10 Best Beach Reads

The surf, sun and sand offer the perfect backdrop to
dive head first into a good book.

Summer is almost upon us – if you’re based in the South, it may have already washed over you like a volcano. In spite of the heat, summer delivers a lot of joys: sundresses, soothing sunshine, longer days, that amazing lazy-day nap after an afternoon of soaking up the rays. But best of all, summer means beach trips.

Now, maybe you’re an athletic beachgoer – playing bases, volleyball, swimming in the waves. But after a time, the sun and the surf can wear you out, and if you’re there for more than just a couple of days, chances are that you’re gonna wish for a good novel at your fingertips. There’s nothing more soothing than settling into the shade of a big beach umbrella and digging into a captivating story. The wind and waves offer that dreamy, calming white noise that improves focus, and the view of the ocean can transport you far, far away.

So grab a pair of shades and your biggest, floppiest sunhat and tuck into one of ELYSIAN’s picks for beachside reads.

1.
History of Wolves
by Emily Fridlund

This 2017 Man Booker shortlist novel from debut author Emily Fridlund isn’t a zoological study. Its moodiness, eerie tone and frost-bitten setting act as the perfect counterbalance for a day in the sunshine. Set in the backwoods of Minnesota on abandoned hippie commune, Linda lives a strange and isolated life amongst the remnants of a forgotten counterculture. When a young family moves in close by, a mystery quickly begins to unravel and forces the teenager to make some life-changing decisions in rapidity.

$14.19, amazon.com


2.
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere follows the clashing and mingling of two families living in an idyllic suburb of Cleveland, bringing forth questions about the nature of identity and highlighting the bond and clash between mother and daughter. Celeste Ng artfully inhabits the points-of-view of her characters – Elena, the well-ordered rule follower, and Mia, the eccentric single mother new to town – and highlights the impact of secrets and lies. Named a best book of the year by People, The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly and more, you can be sure that you’ll be enthralled by this reading selection.

$16.20, amazon.com


3.
Far From the Tree
by Robin Benway

Compared to the heartfelt aura of NBC’s “This Is Us,” Robin Benway weaves together the stories of three very different teenagers with only one thing in common – their biological mother. This both devastating, yet heartwarming narrative examines issues of race, gender and adoption, asking the ultimate question: “What does it really mean to be a family?” Whether or not you’re surrounded by family on your seaside sojourn, Far from the Tree will make you appreciate your relationships on another level.

$12.59, amazon.com


4.
The Electric Woman
by Tessa Fontaine

Tessa Fontaine is The Electric Woman, traveling with America’s last sideshow. After watching her mother suffer multiple strokes, she jumped on a caravan and was transformed into a stunt-jumping carnie, training herself to ignore fear and execute death-defying tricks. If you’ve ever dreamed of running away with the circus, follow Fontaine’s vibrant memoir about her transient lifestyle full of camaraderie and some of the most colorful characters this country has ever seen. The perfect story for a getaway.

$15.91, amazon.com


5.
The Optimistic Decade
by Heather Abel

Set in the Colorado desert in 1990, The Optimistic Decade follows inexperienced camp counselor Caleb, who built the camp to introduce rich and sheltered people to roughing it in the wild. The uptopian-esque summer camp attracts a host of characters who grapple with idealism and good intentions gone wrong. Without overt politicism and intertwined with a uniquely dry sense of humor, this novel by Heather Abel is the perfect summer-centric narrative for a vacation.

$13.59, amazon.com


6.
The Favorite Sister
by Jessica Knoll

The new novel from New York Times bestselling author Jessica Knoll combines so many elements to stitch together a story wrought with juicy, mysterious drama. Five extremely successful women agree to appear on a reality show that examines that their careers and ability to rise to goals – only, one doesn’t make it to the end of the season alive. Fast-paced and damn-near impossible to put down, The Favorite Sister discusses the invisible barriers against women in business and the tumultuous nature of female bonds – a great way to counterbalance the calmness of the beach.

$15.60, amazon.com


7.
Troublemakers: Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age
by Leslie Berlin

A pleasant rest on the beach–forever changing, yet forever unchanged–is a fitting time to contemplate the impact of technology and internet has had on society. Richly narrated by historian Leslie Berlin, Troublemakers introduces the well-known (and the not-so-well-known) names that launched a technological revolution that would change the face of the world forever. A fitting anthesis to the serenity of the seaside, we’d say.

$20.00, amazon.com


8.
Nightingale Tales: Stories from My Life as a Nurse
by Lynn Dow RN

In another memoir to examine the way that the world and society has changed – especially for women – Nightingale Tales follows RN Lynn Dow through her decades-long career in the medical field since the 1950s. With each chapter acting as a stand-alone story – each crafted with compassionate humor – you watch the evolution of the treatment of registered nurses over time (and enjoy the amusing anecdotes of the day-to-day). Whether or not you’ve ever worked in medicine, there is something relatable here for everyone. It also allows you to read in an episodic manner between shell-hunting and going for a dip.

$13.86, amazon.com


9.
Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments
by Nataly Kogan

What better time than beachtime for a quiet read of Nataly Kogan’s Happier Now? Not your typical self-help book, Kogan draws on science, her experience as a refugee and Eastern traditions to help readers bolster their “emotional immune systems.” This simple paperback teaches one to live fully in each and every moment – good or bad – and how to grapple with one’s own lack of perfection.

$16.70, amazon.com


10.
The High Tide Club
by Mary Kay Andrews

The newest novel from Mary Kay Andrews (AKA “The Queen of Beach Reads”) is set on the 20,000-acre island of an eccentric 99-year-old heiress. The story follows Brooke, a young lawyer, summoned to the dilapidated mansion on the sea by a mysterious note. She has two tasks: protect the island from defilers and track down the descendants of the old woman’s friends from youth. Cloaked in mystery and tangled in tendrils of Spanish moss, this mysterious saga explores secrets long-forgotten, making amends and trying to bring together old friendships.

$13.99, amazon.com


 

Happy reading! 

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