There’s Just Enough Summer Left For One Of These 16 Beach Reads
There's Just Enough Summer Left For One Of These 16 Beach Reads
The genre of “beach reads” is thought of as a euphemism for lighter literary fare volumes that will entertain you, but that won’t confuse you from the awesome scenery that surrounds you.
We’re all for breezy books we ranked a few decidedly beachy reads among our favorite fiction volumes of the year last year but we think there can be more to a good summer book than a gripping plot and buoyant speech, depending on what helps you unwind.
This year, our beach read recommendations list includes a story of a family fraught with financial woes, coming to grips with their lost inheritance while summering at an idyllic beach house. It includes the short narrative of a relationship that runs sour under the California sun, and a moving exploration of sungs of summers past. Take a seem, and read on!
13 Styles of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
Lizzie, the hilarious and self-possessed, but in many ways socially anxious, narrator of Mona Awad’s connected stories is all of us. From a young age, she sees the gap between her private passions and her social life unsettling she receives herself building desserts for a man who describes her as “nice , not beautiful, ” and finds herself resenting the thin, bubbly, vintage-clothes-wearing girl she gets lunch with. When Lizzie does lose weight, the idea of weight loss still haunts her, a statement Awad thought was important to make: shedding pounds is no fairy tale ending, but learning to embrace your body for what it is can be. You’ll follow Lizzie through punk rock-scored drives and a crumble relationship, but Awad’s bright scenes will keep you laughing, too. Maddie Crum
Hadley’s poetic fiction tells the story of a group of siblings coming together for a last vacation at their family’s summer home, a reunion at which they will decide what to do with the crumbling home. The book boasts the sort of keen observation and artful language best appreciated in moments of quiet relaxation, and the emotional tangles and traumas the family must pick at add a welcome energy to the read.
From our review: “Hadley treats human existence the style a nature novelist might treat a forest route: She’s profoundly aware of the past and of the future, but she’s so powerfully fixated on the present moment, its details both painful and ecstatic, that all the remainder seems like merely an echo.” Claire Fallon
Rebecca Schiff’s narratives are devious, sharp and very funny. They’re quick reads, but you’ll find something new each time you read them which induces them perfect for lackadaisical sunshine lounging.
From our review: “Unlike other novelists of her ilk, Schiff doesn’t tell these narratives in a gritty, realistic style, shedding light on something sinister lurking beneath the characters’ sex whims. Instead, her very short narratives[ ricochet] from one insight to the next. Like smart, confident teens trying out new faith systems in earnest, her characters make assured, funny observations about their peers, and then, softly, move on.” Maddie Crum
Straub specializes in the type of smart, luxuriant, relationship-driven literary fare perfect for beachside read: The characters live sun-dappled, upper-middle-class New York lives punctuated by sufficiently dramatic problems for compelling reading, but not tragic enough to destroy the aspirational aspect of their brownstone-based lifestyles. Long-simmering jealousy surfaces, or a bid for youthful independence goes awry. In her latest, two middle-aged couples living in Brooklyn are rocked by long-suppressed dramas when a studio have started to make a film about a long-dead pop starring who was once in a college band with three of the four friends. Claire Fallom
There’s something about the white-hot, just-kindled emotions of teenagehood that construct them the ideal subject matter for summer reading. Kodi Scheer’s novel isn’t a YA book its language and themes are dark enough to be categorized as adult literary fiction but its heroine, Nessa, has romantic notions about how to best be dealt with her sorrow. After the death of her friend and a sudden betrayal of a friend, she’s decided that she wants to end her own life in a way that’s symbolic to her: by jumping off the Eiffel Tower. For Nessa, the final act isn’t about a loss of hope, but about a wishing for the most rhapsodic of retaliation. Anyone appreciative of dark narratives will fly through Midair. Maddie Crum
The Seed Collector by Scarlett Thomas
This prickly, brilliant fiction has it all: household tensions, forbidden love, infidelity, adventure, humor. Follow the Gardener clan as they pursue their odd inheritance rare and perhaps deadly seed pods discovered by their botanist parents while “peoples lives” collapse around their ears. The Seed Collectors is both literary and compulsively readable.
From our review: “A searing household saga with dollops of magical realism, The Seed Collectors is an exquisitely nimble fiction about self-knowledge, love and self-love, and the many routes we shape our lives.” Claire Fallon
Music writing never seems to match the emotive energy of music itself a quandary critics are always tackling. In reaction, should they double down on their cerebral takes, employing stats and data to discuss the future of anthem? Probably not, but so many do. As an antidote , novelist Ben Greenman who’s written about QuestLove and Prince dredged up a series of blog posts when he was younger and unsure of the direction his future love life would take. The outcome is a book that breaks down songs from a personal, subjective standpoint, discussing themes like “Communication/ Miscommunication, ” “Trust/ Distrust” and “Pain/ Pleasure.” If you want to read a book about music that’s as pleasurable and personal as music itself, pick up Emotional Rescue. Maddie Crum