How to Choose a Great Beach Book

Since I spend a lot of time on the beach, a great beach book is essential.  If you are like me, you agree that a great beach books has certain “requirements”.  After all, why waste your precious time in the sun with something you don’t love!

How I Choose a Great Beach Book:

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Beach Reading Tips

Here are my tips for choosing a great beach book…

1.  Nothing heart wrenching can happen to children…

Since I have been a mother, I guess that is my number one requirement.  In my case, this applies to beach reading as well as “rest of the year reading”.  Recently, I even told my book club that they can count me out for that month if they happen to choose a book in that category.  Luckily, most of them, (also being moms) agreed with me!

2.  Humor is important…

Isn’t it always important?!!  While relaxing on the beach it’s always nice to have a few laughs.

3.  Easy to follow…

Sure, I like an intense novel every now and then.  But when I am on the beach and having to look up every minute to check on the kids, I need something that is easy to jump right back into.  Most of you moms will agree with that one!

4.  Nothing trashy…

Personally, I am not attracted to romantic trashy novels.  I like something with a little more substance, but hey that’s just me… Plus, do you really want to hide the book when the kids come running over?

5.  Nothing depressing…

Sure, an occasional tear is fine, but I like something uplifting and light for the beach.  After all, isn’t the beach a happy place?

6.  Escape…

It helps when the novel takes place in the summer, on a beach, on vacation…an escape of some sort.

7.  Strong characters that you grow to love…

Why waste your time on on uninteresting people?  If you are like me, you really want to root for someone!

8.  Biographies and autobiographies can be very entertaining…

So many famous people are writing them these days and it is fun to get a glimpse into their worlds!


Now, here are a few recommendations that fulfill some or most of my “requirements” for a great beach book:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – An absolute classic.  I loved the characters, loved the relationships… You can’t go wrong with this book.  I actually read it twice!  (Once when it first came out and then again for my book club this summer!)  Definitely read it before seeing the movie so you can compare.

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax – I am currently reading this one.  I started it earlier in the summer, then reread The Help for my book club and now I am back into it.  That’s why #3 above is so important!  This is an entertaining book about transformations, relationships and self discovery.

Broken Music by Sting – You don’t have to be a Sting fan to enjoy this treasure of a book.  (Although I am a huge fan!)  This book is an engaging memoir of Sting’s life growing up in England before he was really famous.  It is sincere, thoughtful and his talent for writing is evident on every page.

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo – I read this last summer and I am a big fan of his development of characters.  In Russo’s novels, the people become so real and you can get lost in their world.  This book is not a real uplifting book but has a lot of nostalgia, self reflection and sprinkled in humor.  I really enjoyed one of Russo’s previous books, Empire Falls which also had a lot of humor and self reflection.  His depiction of small town life in New England was charming and the characters were so real, you swear you met them before.

Familyhood by Paul Reiser – How can you not love this sweet guy?  Like always, he has such a cute sense of humor and his observations about his two boys are priceless.

Future Beach Book:

Deep Down True by Juliette Fay – I have heard wonderful things about this book and although it deals with the sad subject of divorce, the book is supposed to be uplifting and the characters very strong and likable.

When all else fails, a good decorating magazine will always work!

Hopefully, my list helps you choose a great beach book for your next vacation!

Enjoy the month of August…summer is blowing by!

If you are looking for more summer reading ideas, here are some more of my recommendations:

What are your “requirements” for a great beach book?

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  1. Shelley, that's so funny, I just posted about summer reading two minutes ago! I'll have to check out your recommendations – there are a few there I haven't heard of yet! I totally agree with your list – especially the criteria that a book can't have a plot that involves something terrible with children. I had to power through "Room" for that exact reason – ugh! Hope you're finding the chance to read and relax a bit this summer!

  2. I am so with you on the "rules" for beach reading. I feel i have enough real drama in my own life that i don't need to buy a book for it! Give me funny, light, sarcastic even with a couple references to hotties and i'm good!

  3. Those are great 'rules'. I love biographies and autobiographies in the summer. In general I find people very fascinating and love reading about them.

  4. Ooh, I just love book recommendations…thanks for sharing! I read The Help too. It was a great book. I just got done reading Edward Rutherford's New York. It is historical fiction as well…huge book, but an easy read!!

  5. I'm totally with you on this one. Nothing depressing or difficult to follow. I love reading light-hearted suspense novels on holiday, there is nothing better than getting sucked into a story with the waves in the background!

  6. I posted a few weeks ago about my favorite summer reads. The House on Oyster Creek was a good read this summer. Currently reading Maine. And every summer, Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea.

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