A beach vacation is a perfect time to relax, take a load off from ordinary life, and get lost in a good book. The only problem is finding the best beach read to fit your mood this summer.
We do everything at a fast pace. When we aren’t working, we’re still continually moving, and when we aren’t moving, we’re watching television. Yet when we’re on vacation, shouldn't we be exploring and relaxing?
I hate to sound like my mom, but when we’re on vacation, we should be reading, not staring at a screen. Don’t get me wrong. I watch television all the time when I’m working on a project. It helps add some background noise during long days around the house. Although, after I spend endless days sitting at a desk, I want nothing to do with it. I want to drink in a good story and escape into someone else's life, even if it’s just for a day or two.
When you’re preparing for your next beach vacation, make space for a few good books. Your next beach read should fit your mood. You need stories that will make you think about life from a new perspective. A piece of book-candy that makes you smile as your newest imaginary friends fall in love. Or something set in a faraway land, full of wonder and incredible creatures.
Feed your imagination this summer. It’s time to find the next beach read that will help you forget about life even if it’s just for a little while.
The Importance of a Good Book
We are lost in this world if you think about it. Scrolling through social media is a meaningless way to spend our time, but we do it anyway. It’s our way of making ourselves feel connected with the world around us.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but it is the sad truth of the world we live in today. I also freely admit to being one of those people, and I hate it. Rather than living our own lives, we soak in meaningless media about famous people and what they’re doing in theirs.
You might be thinking that reading a book is the same thing. You’re reading these stories about real or imaginary people. What’s the point? Why should we waste our time?
Well, there’s something magical about the written word. Authors are artists. Their pens are paint brushes, and their words are the paint they use to express their ideas and imagination.
They build new worlds from the ground up and bring incredible stories to life with mere words.
There’s something pure and beautiful about it, as long as you have the time to drink it all in.
Social media isn’t the same because it’s a mishmash of bite-size sentences and paragraphs. It’s nothing but clickbait and carefully worded titles. They draw you in, only to spit you out armed with useless information.
That is why finding the best beach read is crucial. For once, you have all the time in the world. So you should unplug and rope in your battered attention span. Facebook will be waiting when you get back, but toss it aside for now and enjoy a piece of art for once.
Time to Find the Best Beach Read for Your Summer Vacation
I want to tell you that every book on this list is new and remarkable. To tell the truth, that all depends on you.
We want to give you a wide array of options, but it can be hard to pick titles that will make everyone happy. Something I enjoy might be entirely unimpressive for the next person. Some of these choices will be older, some will be brand new, but all of them are worth the time it takes to flip through the pages carefully.
It’s time to mix things up, and these beach reads are the perfect way to do just that.
1. Queenie by Carson Carty-Williams
If you’re looking for a raw story about the struggles of being a modern woman, Queenie is the perfect beach read for you.
The story follows Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican British woman who is living in London. She’s working hard and always comparing herself to other people. She is merely trying to keep up and figure out life, one step, and misstep, at a time. It isn't a comfortable journey, but she is reaching for her dreams and learning so much along the way.
The story explores the challenges of living in this face-paced day and age, which is something we can all relate to. From bad relationships and self-doubt to strength and bold honesty. This story has it all.
2. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman
Do you ever tell people you’re fine when it’s anything but the truth? If so, you might be able to connect with this particular beach read.
Eleanore is witty and bold but keeps to herself. In her world, life has a schedule, and she intends to stick to it, free and uninterrupted. That is until life throws her in the path of two unexpected friends. They’re all isolated for their own reasons but become fast friends, giving each other new life.
While her social skill might be lacking, she’s about to learn the importance of friendship and the value of human connection.
With the help of a boy with a big heart, she might just be able to fix her broken one once and for all.
3. Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale
When you’re looking for a beach read, you’re also looking for an escape from ordinary life. In Austenland: A Novel, Jane Hayes has the same desire. She is in love with Jane Austen novels, relates to the characters, and considers herself to be a woman with no prospects.
Nothing seems to be working out, so she decides to jump out of real life and dives into Austenland. It’s a place where she can pretend to be someone else, for the time being.
What she expects to be a joyous time in period clothing with dashing gentlemen, turns into a hilarious whirlwind of new experiences. But at some point, she needs to figure out what’s real and what’s make-believe.
4. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
Life can change in the blink of an eye. It’s all too apparent in this heartwrenching beach read. If you choose to read "If I Stay" on your beach vacation, you might want to pack some tissues with your sunscreen.
This novel follows the out-of-body experience of a young girl who gets into a car crash with her whole family. Her coma gives her time to reflect on her life in a series of flashbacks. She also gets to walk through the hospital like a ghost, taking in the heartbreak of her friends and family. When it comes down to it, she needs to choose whether she will hold onto life or leave it all behind.
Strap in for a rollercoaster of emotion with this bittersweet and incredible story.
5. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Tobias Iaconis, and Mikki Daughtry
You might be familiar with the movie that came out recently, but "Five Feet Apart" started as an incredible book. Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, it’s a fantastic beach read. They can only capture so much beauty on the silver screen.
"Five Feet Apart" is about kids living in a hospital dealing with the same illness. Due to their cystic fibrosis, they always have to stay a certain distance apart. Before Stella and Will met each other, it was an easy rule to stick to. But if they can’t keep away, their possibility for transplants and lives could be in danger.
If you want a beach read that will make you reflect on the freedom of your own life, this is perfect. It makes you wonder if you're taking advantage of all the opportunities in this life, and a fresh perspective from someone who isn't so lucky.
6. Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
In 1965 the world was full of possibilities, but they weren’t always easy to take advantage of, at least, not for women.
Alice Weiss lands herself a job working with Helen Gurley Brown, the first female editor and chief of the Cosmopolitan magazine. The publication is being run into the ground and was nearly ready to be put out of print altogether. Except, these girls weren’t letting it go so quickly.
This new job changes Alice’s life, and she never saw it coming. It also gives the rest of us a peek at the personality and sheer determination of the real-life Helen Gurley Brown. You can count on scandal, roadblocks, and nearly devastating failure in this riveting beach read. You’ll also get a little perspective on the type of women that forged the professional path for the rest of us.
In this time, it was common for men to run the show, but this time they were going to have to think again.
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
"The Help" is a fantastic piece of historical fiction, set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. It explores the lives of people in two different worlds, divided by the color of their skin.
Aibileen is a black maid who knows how to keep her mouth shut, regardless of her own feelings. She does it for the sake of the white children she has cared for over the years.
Her best friend, Minnie, isn’t so great at following this rule herself. In fact, she finally snaps and gets fired yet again. Luckily there is one eccentric white woman who is a social pariah and in desperate need of her help.
Aibileen and Minnie soon became close with a young white woman who is back home from college to chase her dreams as a writer. She needs their help to achieve her goal. They need her more than they thought they would. Together they tell an unspoken truth about what it's like for black maids to work for white families.
If they can pull this off, they might be able to change a world that is determined to stay the same. Relax on the beach with this beach read and watch as the small town of Jackson turns upside down.
8. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
I mentioned “book-candy” in the introduction to this post, and "Waiting For Tom Hanks" fits the description. It’s light, sweet, and witty. It also makes the perfect beach read because you can practically devour it in one sitting.
If you love romantic comedy, this will be right up your alley, especially since the main character is obsessed with them.
Annie Cassidy watches "Sleepless in Seattle" religiously. She also writes screenplays and dreams of having her own whirlwind romance with a man like Tom Hanks. At least, like his character in the movie. In her mind, the perfect man should be sweet and sensitive. He should be the man that makes you want to toss everything else aside to get swept away.
When a movie production comes to town, she jumps at the opportunity to work on set. Unfortunately, the leading man is nothing like Tom Hanks or his character. Then again, it might not be as unfortunate as it seems.
9. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
If a vacation is for anything, it’s an excellent time to sit back and consider aspects of your life.
Elizabeth Gilbert took her big vacation to the next level and turned it into a journey of self-reflection after a tough divorce in her early thirties. Before her marriage fell apart, Elizabeth had a seemly perfect life. She had the ideal man, a gorgeous home, and a successful career. Despite all of that, she wasn’t happy, and her overwhelming anxiety was crippling.
That led to her journey of soul searching through Italy, India, and Bali. She learned the importance of balancing enjoyment and spirituality, teaching all of her readers a crucial lesson along the way.
This beach read falls into the “oldie but goodie” category. It never gets old because it has an ever-relevant lesson for every reader.
So enjoy traveling through parts of the world with the author as she maps out her journey of self-discovery. Maybe you’ll do a little soul-searching of your own as you lay on the beach and enjoy some time to yourself.
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Romance is the best thing to read when you’re lounging on the beach, soaking up those rays of sunshine. Therefore, it would be an absolute crime to leave out the novel that set the standard.
If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll still probably be familiar with the plot of Pride and Prejudice. Authors use it as a model for a great many love stories written to this day.
Starring in the novel, Elizabeth Bennet has a strong will and is her fathers favorite, whether he admits it or not. She is a woman who is fully prepared to be a spinster and is never planning to be on the hunt for a man — much to her mother's hilarious dismay.
Before she knows it, her life gets swept up by new people moving to her neighborhood. There are new social events and new friends. Mr. Darcy arrives among his friends. He also has no interest in finding a love interest himself, and prefers to be the dark and brooding stranger looking down on the commotion of others with disdain. Well, for now.
As everyone gets caught up in a social web, there is plenty of scandals, confusion, and revelation along the way.
Most people assume that this is just another old book you probably had to read in high school. You will be happy to find that it's a thrilling story with strong characters. Luckily, you will have plenty of time on your vacation to adjust and appreciate this classic masterpiece.
Time to Take a Break from Life with a Fantastic Beach Read
As you can probably tell by now, I’m a sucker for a good story. Anything from romance to self-discovery strikes me as a great beach read. They give you time to enjoy a happily ever after, fall in love with incredible characters, and consider what's essential in this life.
Overall, the best beach read depends on your taste and the type of stories you enjoy. We tried our best to incorporate a little bit of everything. That includes classics you may have forgotten about, as well as newer novels you’ll be itching to read.
You might find yourself reading something completely different. Remember, you don’t always have to read for an educational purpose; you need to feed your creativity every now an then. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the perfect day on the beach, or even when you’re floating in a pool soaking in the summer.
We would also love to hear about your favorite beach reads in the comment section below!