Summer is officially upon us and here’s hoping you’re going to actually use your vacation days (as opposed to the 41 percent of Americans who just didn’t bother last year). And there’s no better way to relax, gain some perspective and broaden your horizons then with a good book. So, with some help from the awesome website, Book of the Month, I now present all the best beach reads that should grace our Kindles or beach bags in July. Now go, get out there – and read.
Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour -Yes, I know this came out two months ago, but I loved it so much, I’m including it in this list – because if you haven’t read it, you should. From Richard Zacks, bestselling author of Island of Vice and The Pirate Hunter, a rich and lively account of how Mark Twain’s late-life adventures abroad helped him recover from financial disaster and family tragedy—and revived his world-class sense of humor. It’s truly genius.
Before the Fall – A plane crashes after a Martha’s Vineyard vacation, and immediately the questions begin. Judge Liberty Hardy describes it as, “a straightforward, whodunit mystery about accountability and redemption that builds to a single incredible climax is an exhilarating rarity these days. I raced through this book, desperately excited to find out what happened. And when the cause of the crash is finally revealed, my stomach dropped and I audibly gasped.”
Never Too Real – Described as a Latina “Sex and the City,” Carmen Rita’s savvy, scandalous, and wise new novel, four close friends who’ve earned the best of everything are forced to decide what they can afford to lose… Cat, Magda, Gabi, and Luz. They’ve helped each other up the ladder with unshakable encouragement–and raw honesty–since forever. But lately, trouble is throwing everything these formidable women thought they knew into doubt.
The Nest – Book of the Month’s most popular title to date. Endorsed by April Guest Judge Ellie Kemper, this New York City-based novel follows the antics of four inheritance grubbing siblings as they squabble over what remains of their family’s financial cushion. Humorous, relatable, and filled with, as Ellie described it, “messed-up dysfunctional, self-obsessed [family] members – much like your family or mine.” You’ll fly through the pages and see what it means to put the “fun” in dysfunctional.
Eligible – I love this book so much – and not just because it’s set in my hometown. Turning Jane Austen into the perfect beach read wasn’t easy, but Curtis Sittenfeld was up for the challenge. She turned Pride & Prejudice into a 21st Century novel, set in the wealthy suburbs of Cincinnati, featuring Elizabeth as a late 30s magazine reporter, and Jane as an almost-forty-year-old yoga instructor. With short, crisp chapters, laugh-out-loud moments, and ivy league-educated bachelors, you’ll devour this one before it’s even high tide.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman – What makes a fabulous beach read? Something funny, punchy, and, let’s be honest, short. The hilarious Lindy West delivers just that in one very red book. As TIME’s Joel Stein puts it,”her writing is ALL CAPS struuuuuung out words, exclamation points, cultural references and talking about her friends as if they’re famous; she takes the shallow style of Internet comment boards and harnesses them into an original, intimate voice.” What’s more fun than that?
Modern Lovers – Emma Straub’s previous novel, The Vacationers, lived up to its title of escapism, and in her latest novel, Emma evokes another kind of wonderful distraction. You’ll become instantly absorbed in these characters’ tangled relationships, friendships, and recognizable struggles. As the Brooklyn streets begin heating up for summer, and this vibrant tale unfolds, you’ll forget about the water and sand around you and become deeply immersed in the world of Lovers.
Lily and the Octopus – Combining the emotional depth of The Art of Racing in the Rain with the magical spirit of The Life of Pi, Lily and the Octopus is an epic adventure of the heart. This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without. For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dachshund. This book reminds us how it feels to love fiercely, how difficult it can be to let go, and how the fight for those we love is the greatest fight of all. Grab some tissues – you’re going to need them.