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  • Olivia Swindler

Backlist Beach Reads for Every Beach Goer

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

It is officially 90º in Grenoble, and I have melted. The heatwave has made one thing very clear, I need to go to the beach. For me, the beach does not involve swimming or sunbathing. For me, going to the beach means sitting under the shade of an umbrella with SPF 100+ freshly applied, reading a book. (Please enjoy this picture of what happens when I actually venture into the water…)



Because I am aware that everyone has their version of a beach vacation, here are beach reads for every type of beach reader. Enjoy the beach, don’t forget your sunscreen. :)

If you want to learn something while you tan: You Never Forget Your First, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States


You Never Forget Your First is the perfect presidential biography for anyone unsure about presidential biographies. Very informative and just a wonderfully fresh take on George!


Lafayette in the Somewhat United States is another hilarious history take. If you like audiobooks, it is wonderful on audio (think multiple narrators, including Bill Hader!). If you are having Hamilton withdrawals, this is for you!

If a beach read must take place on the beach: Beach Read, The Unhoneymooners


Beach Read is like the title suggests, a beach read. Surprisingly deep and pokes fun at the tropes that are the backbone of the beach read genre. And of course, it features a small beach town.


Unhoneymooners is light and happy. Laugh out loud funny, very much had moments that felt like an early 2000’s rom-com (my favorite age of movies). Great if you want your beach read to take you somewhere tropical!



If you need a beach read that will make you hopeful: Evvie Drake Starts Over, Today Will be Different


Evvie Drake Starts Over is one of my favorite books of 2020. It is filled with hope and overcoming hardship in the face of grief and loss. But, don’t let the heavy themes fool you, this book still made me laugh out loud.


Today Will Be Different is by one of my favorite authors--Maria Semple. If you loved Where’d You Go Bernadette this book is for you! Very clever writing, and again made me laugh out loud (which is my number 1 beach read priority I am realizing as I write this…)

If you want to be kept on the edge of your beach chair: The Last Mrs. Parrish, Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door


The Last Mrs. Parrish is my favorite type of thriller. I can’t say much about this book without spoilers. But this is a good one!!

The Couple Next Door is almost equally as page turn-y, and was my vacation read for my most recent holiday!

If you are going on a very long holiday: The Goldfinch, Devil and the Dark Waters

The Goldfinch is long. There is no way around that, so be warned. It is also a sloooow burn. It took me about a third of the way through to get into it, but once I was, I couldn’t put it down!


Devil and the Dark Waters is written by Stuart Turton, the author of The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. This book is dark and twisty and was so hard for me to put down! I love the way Turton builds the words around his stories!

If you want some YA nostalgia: One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars


One of Us is Lying has the perfect mix of high school angst and coming of age (while solving a murder) that made me fall in love with YA all over again. This book was so hard to put down!

We Were Liars is an all-around well-crafted book. The story will keep you on your toes (and leave you saying “what?!?”) This book is very clever. I highly recommend not knowing anything about it going in!


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