Going to the beach? Here are eight books to read under the sun

While you’re preparing your list of beach essentials, why not include a book or two to keep you company as you lounge about under the sun?

Temperatures are escalating, days are getting longer, and you can almost hear the sea calling out to you.

Many of you are already planning your beach getaway for sure. Here are eight of our recommended beach reads which would make for perfect companions while you’re on a hammock or a lounge chair by the shore or the poolside. 

1. Good Material by Dolly Alderton

Photo from Penguin Random House

A story of heartbreak and friendship and how to survive both, you will surely be able to relate to the characters if you’re a thirty-something still trying to figure out what to do with your life.

Described as “warm, wise, funny, and achingly relatable,” bestselling author Alderton’s highly-anticipated second novel is about the things that draw us together and also what pulls us apart.

This is such a page turner, you might finish reading it before you reach your beach destination.

2. The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

Photo from the Harvard Book Store

The four novels follow the engrossing story of two friends, Elena and Lila, across their childhood to old age—through their loves and rivalries, triumphs and disappointments.

One of the best coming-of-age series there ever is, this quartet will whisk you to Italy’s sunny coastlines and back again and will make you wish there were more books. Ferrante is a singular voice, powerful yet elegant, subtle yet compelling.

A word of warning, though, her writing is so captivating it might make you forget to take a dip in the ocean. 

3. Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan

Photo from Ciao Amalfi

Any Kevin Kwan book is a great beach read. This one, however, will transport you to the sun-kissed island of Capri in Italy. 

Described as a modern love story and a homage to the film A Room with a View, this is Kwan doing what he does best: weaving a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set against a clash of two cultures.

4. For You and Only You by Caroline Kepnes

Photo from Goodreads

From the bestselling author whose You series inspired the hit Netflix show, the story follows charming antihero Joe Goldberg to the hallowed halls of Harvard for a writing fellowship. There he tries to make it a fairer place—his way.

In this novel, the fourth installment in her Joe Goldberg series, Kepnes explores how vulnerable people tend to bring out the worst in others.

Fans would already know Goldberg as the hopeless romantic who kills in the name of love but this book ups the thrills a notch higher and you’ll be kept at the edge of your hammock for sure.

5. Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Photo from Goodreads

Sittenfeld once again brings complex women to life on the page that nonetheless you can’t help but root for. 

This novel is about work and love and everything in between, especially the social rituals of romance and gender relations in this age of dating apps and situationships. You’ll emerge from this one all the wiser when it comes to relationships.

And if you’re currently struggling with love, this book will make you ask yourself—are you the one stopping yourself from loving? 

6. Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson

Photo from Penguin Random House

Described by critics as indulgent and pleasurable, this novel is a peek into the lives of New York’s ultra-wealthy through three women belonging to a generationally rich Brooklyn clan. 

Despite the extreme wealth the book will let you vicariously experience, the story will make you realize that sometimes that glittering, glamorous world is not so enviable after all.

7. Happy Place by Emily Henry

Photo from Penguin Books Australia

This heartwarming novel follows a former couple who pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends. 

Though this story follows the usual trope of college friends growing together over the years, at the heart of it are the friendships, especially between the main characters.

A light read that’s nonetheless a page turner, we suggest ordering a cocktail while reading this one by the beach. 

8. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub

Photo from USA Today

If you’re a fan of time travel and family dramas, then this one’s for you. The central question is—what would you do if you could take a vacation to your past?

The novel explores the relationship between a loving yet ailing father and his daughter and how we can preserve our most cherished memories. It’s laced with nostalgia especially as it makes us remember the days when we were younger and our parents were still also young and healthy.

Bring out the Kleenex and take a leisurely dip in the pool after reading this unforgettable yet tearjerker of a novel. 

Associate Editor

The new lifestyle.