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2016 Summer Reading List: Best Books to Read on the Beach

summer beach reads

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Whether you’re headed to your local lakeshore or to a tropical island, there’s no better way to relax under the summer sunshine than by reading a great book. From suspenseful thrillers to scintillating romances to character-driven novels, you’ll find plenty of page-turners to keep you company in the sand. Don’t leave for your summer vacation without packing these seven best books to read on the beach.

“The Vacationers” by Emma Straub

Get into a summertime mindset with one of the best beach books of the year. On the surface, Emma Straub’s “The Vacationers” tells the story of an average American family’s European getaway to Mallorca, but this novel quickly delves into the inner workings of the characters’ relationships.

Whether you’re reading under a breezy umbrella from a white sand beach, or near a palm tree grove in a tropical oasis, you’ll feel like you’re right there with the family as each member deals with unexpected issues. Follow along as juicy secrets arise and life-altering wounds appear over the course of a two-week vacation.

“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins

No summer reading list is complete without a thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train” will have you frantically turning each page as you delve into the fast-moving tale of a woman who devises imaginative stories about the people she sees on her daily commute.

Once the girl on the train starts to notice unusual happenings along her everyday route, she becomes intimately involved in some unsavory activities. Pick up a copy of this psychological thriller, and you’ll be in for a wild ride on the beach.

“The Summer Before the War” by Helen Simonson

Historical fiction couldn’t be hotter right now, and Helen Simonson’s “The Summer Before the War” will take you back in time right from the comfort of your beach cabana. Meet the protagonist, English schoolteacher Beatrice Nash, and let the prose pull you in as she navigates independence, womanhood, and change as World War II quickly approaches.

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter

For a great historical read with a splash of Hollywood glitz, Italian glamor, and 1960s romance, look no further than Jess Walter’s “Beautiful Ruins.” Step back in time and tour the Mediterranean Sea during its romantic heyday, then follow the characters as they meet again several decades later. The author’s colorful passages will transport you to the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean and back to contemporary cosmopolitan locales as you devour page after page.

“The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner

Travel stories are known for being good summer beach reads, since they can easily transport you to your choice of faraway lands and inspire wanderlust. Eric Weiner’s “The Geography of Bliss” does just that as he takes you on a yearlong tour of the world in a search for happiness.

Weiner begins this insightful and humorous story with a relatively gloomy outlook on life. As he questions why some cities and countries are more cheerful than others, he starts to discover the roots of happiness. Follow along as he tours destinations as diverse as Iceland, Thailand, Qatar, and India, and you just might feel a little happier right where you are.

“The Versions of Us” by Laura Barnett

Like most people, you’ve probably considered your fair share of “what-ifs” as you’ve navigated your way through tough decisions and life-changing dilemmas. Laura Barnett’s “The Versions of Us” lets you give in to that guilty pleasure, as the novel explores three different potential futures for two main characters on the edge of a major life event.

As it explores the power of choice and the potential each person possesses, this novel will leave you breathless. It just might inspire you to rethink your impact on those around you and reconsider your purpose and drive.

“One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories” by B.J. Novak

If you’re a fan of “The Office,” you’ll remember the deadpan yet hilarious lines that temp office worker Ryan Howard delivered throughout the TV show’s many seasons. Actor B.J. Novak, who expertly played Howard as he rose through Dunder Mifflin’s ranks, continues to offer brilliant insights in his collection of short pieces, “One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories.”

Are you worried about suffering from a limited attention span on the beach? Short stories are the perfect solution, and Novak’s are some of the funniest and most biting to emerge on the scene in years. You’ll love reading his stories on relationships, success, and the trials and tribulations of social media as you relax on the sand.

No matter if you’re planning a quick weekend getaway or a leisurely trip to the coast, your packing list isn’t complete without these seven beach books. Make some space on your favorite bookshelf, stop by your local bookstore, and get ready to start digging into your 2016 summer reading list.

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