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2018 Summer Beach Reading List

BY: jolene | Dec 11, 2018

Summer Beach Reads Packing for a beach vacation is easy: swimsuit, sandals, sunglasses. You’re all set, right? Wrong! You have to leave room for one or two or three (I’m not judging you) beach reads. Every year I put together a summer reading list. The titles that make the to-read list have just a few commonalities: they’ve got to be fun and easy enough to enjoy on the beach or a plane and they’ve got to be in paperback. That way I can fit more of them in my suitcase or beach tote. Here’s the eight books on my summer 2018 reading list:

The Royal We

In honor of Prince Harry’s upcoming nuptials, I had to include this modern-day fairy tale from the pair behind fashion website Go Fug Yourself. It’s loosely based on Harry’s older brother, William, and his much-publicized romance with commoner Kate Middleton. But in this retelling, the love interest is an all-American girl (hello Meghan Markle) who has to learn to navigate the tricky British traditions and pressures that come along with the royal family. Best price we could find: $8.69 on Amazon

Crazy Rich Asians

This novel came out awhile ago, 2013 to be exact, but it’s being made into a movie this summer and it looks amazing! The fashion and the scenery alone are worth watching, not to mention it stars hunky Henry Golding and Fresh of the Boat’s hilarious Constance Wu. But also the story is light-hearted and fun because of the over-the-top lives these crazy rich asians live. Best price we could find: $9.60 on Amazon


A book about death doesn’t exactly scream “summer reading,” but somehow Mary Roach made it really compelling. Combing through 2,000 years of history and tradition, Roach traces the wackiest and most important scientific stories cadavers have to tell us about what happens to our bodies after we die. Best price we could find: $9.27 at Barnes & Noble  


Every time I recommend this book to someone, which is a lot, I describe it like Wicked, but for the Bible. That’s because this is the untold life story of Jesus as told from the perspective of his BFF, Biff. Didn’t know Jesus had a best friend? That’s because the Bible really only covers Jesus’s birth before skipping ahead 30-some years to his adulthood and death. Lamb fills in all the details, and gives insights into several religious traditions. Be warned though, this book is a satire and more than a little sacrilegious. If you’re looking for a laugh, Lamb is the perfect beach read. Best price we could find: $9.50 on Amazon

No Exit

Set in the heart of a blizzard, this wouldn’t usually be my go-to for a summer read. But from the moment college student Darby Thorne pulls into this highway rest stop to escape the winter storm, I was pulled in. Darby, along with several other travelers, is stranded there overnight because of the weather. In the course of the night, she discovers one of them has a little girl locked in their car, but she doesn’t know which one and she doesn’t know what to do about it. There are no phones and no way out. Best price we could find: $7.99 on Amazon

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This beloved coming-of-age classic has a staggering 4.25 stars on Goodreads. Millions of readers have fallen in love with young Francie Nolan as she and her family try to realize the American Dream in early 20th century New York. The book embraces wide-ranging themes from poverty and alcoholism to family, love, and what it means to be human. Best price we could find: $11.69 at Barnes & Noble

Frederick Backman

Anything by Frederick Backman

It’s a cop out, I know! But I can’t choose just one. Frederick Backman burst onto the literary scene in 2013 when his debut novel A Man Called Ove was translated from his native Swedish into English. This moving tale about a curmudgeonly old man learning to live his life in increasingly modern times is both heart-warming and heart-breaking. It’s just beautifully written in a way that makes you wish it would never end. And it’s not even my favorite Backman! That honor goes to My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. The title is a mouthful, just like the Granny it references. The story is told by her 7, almost 8-year-old, granddaughter Elsa who learns that the fairy tales her grandmother used to tell her weren’t all necessarily made up. Best price we could find: A Man Called Ove: $9.60 on Amazon My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: $10.87 on Amazon

The Last Black Unicorn

The Last Black Unicorn

Funny girl Tiffany Haddish has been everywhere the past few months—she starred in Girls Trip and has a new show on TBS. But she’s shining her brightest in interviews, where she wins over fans with hilarious stories about everything from growing up in foster care to trying to make it in Hollywood and getting to hang out with celebrities. I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook. Haddish narrates it herself, which means you won’t miss out on any detail and you can laugh right alongside her. Best price we could find: $14.95 on Audible. Start a 30-Day free trial, and you'll get 2 free audiobooks, including best-sellers, just for signing up!