novel, “The Pisces,” author Melissa Broder captures everything absurd and pure about falling in love by following Lucy, a 38-year-old woman who recently separated from her longtime boyfriend after working on her dissertation for nine years. To escape the stress of her everyday life, she agrees to dog-sit for the summer at her sister’s house on Venice Beach. Everything soon changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. Suddenly, life takes a very unexpected turn when she falls deeply in love with this mysterious merman. Vogue magazine describes “The Pisces” as “the dirtiest, most bizarre, most original works of fiction in recent memory.”
Metro Spirit used book descriptions from the publishing companies and reviews of the books offered by Amazon for this story.