Looking for poolside page-turners you can dive into while you’re away on a monsoon getaway? With a mix of popular classics, romantic novels, thrillers, and modern fiction, we’re highlighting a range of options you can tote along on your next vacation, because vacations are the best ever time to catch up on your reading! Before you start packing, take a look at these must-have beach reads.
Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures author Emma Straub writes about one family’s two-week trip to the island of Mallorca in The Vacationers, a story about the complicated up-and-down dynamics among family and friends. The Posts are going on their first family vacation in years, and it’s going to be a special one: Jim and Franny are taking their daughter Sylvia, son Bobby and his girlfriend, and Franny’s best friend Charles and his husband, all the way to Mallorca for two weeks of the sort of relaxation, culture and cuisine that only Europe can offer. But there are problems. After a transgression with a 23-year-old editorial assistant, Jim has been sacked from his job, and now his and Franny’s marriage is on the rocks. Charles and Lawrence are feeling divided over their future, Bobby is mired in debt problems and stuck in a relationship that’s pulling in opposite directions and his girlfriend Carmen, super-fit personal trainer and, at 40-something, far too old for Bobby, seems to have realised her mistake. As for Sylvia, she’s 18, about to go to college, and determined to lose her virginity before she gets there.
Bestselling author Emily Giffin’s latest novel, The One & Only, takes place in a small Texas town where football is everything. Shea, a 33-year-old woman, was born and raised in the college community. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets. Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One & Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.
Transport yourself to the Mediterranean with Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, a romantic read that tosses between Italy in the 1960s and modern-day Hollywood. From the moment it opens—on a rocky patch of Italian coastline, circa 1962, when a daydreaming young innkeeper looks out over the water and spies a mysterious woman approaching him on a boat—Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, Beautiful Ruins is gloriously inventive and constantly surprising—a story of flawed yet fascinating people navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
Terry Hayes’s thriller I Am Pilgrim tells the story of a secret agent — with the code name Pilgrim — who is forced to face his greatest enemy after the murder of a wealthy American.
Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories is a posthumous collection written by a 2012 Yale student who had a play set to be produced and a job waiting at the New Yorker when she died tragically in a car crash days after graduation. Following the viral success of her final essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” her essays and stories have been gathered into a collection.
The Bees by Laline Paull is what Room author Emma Donoghue calls a “heart-pounding novel” and a “wild ride” about an ancient culture with a strong caste system in which only the queen can breed. Flora 717, a member of the lowest caste, is caught between personal dreams and society’s demands when she dares to challenge the queen’s wishes.
Unique and amusing, Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments follows the back-and-forth emails between two female co-workers who like to dish on their relationships — and the company’s Internet security officer who finds himself falling for one of the women based only on her private exchanges.
The Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick returns with the story of the 38-year-old Bartholomew, who struggles to be on his own after his mother’s death. In the witty book, titled The Good Luck of Right Now, Bartholomew finds a letter from Richard Gere among his mother’s things, and he sets out to find himself as he writes letter after letter to the actor.
Chelsea Handler’s back with another book, Uganda Be Kidding Me, this time sharing her hilarious, outrageous stories from traveling the world. Wherever Chelsea Handler travels, one thing is certain: she always ends up in the land of the ridiculous. Now, in this uproarious collection, she sneaks her sharp wit through airport security and delivers her most absurd and hilarious stories ever. Complete with answers to the most frequently asked traveler’s questions, hot travel trips, and travel etiquette, none of which should be believed, this book has Chelsea taking on the world, one laugh-out-loud incident at a time.
The Fault in Our Stars author John Green calls We Were Liars by E. Lockhart “thrilling, beautiful, and blisteringly smart.” In it, there’s a group of four friends called The Liars, and one of them, a girl named Cady, is part of a distinguished, mysterious family.
Sharp and witty, Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette follows a young girl, Bee, as she pieces together emails, documents, and secret correspondence to find her mother, Bernadette, an agoraphobic architect who goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica.
Charming and nostalgic, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows brings together letters and storylines from the 1940s to tell the tale of a quirky society against the backdrop of a dark war.
For a fun mix of nostalgia and romance, dive into The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, which follows a 1922 It girl and her chaperone, Cora, as they leave Wichita, KS, and take on Manhattan, NY. Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s, ’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers, and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.
For a dose of sharp writing and juicy celebrity culture, dive into Christine Sneed’s debut novel, Little Known Facts, told from several points of view. Set around an A-list Hollywood actor and his family, the book looks at the highs and lows of fame and how it affects relationships.
Just in time for wedding season, you can pick up a copy of Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close, a story about three 20-something friends who find themselves going to wedding after wedding, struggling to figure out their own lives.