Fellow readers, let’s talk beach reads. Don’t be put off by the name – these can be read at the beach, sure, but also by a lake; in a park or on your lawn; on your couch – anywhere you’re taking some time for yourself. And any book can be a beach read*, so long as it is something you find gripping. To get started, here are suggestions for books across genres that grab you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.
Looking to be kept on the edge of your seat? (or beach towel?) Go behind enemy lines with WWII spy Nancy Wake as she trains the French Resistance in Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène. Or enjoy a tale of revenge and ego as a film shoot in the Caribbean goes awry in The Siren by Katherine St. John. The dark side of office politics are on display in The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, as editorial assistant Nella realizes the new girl isn’t what she seems. And when her husband disappears, newlywed Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey race against time to figure out his true identity in The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.
Want to escape reality? P. Djèlí Clark’s A Master of Djinn immerses you in a 1912 Cairo, Egypt, where magic has been reintroduced to our world and Agent Fatma el-Sha’arawi tries to restore peace to a city in turmoil. Or accompany junior high school teacher Ryland Grace on a last-chance interstellar mission to save humankind in Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
Are you in the mood for love? In Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, two writers who shared a passionate week when they were 18 reconnect as adults twenty years later. Reena and Nadim are Accidentally Engaged in Farah Heron’s novel, when Nadim agrees to help Reena realize her baking dream by posing as her fiancé on a reality cooking show.
Want to keep it real? Join Margalit Fox as she recounts how two British army officers orchestrated a singular prison break during World War I in The Confidence Men. Journey to South America to learn about the caracara bird of prey, a bird that puzzled Charles Darwin, in Jonathan Meiburg’s A Most Remarkable Creature. Or blaze new trails with The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P. Nimura, as she tells the story of the pioneering sisters who became the first female doctors in the United States.
Maximizing your time by the water by reading books set by the beach or pool? Join four surfer siblings as they throw a raging party – and reckon with past secrets – in Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid, while an uncle and his niece and nephew have adventures and cope with grief poolside in Palm Springs in Steven Rowley’s zany novel The Guncle. In the nonfiction Why We Swim, Bonnie Tsui takes readers inside the human relationship to water.
Looking for a laugh? Women find themselves in over their heads and scrambling to make right when misunderstandings lead to dead bodies, in Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto and Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano.
All these suggestions and more can be found on our list Book Bingo NW 2021: Beach Read. Dive in!
*ok, not every book can be a beach read, which my friend Sara discovered when she took Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life to the beach, a tome so large she couldn’t hold it over her head whilst laying on the sand.
For more ideas for books to meet your Summer Book Bingo challenge, follow our Shelf Talk #BookBingoNW2021 series or check the hashtag #BookBingoNW2021 on social media. Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~ posted by Andrea G.