6 Must-Read Beach Books for the Summer


If you’re like most Americans, you have some sort of plan to get away for a few days this summer. Summer vacations are an incredible way to unwind and recharge, but before long, all of that silence is bound to make you go a little batty. Besides, you have all of that time on the plane to fill. And once you’ve taken a little nap in the sun on the beach or by the lake (or stream, or pool, or whatever body of water you happen to have chosen this year) you’re going to need a little something to make your imagination soar. Because let’s face it, with work, family, and household responsibilities, when do you ever really get the chance to kick back and enjoy a good book? Now is your chance, but what will you read?!


We’ve curated a list of books that is bound to satisfy any reader’s taste. Let us know which ones you pick!

Sing, Unburied, Sing

By: Jesmyn Ward

This is the third novel for National Book Award winner, Jesmyn Ward. Good Reads had this to say:

Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.

Murder in Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy

By: Helene Stapinski

This third memoir from author Helene Stapinski received praise in the San Francisco Chronicle:

A murder mystery, a model of investigative reporting, a celebration of the fierce bonds that hold families together through tragedies, “Murder in Matera” is a gem, its flaws slight enough that they’re unlikely to lessen the satisfaction most readers will feel when they come to the end of Stapinski’s fraught journey into her family’s past.

The Captain Class

By: Sam Walker

Sam Walker is the founding editor of the sports section of The Wall Street Journal. From Amazon:

The secret to winning is not what you think it is.
It’s not the coach. It’s not the star.
It’s not money. It’s not a strategy.
It’s something else entirely.

Several years ago, Sam Walker set out to answer one of the most hotly debated questions in sports: What are the greatest teams of all time? He devised a formula, then applied it to thousands of teams from leagues all over the world, from the NBA to the English Premier League to Olympic field hockey. When he was done, he had a list of the sixteen most dominant teams in history. At that point, he became obsessed with another, more complicated question: What did these freak teams have in common?


Commonwealth: A Novel

By: Ann Patchett

Patchett follows six siblings over 50 years in her latest work. From Southern Living:

Filled with drama between two families, romance that threatens their safe lives, and a famous writer who splashes family secrets all over the world, Commonwealth is incredibly written and perfect for devouring on a beach trip or discussing during book club.

The Last Neanderthal: A Novel

By: Claire Cameron

This author of The Bear writes dual storylines about a girl Neanderthal living 40,000 years ago, and the archeologist trying to tell the girl’s story today. From USA Today:

Modern humans today share up to 4 percent of the DNA of the archaic species depicted in The Last Neanderthal. This vivid and at times melancholy novel makes clear how much we carry on from those who existed long before us.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A Novel

By: Arundhati Roy

From the author of The God of Small Things, this novel weaves together the lives of unforgettable characters. From The Chicago Tribune:

“The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” is a grand if perplexing achievement: an ambitious story with a profound moral integrity and a deep emotional impact. Roy sets her aims incredibly high, and even when she misses the mark, she has written the kind of monumental and messy book that the monumental and messy world is perennially in need of.



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