20 Beach Reads for the Summer

You know the feeling when you get to the airport and realise you haven’t given your beach read a single thought, then you panic buy the most attractive book in the top 10 section in Manchester Airports WH Smiths, and yes, you pay a premium. Well this year we’ve got you covered, I’ve called upon some wonderful bloggers to share with you their favourite reads for the summer, so grab a notepad and take down these 20 top reads for the summer!

1. In Real Life: Love, Lies and Identity in the Digital Age – Nev Schulman

My favourite read this summer has been In Real Life: Love, Lies and Identity in the Digital Age by Nev Schulman. Are you a fan of the show Catfish? Well reading this, you will be! I won’t lie, it’s a psychology book, but I was surprised to notice that it makes for very easy reading. Nev covers a variety of topics, the main one being that in this age, our lives are being dominated by the digital world and social media, that we’d rather sit scrolling through Instagram than have an actual conversation with a real person. I know at times that this is true for me, but after reading this, it’s a habit that I’m trying to break. Nev also details on the typical personality of a catfish: what they are, why they do it, and why people fall for them. Nev tries to counter the actions of catfish by motivating their victims to make authentic connections with people in real life. Along with tales of Nev’s own personal ensnarement, this book contains a lot of life lessons about the world, which is why it’s been my eye-opening and favourite read this summer.

Aoife – www.rockettequeen.com

2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an easy, entertaining and humorous read. The main character, Bernadette, is unlike anyone you have ever come across, and the way Maria Semple develops her character and peels back the layers of why Bernadette is the way she is makes for a page-turner. The book is written through many formats, emails, narrative and letters to name a few, and all of these formats are weaved in to the book seamlessly.

Preethy – www.damasksuitcase.com


3. Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram is one of the most magical books I’ve ever read. Gregory David Roberts teleports us into an India that most of us never knew even existed. The hardcore reality of Mumbai’s slums transports us into a reality filled with explosions of emotions, crime and life-changing experiences. This book is a travel writing masterpiece, with compelling storytelling that will grab you by the throat and only let go once you finish the very last page. Make sure you don’t miss it!

João Sá – http://www.travelholicnomad.com


4. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist would be my perfect travel read. I love the different lands travelled & lesson learnt about finding yourself and home. Brilliantly written & interwoven storyline. The novel follows a young shepherd boy who dreams of treasure within Egyptian pyramids, he leaves Spain to follow his dream.

Katie – www.thiscouldleadtoanywhere.com

5. I Have Lived Today – Steve Moore

England. 1960s. A cold, harsh autumn. On an isolated island, an abusive man forces his wife to run for her life. Their son Tristan, young and afraid, also flees the island and sets out into the world to escape his demons and find his mother.

Hitchhiking beneath the backdrop of a wild and loveless November, Tristan encounters every possible character, from the genuinely kind to the inherently wicked. Beaten, robbed and stripped of even hope, Tristan finds himself on the gritty streets of London’s East End, where everything he thought he knew about life starts to shatter and crumble around him. With all hope seemingly lost, a young boy even questions the futility of life itself. But when he learns that there are others who share his torment and understand his pain, can Tristan find the courage to make it through his darkest hours?

Steve – http://twentyfirstcenturynomad.com/


6. It Was Me All Along – Andie Mitchell

It was me all along is a story that many women can relate to – the daily battle with food. As an overweight child, Andie recounts her dysfunctional childhood and her love/hate relationship with food that led to her to top the scales at 300 lbs. But there is a happy ending, Andie manages to tackle her over eating, get down to a healthier 135lb weight, and maintain a positive attitude towards food as she is actually quite a successful food blogger.

Sue – www.nofixedabodeforsue.com

7. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

We are all completely besides ourselves is a laid back Young Adult read that’s totally engrossing for grownups too and keeps you gripped right from the start! Rosemary is a unique narrator and the mystery of her missing sister is easy to get into. I seriously didn’t see the twist coming – this story will entrance you and surprise you.

Dannielle – http://www.whileimyoungandskinny.com/

8. Not that kind of Girl – Lena Dunham

So I read Not That Kinda Girl by Lena Dunham and loved it! It’s sassy, interesting and I could really relate. I think most girls in their 20s would. Some parts of it make you laugh, some make you sad and to be honest – a lot of them make you feel quite awkward, but only ’cause you can’t believe she dared to say it. Pretty brave if you ask me. In addition there’s some pictures in it so it doesn’t get too wordy. It’s a perfect read to re-live your teens, chill out and have a bit of a laugh!

Paige – www.ipredictariotgrrrl.wordpress.com

9. The Nanny – Melissa Nathan

The Nanny by Melissa Nathan is a classic chicklit following the life of Jo Green, a twenty-something who gets a job in the city working as a nanny for three spoilt kids. I first read it quite a few years ago, but it stuck in my mind because I enjoyed it so much. It’s great for the beach because it’s fun and easy to read, with just enough romance and humour to keep you wanting more!

Lorna – http://www.thewritinggreyhound.co.uk/

10. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

My favourite read in 2015 and one I highly recommend as a beach read is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It’s a compelling and captivating story, but simultaneously a quick and easy read. Perfect for keeping your attention at the beach.

Laura – http://www.savoredjourneys.com

11. Holy Cow! – An Indian Adventure – Sarah McDonalds

What happens when you leave India with a huge relief because this diverse country confused you and after a couple of years you have to go back? Suddenly India looks more attractive but as soon as you smell New Delhi you know again why you wanted to leave. Sarah McDonald is a journalist who lived several years in India. Her biography is a must read for all who consider traveling to India. This book makes you love, cry and angry at frequent intervals.

Barbara – www.ants-in-our-pants.com


12. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

The last book I read earlier this year was one of the best ones I’ve ever read, Gone Girl. I know it might feel a bit old now as the film has been out for quite a while as well, but even if you’ve seen the film I think the book is worth reading as it’s such a gripping story. And if you haven’t seen the film, definitely read the book first! If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a girl who goes missing on her wedding anniversary and they suspect the husband. The unravelling of the mystery and its plot turns makes it a spellbinding read.

Kristina – http://modeofstyle.com/

13. Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

Almost everyone is aware of Gone Girl, but Gillian has two other books even more sick and twisted! Dark Places and Sharp Objects. Both will keep you guessing right until the end, with shocking surprises that you will never see coming. I may have even shrieked a little at the end of Sharp Objects!

Ashley – http://www.onelittlemister.com

14. P.S I Love You – Cecelia Ahern

My all-time favourite book has to be P.S I Love you. Whilst the devastating news of her childhood sweetheart’s death is unimaginable, she is left with a series of letters that guides her through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, all from him. This book makes me cry, laugh and lust all over again, each time I read it.

Paige – www.apaigeatatime-x.blogspot.co.uk


15. If You Go Away – Adele Parks

This book is a brilliant read that I just couldn’t put down, I ended up reading it in a day! Basically the story surrounds a strong, independent woman who is living on the brink of the First World War, its love story and a realisation that a woman can do a lot more than look pretty and get married. It’s such an inspiring book and very emotional but a brilliant read!

Jennifer – www.themadorange.com

16. Follow You Home – Mark Edwards

This book is about a couple that are traveling round Europe, it’s going great but then they get in some trouble on a train in Romania and are thrown off, left in the middle of nowhere late at night. They are with a girl who they met on the train and they’re all quite shocked at what happened.

A little while later the girl walks off and goes missing. They tried to find her but then stumble upon this creepy looking house. The next chapter is them running away from the house. It doesn’t say why and then skips a year ahead. The couple are no longer together, and they’re not talking about what happened in Romania. Weird things are starting to happen to both them and people are dying around them. Needless to say I’m hooked! It’s so well written and the suspense that comes from it is pretty unnerving. I would say it’s a mystery/thriller/horror.

Kevin – surrealkevbo.tumblr.com

17. Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

“…embrace the sweet lovely mess that is real life”

A story that spans a fifty year period, this cleverly written novel combines 1960’s Italy with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Essentially a love story, the book twists the lives of each of the characters and interlocks their trials and tribulations. There are moments of failure and doom, love and heartbreak and Walter even fits in a bout of humour. A must read for those who love tales of travel, music, Italy and Richard Burton (yes THE Richard Burton).

When I first bought the book, from the font and imagery on the cover I assumed it was a chick-lit style read. I was pleasantly surprised to find this book was anything but. Walter manages to draw out each character (and there’s a fair few of them!) and put the reader through a range of emotions. Took me two days to complete it the first time I read it, I just could not put it down! It can be a somewhat frustrating read but I urge everyone to persevere, it wraps up beautifully at the end. One of my favourites for those lazy days on the sand, ‘Beautiful Ruins’ puts your mind through the paces but in an enjoyable-can’t-get-enough-kinda way.

Asma – www.jetsetchick.com

18. Regina’s Song – David Eddings and Leigh Eddings

A brutal serial killer stalks the Seattle nights. Regina Greenleaf was one of the victims. Her beautiful twin sister, Renata, is deeply traumatized. In Regina’s Song, David and Leigh Eddings have written a tense, chilling story of a nightmare coming true. The reason I love this book is not just the plot but also the way it’s written. If you figure out who the killer is it’s fun reading along as the characters figure it out too. While the subject matter may seem disturbing, it is well written and treated with respect.

Fiona – http://www.wisheshopesdreams.co.uk

19. Nineteen Minutes – Jodi Picoult

You can’t beat a good Jodi Picoult novel. Whether you’re exploring love and relationships, or family dynamics, her books are the perfect combinations of intense and easy going. When I’m travelling, I can’t help but get lost in these page turners, just be warned, you’ll need to keep applying sunscreen, because her words are just that good you might forget.

Claire – www.clairelouise.net

20. Dark Angel – Sally Beauman

Dark Angel is not your typical beach read as it’s not the most happy-go-lucky story, but it’s an amazing thriller that draws you in, with a plot loosely based around a death (is it murder or an accident?!) and a twisted family history. This is my favourite summer read and will keep you hooked.

Sian – http://www.rebelangel.co.uk/

Have you any alternative suggestions? We’d love to hear them! Please share them below.

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24 thoughts on “20 Beach Reads for the Summer

  1. Melanie says:

    Thanks for sharing your list! You might like Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson! It’s a lovely story about an older English man finding love again — a perfect story for a sunny beach day.

  2. Laura Lynch says:

    So many great books to read! Thanks for stocking up my reading list for the summer. Can’t wait to dive in to some of these.

  3. Tara says:

    I have not been keeping up on my reading and your list made me realize that I have to make more time to read. It’s one of my favorite pastimes, although you can keep reading on the beach. I’ll string a hammock between two trees at my favorite campground. You inspired me to order Shantaram and P.S. I Love You. Thanks for the tips!

    • RebekahEsme says:

      I’m exactly the same! The lovely bloggers that contributed put me to shame so I’ve just ordered a couple for holiday! I’ve added the links to the book titles to make it easier to click and buy. Thanks for stopping by lovely x

  4. So many great suggestions! I would add Kate Mosse (no, not the model) and her mystery historical novels. Now I’m reading Taxidermist’s daughter as the fourth novel from her 🙂

  5. Lovely post – thank you so much for letting me get involved! I will definitely be checking out some of the recommended books now too! Paige x

  6. joskibyrne says:

    Great post! I loved We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, such a sad book. Gone Girl was great too, I’m keen to read her new one. 🙂

  7. harrietemilys says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing book list! There are so many things I want to read now! I’ve always wanted to read the Alchemist, so thank you for bringing it back into my mind and reminding me of it! 😀

  8. So happy I found your list! I’ve read a few of these already, so I can tell we have similar taste 😉 Thanks for taking the time to put this together!

  9. Himanshu says:

    Good suggestions. Thanks for reminding me few names which i forgot. Now my book list is refreshed.

  10. Mel Jones says:

    I’ve been looking for some summer reading inspiration thank you for this cool list! I want to get the “Holy Cow!” India adventures book, India is on my top ten bucket list and I’ve heard such awesome things about the book. With work and the blog how do you find the time to read so many books? lol! 🙂

  11. Paula McInerney says:

    So many great books to read and so little time. I am a fan of The Alchemist and think I will make time for Shantaram

  12. Helena says:

    Thank you for all the book tips! I found a few that I’m gonna check out soon. I’ve just recently started to read more and am always looking for new books. I’ve got an upcoming trip soon and will need a get myself a book or two for the flights and train rides.

  13. natalietanner says:

    A great list! There is always plenty of time to read on a trip with long flights and train rides.

  14. What a fantastic list of summer reads. My favorite is probably P.S. I Love You. I remember before the iPads and Kindles came out we used to carry a suitcase full of books to read on trips. Live is so much easier now. 🙂

  15. hcura says:

    Interesting reads. I pretty much only read when I fly. I’ll try to add a couple for my next travels reading list.

  16. Mar says:

    Good recos! I always read in my native language or spanish whatever I can buy at the Barcelona airport when I visit home so I don’t lose both languages which I don’t speak with anyone these days – you could say I am not picky! But I also fall for the last minute airport purchases so dull look out for these next time

    • RebekahEsme says:

      Oh wow sounds brilliant! Exactly like me Mar! And I wanted to create this list to help people like us from falling victim to the expensive, impulsive airport buys hehe! Thanks again 🙂 x

  17. titi81 says:

    reading books at the beach is a favorite summer activity. I have read a couple from your list like Gilian Flynn and Cecilia Ahern and liked them I will keep the list for future reference! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I love posts like this! I am in constant need of good reads while on the road! Great recommendations too.

  19. Bookmarked! I was recently looking for a good list of books as I need new stuff. This is a great list, thanks!

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