The 6 books you should be reading on the beach this summer

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Last weekend I went to a BBQ which means summer has officially started. Woohoo. And with summer comes hopefully a beach holiday with lots of opportunities for lazing on a towel, getting a tan (or if you’re pale like me – sunburn) and reading books.

When I’m reading I get a strong sense of the ideal place for that book to be read (and the music that should be listened to, the food that should be eaten). So these are six books that would go perfectly with the seaside. It goes without saying that I enjoyed them all – or what kind of recommendation would that be?

1. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

A great read for any Jane Austen fan. Five women and one man start a book club where they read nothing but Jane Austen and over the course of six months their lives start to reflect the novels their reading. It’s just an easy, humorous read and it’s great fun trying to pick out the parallels with the books.

2. Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

This comes very high up on my list of favourite books of all time. The four Tillerman children are abandoned by their mother and set off on a hunt for a relative, any relative, who will take them in. The determination of Dicey to take the role of responsible adult at only 13 years old and find somewhere her siblings can call home is what really makes this book. It’s pitched as a children’s book but that’s far too narrow-minded a view. I revisit this series once a year and it has never disappointed.

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

If you haven’t read this book yet then this summer is the time to do it. Set in 1960s Mississippi it tells the story of two black women, working as maids to their wealthy white neighbours, and one white woman, an aspiring journalist who starts compiling a book about the racism and hypocrisy faced by ‘the help.’ The characters are compelling and the theme upsetting but it was the humour that kept me reading – Minny’s character especially.

4. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

So this is a bit of cheat seen as the book is set at the beach. But if you fancy something that’s more thought provoking than the traditional beach read then this would be a great choice. The two main characters are newly married and both anxious about their wedding night to come. The whole book covers one evening, with flashbacks to the main character’s pasts, which means it reads more like a short story and you could probably have it finished in one day. It’s melancholy, heartbreaking and beautifully written.

5. Deep Secret by Berlie Doherty

This is a book I have read before but it’s been on my mental TBRA (To Be Read Again if you were wondering) list for some time. From what I remember I think it would suit the beach wonderfully. Set in a tiny English village in the 1940s the community deals with the death of a resident and the imminent flooding. Again, this is described as a YA novel but it would be worth reading at any age.

6. The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan

Eleven year old Peter has an overactive imagination, something he is constantly being reprimanded for. Each chapter is an account of a different one of his daydreams, which are simultaneously bizarre and poignant. Throughout this little slip of a book you’ll experience every emotion going. This is quite distinct from McEwan’s other books so if you don’t like his books in general then this is still definitely worth a try.

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7 thoughts on “The 6 books you should be reading on the beach this summer

    1. Yes in general he’s not one for easy reads. Sweet Tooth might be worth a try though if you fancy reading another McEwan 🙂 But I’m glad you like On Chesil Beach as I was speaking to a lady the other day who’d hated it and hadn’t even finished it!

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