summer beach reads

2018 Summer Beach Reads

If you’re like me, you see a trip to the beach as the perfect opportunity to crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read. There’s nothing like getting lost in a good book while the sun’s rays tickle your skin and the rhythm of the waves crashing against the shore acts as your soundtrack. I can hear the summer beach reads calling out to me from the bookshelf…“Read me! Read me!”

Check out our beach safety tips before you hit the shore.

This year’s new releases cover all genres. So whether you lean toward romance, mystery or fantasy, you’ll likely find something intriguing to pack with your beach essentials.

Which will make it onto your summer beach reading list?

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This year’s best summer beach reads

My top pick

“Captive Audience: On Love and Reality TV” by Lucas Mann

Our society often deems watching reality TV as shameful or, at least, less endearing than watching scripted television. If you’ve ever found yourself engrossed in “Cops” or “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” you’ll appreciate this love letter to reality TV. But what makes this humorous memoir so brilliant is its double-duty as a love letter to the author’s wife. Watching reality TV is one of their favorite things to do together. Criticism of reality TV and the way we view it is weaved in with scenes of his marriage, turning “Captive Audience” into a reality show of its own.

Of all of the summer beach reads on this list, “Captive Audience” has the most heart. Not only is the depiction of love and relationships honest and real, but the unique, personal approach also allows me to view reality TV from a perspective I never would have considered before. Despite what the title and subject matter may imply, you don’t have to be a fan of reality TV to enjoy this book. You’ll likely finish this in one sitting, leaving the beach with a positive attitude and hankering for an episode of “Vanderpump Rules.”

For true crime fanatics

“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara (introduction by Gillian Flynn and afterword by Patton Oswalt)

True crime journalist Michelle McNamara, founder of, was determined to solve the case of the elusive Golden State Killer. Who was he and what was his motive? “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” illustrates this chilling case, as well as McNamara’s search for the answers. This posthumous memoir has been credited by authorities as revamping interest in the case. Authorities charged a man with the killings in April 2018, two years after McNamara’s sudden death and two months after this book’s publication.

For romantics

“My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel” by Kitty Curan and Larissa Zageris

You’ve heard of a choose-your-own-adventure book, but have you heard of a choose-your-own romance? You begin as a “plucky but penniless” heroine in 18th century London. You’re looking for love. On which path will you find it? Will you choose Sir Benedict Granville, Capt. Angus McTaggart, Lord Garraway Craven or Lady Evangeline? This fun romp into the cliches of romance novels is sure to entertain avid readers of the genre – and maybe even make them blush.

For young adults

“Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi

In this New York Times best-seller, magic is in danger of being erased for good. The main character, Zelie Adebola is the last living maji in Orisha, which is ruled by a king who ordered all maji to be killed, including Zelie’s mother. Zelie is the only person who can bring magic back. With the help of a rogue princess, she must evade the king’s son and save her people. It’s an epic story informed by West African mythology – something that doesn’t get represented often in young adult fiction.

summer beach reads

For foodies

“The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table” by Rick Bragg

Both cookbook and memoir, “The Best Cook in the World” tells the stories behind the food. Margaret Bragg, the author’s mother, uses recipes passed down to her from generation to generation, many predating the Civil War. She makes traditional Southern foods like cornbread, short ribs and chicken and dressing, and she knows all the secrets to making them perfectly. You can enjoy the stories Bragg tells of his mother, her cooking and the stories that framed her cooking, then try one of her recipes once you get home. Of the summer beach reads on this list, this might be the only one that makes you hungry – be sure to bring a snack!

For horror fiends

“The Outsider” by Stephen King

The king of literary horror is back at it with “The Outsider,” a story that begins as a murder mystery and then takes a turn for the supernatural. An 11-year-old boy is found dead in Flint City, Okla., and one of the town’s most popular residents, a Little League coach, is the prime suspect. As the investigation continues, the suspense builds and more horror unfolds. The Little League coach may not be what he seems. It’s a creepy tale, but a page-turner that will have you on the edge of your seat, eager for more.

For beach bums

“The Art of the Wasted Day” by Patricia Hampl

Instead of getting lost in your own thoughts while laying out in the sun, why not read about others getting lost in thought? Patricia Hampl follows the lives of people who have turned leisure and daydreaming into art forms throughout history. Take Michel de Montaigne, a French philosopher, who retreated to a chateau tower to think and write about whatever came to mind. Hampl recounts her own life and others’, finding that leisure is the key to being human.

For anti-beachers

“Calypso” by David Sedaris

Most summer beach reads are happy-go-lucky, but maybe you’re the opposite of a beach bum. Maybe the sand, crowds and seagulls put you in a dark mood. In that case, the dark humor found in David Sedaris’ collection of short stories and essays will be your most favorite beach companion. He tackles serious topics, from his sister’s death by suicide to his own mortality, with self-deprecating and observational humor. You may get an odd look or two when you start belly laughing, but you’ll be too engrossed in Sedaris’ voice to notice.

What did you think of these summer beach reads? What other books are on your summer beach reading list? Tell us in the comments below! 

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4 Thoughts on “2018 Summer Beach Reads

    1. Hi Melisse!

      The case of the Golden State Killer is truly spine-tingling. Let us know what you think, and happy reading!


  1. Joanne Demaio beach series. Starting with Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans. Her latest is “Castaway Cottage.” All set in a small Connecticut beach town!!

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