Summer is a great time to catch up on reading. The days are longer, school’s out, and the balmy weather makes being outdoors a treat. There are so many places where you can enjoy a good book, but the beach is one of the best. There are fewer distractions than home, and you get to relax with the sounds of the ocean waves. If that doesn’t sound enticing enough, the right book can help get you in the summer mood. Explore our list below for classic beach reads you won’t want to put down.
This iconic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is set in the summer of the Roaring ’20s. It’s a classic tale of wealth, class, unrequited love, and the failure of the American Dream. With just nine chapters, it’s also a short read, making it ideal for an afternoon at the sea. Lay out your beach towel and get ready to dive into the glamorous world of Jay Gatsby and his high-society friends. The descriptions of the extravagant parties alone will get you in the mood for summer fun.
Jet set around the world from the comfort of your towel with this bestselling memoir from Elizabeth Gilbert. The book chronicles her year-long journey abroad after a difficult divorce and the lessons she learned along the way. Follow the author as she eats her way through Italy, discovers spirituality in India, and finds new love in Indonesia. The raw, emotional honesty will keep you turning the pages until the very end. If you’re a fan of non-fiction, travel, and personal growth, you’ll love this pick for your next beach read.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild is another great memoir for your beach bag. Written by Cheryl Strayed, the book describes the author’s journey of self-discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail. Setting out in June 1995, Strayed hiked 1,100 miles solo without any prior experience. The story weaves together moments from before and during the trek, detailing both her challenges and triumphs. It’s a great weekend read that will stick with you long after the summer’s gone.
This coming-of-age novel by André Aciman is set in 1980s Italy. It centers on Elio, a teenage American-Italian Jewish boy living with his parents at their cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. When doctoral student, Andre, arrives as the family’s summer guest, a sudden romance blossoms. The book chronicles their passion over the course of the summer and the next 20 years. It’s a story of heartbreak, pain, and regret, but also self-discovery, intimacy, and love. With the beautiful Italian landscape as a backdrop, it’s the perfect summer read.
Nicholas Sparks’ bestseller is filled with poignant emotion and sweet romance. After their parents’ divorce, 17-year-old Ronnie and her younger brother, Jonah, are sent by their mother to spend the summer with their estranged father in his hometown. The small, Southern, beachside town is a far cry from New York, and Ronnie is anything but pleased. Her father tries to connect with her through music, the one thing they have in common. What follows is a story of family, secrets, first love, and second chances. Put on your beach coverup and find a spot in the shade to enjoy this bittersweet book.
This mystery novel from Celeste Ng is both a thrilling and heart-wrenching family portrait. It centers on the Lees, a multiracial Chinese-American family living in 1970s Ohio. When the middle child, Lydia, mysteriously dies, her parents are forced to confront their shadows. The story shifts between the present and past, exploring the complicated relationships we have with ourselves, our partners, and within family. It examines prejudice, sexism, racism, and the divisions between cultures. This moving book is neither too short nor too long, making it the perfect read for a summer’s afternoon.
Ann Brashares’s beloved YA novel is a treat for all ages. The story follows the adventures of four best friends who, for the first time ever, will be spending the summer apart. Bridget is going to soccer camp, Tibby is working at a local store, Lena is off to Greece, and Carmen is heading to South Carolina. The girls find an old pair of women’s jeans that magically fit them all. They decide to share them among themselves while they go on their separate travels. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story that centers on the importance of friendship and family.
Whether you’re into page-turning thrillers or sweet, romantic stories, there’s a book to get you in the summer mood. Hit the beach in style with swimsuits and accessories from Lands’ End.
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