Summertime and the readin’ is easy.
One of my favorite things about going on vacation is being able to relax with a good book. Whether it’s chilling at the beach, swinging in a hammock, or just on a lazy Sunday staycation a good book can really help you escape.
If I’m going to spend my time stretched out in chill mode I generally don’t want to get into anything too heavy. Beach reads don’t necessarily have to be taken in by the ocean; they’re really a state of mind. Here are five titles for your summertime page turning.
V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton
Last year while in Italy on The Big Trip I set aside a full day in Cinque Terre to do nothing but sit at the beach. I knew I needed to equip myself with a book I could dive into. A literal beach read.
I went to Mondadori bookstore in La Spezia, and as I perused the English language section I saw V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton. I decided to finally check out this author my mother enjoyed so much.
V is for Vengeance is part of Sue Grafton’s alphabet series (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc) that follows private investigator Kinsey Millhone as she works on cases in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California.
I enjoyed the book and was able to see why my mom got such a kick out of the series. V is for Vengeance went with me from the beaches of Italy to the beaches of Morocco.
Unfortunately, Sue Grafton passed away in December of last year, so the last book in the alphabet series is Y is for Yesterday, which was released last August.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Part of the fun of beach reads is being able to transport yourself to another place. The Vacationers by Emma Straub finds a family at a crossroads as they leave New York City to spend the summer in Mallorca, Spain.
Each member of the family enters the trip with certain expectations (or trepidations). I know that many of us go into a vacation seeking to do, be, feel a certain thing when we’re away from our everyday lives. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but there’s that level of hope when we depart.
I love southern Spain and found myself ready to head to Mallorca while reading this book. Sunny beaches, beautiful weather, and a rental house with a pool and mountain views? Who’s in?
The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews
I moved away from North Carolina last year, but I felt like I was transported back while reading The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews. The book takes place in the fictional island town of Belle Isle, North Carolina. It’s about a family who spends their summers on Belle Isle along with the other weekend visitors from Charlotte and Raleigh.
The Griggs family is ready to kick off another summer on Memorial Day weekend when everything changes. Even the most idyllic genteel setting of palmettos and gentle breezes can belie real trouble.
Who wouldn’t love to have a beach house for a weekend or summer escape? Well with The Weekenders you do. So read to your little summer house heart’s content.
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Person X is single and going to a wedding and doesn’t have a date. Enter Person Y who starts off as a stranger until romance ensues. We’ve seen this move before, right? Well not often enough do these stories center on a woman of color as the love interest. Enter The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory.
It’s not as though these books don’t exist, but there aren’t nearly enough, especially by major publishers. It is refreshing and necessary to have this void filled; to see yourself reflected in the character who gets to have the fairy tale ending.
The Wedding Date was my first foray into the world of romance novels. It’s been described by some as raunchy, but something rubs me the wrong way about that word, so I’ll call it…steamy.
It’s nice to see how Jasmine Guillory takes us on this joyride of budding romance and the giddy feelings that go along with it while weaving in topics of race, consent, and self-confidence.
Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin
Emily Giffin is the only author on this list whose work I’d read previously. I’ve read three of her books, including Something Borrowed, which was also a movie with Kate Hudson and John Krasinski. She’s generally a reliable go-to when it comes time to find some beach reads.
Love the One You’re With is about Ellen Graham, whose life as a New York photographer and newlywed is going along swimmingly until she just so happens to run into her ex in the middle of a crosswalk.
While her marriage seems to be perfect, she is understandably shaken by unexpectedly running into the person who broke her heart the most. So much of this book is relatable, from reckoning with a broken heart to navigating life and love as a woman who has lost a mother.
One of the things I enjoy about Emily Giffin’s books is that they’re not always tied up with neat little bows. People can find love and happiness, but it’s often complicated.
There’s so much summer left, so PLEASE give me recommendations for your favorite beach reads.
Thanks, and happy reading!