Summer is in full swing and there’due south zippo like heading to the beach — or the park — sitting by the h2o, contemplating the view, grabbing a good book and just immersing ourselves in it. That’due south why we’re throwing out some ideas for the perfect summer novels.
We are adhering to “beach reads” rules though: most of the titles here are either full page-turners or grant some instant gratification — or both. And all of them will transport you to faraway places or the kind of setting you’d savour spending a holiday at, either because of when they were written or where they are ready.
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith (1955)
The oldest volume on this list is the outset 1 in a series of 5 psychological thrillers that Patricia Highsmith wrote nearly her infamous Tom Ripley character. Fifty-fifty if he’s a sociopath with more than murderous tendencies, the reader tin can’t avert being on Ripley’s side while reading Highsmith’south engrossing novels.
The whole series is set in Europe with the showtime book taking its protagonist and the reader to San Remo, Rome, Palermo and Venice. Plus, at that place’s a constant longing for a trip to Greece.
This Australian classic is set in 1900 and features a group of boarders from an all-girls school in Victoria every bit they have a twenty-four hours trip to the nearby geological formation Hanging Rock. At that place are plenty of descriptions of proper picnic attire, the beauty of the landscape and the relationships that bond this grouping of teenagers and their teachers.
And while Joan Lindsay’s writing style and the setting for this novel may have you drawing some parallels with other classic coming-of-age novels written by and starring women, the ending of
Picnic at Hanging Rock could just have been written in the 1960s.
“Los mares del Sur” (Southern Seas) by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (1979)
Permit me the hometown reference with this Spanish novel set in Barcelona in 1979. Written by the Galician-Catalan author Manuel Vázquez Montalbán,
Southern Seasis the well-nigh famous of his novels starring the private detective Pepe Carvalho. He’due south a gourmet who’s as obsessed with food, literature and the city of Barcelona.
As well a methodical clarification of the urban center in the late 1970s, the book besides includes references to a trip to the Southern Seas that never was.
“Norwegian Wood” by Haruki Murakami (1987)
Written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, this coming-of-age novel follows the story of Toru Watanabe, a college student who is obsessed with American literature. He’s trying to figure out his life in Tokyo in the 1960s and ends up in relationships with two women who couldn’t be more than different: there’southward Naoko, the former girlfriend of his best friend, and Midori, one of his classmates.
The story takes the reader from the bustling streets of Tokyo to the peaceful quietness of a rehab center lost in the mountains nearby Kyoto.
“Get Shorty” by Elmore Leonard (1990)
Small-time Miami loan shark Chili Palmer travels to Las Vegas, hoping to get a debt paid, and ends up in Los Angeles, where he learns nigh the movie-making business and how to get a producer. Ready in Hollywood in 1990, this California classic masterfully blends suspense, thrills, humor and even the slightest hint of a Western.
This story is so quintessentially Hollywood that there’s a 1995 flick adaptation starring John Travolta and a 2017 Tv evidence with Chris O’Dowd, simply you should definitely start with the Elmore Leonard novel.
“Death at La Fenice” past Donna Leon (1992)
American novelist Donna Leon has been calling Venice dwelling for years. Her start book in the mystery serial that stars the Venetian law detective Guido Brunetti follows the investigation of a music conductor’s death later on he’southward poisoned during the intermission of a Verdi opera at La Felice.
Leon has been steadily publishing one new Commissario Guido Brunetti installment a year for decades. Then if you beloved the Venitian setting, crime stories and the constant descriptions of all the delicious foods (and drinks) that Brunetti ingests on a daily ground, this could definitely exist the serial for you.
“Call Me by Your Proper name” by André Aciman (2007)
Chances are we’ll never get to encounter Luca Guadagnino’southward sequel to his
Call Me by Your Proper noun movie adaptation. And while André Aciman’s follow-upwards novel,
Find Me, may leave hardcore fans of Elio and Oliver a little bit underwhelmed, there’s nothing similar going back to the original material.
Set confronting the backdrop of the Italian Riviera, this coming-of-age story follows the precocious Elio equally he falls in dear with Oliver, a graduate student and Elio’s parents’ guest for the summer. This iconic summer read perfectly captures the feeling of longing for someone and it features plentiful, engaging conversations, early morning swims, leisurely bike rides, a furtive relationship and a passionate trip to Rome.
“Americanah” past Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)
Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sets this story — that deals with immigration, race and the feeling of belonging — in Lagos, London and New Bailiwick of jersey. Her protagonist is Ifemelu, a immature Nigerian woman who moves to the United States to farther her studies.
Americanahmakes for a great read not only as an engaging and entertaining novel but also as a study nearly race in America from the perspective of a non-American Black person. The novel also packs a complex love story between Ifemelu and Obinze, who moves to London and has to live at that place every bit an undocumented immigrant.
“Big Fiddling Lies” by Liane Moriarty (2014)
I don’t care if you’ve already seen the star-packed HBO miniseries and know not only who the killer of this story is just also the identity of the person who dies and whose investigation propels the whole plot, Liane Moriarty’s soapy thriller still very much deserves a read.
On the one hand, instead of the rugged coast of Northern California, the novel
Large Footling Lies is set in the suburban Northern Beaches of Sydney. On the other hand, the volume jams enough humor and sharp banter — especially when it comes to the inclusion of dialogue from the law interrogations amongst the many parents who have their kids to the aforementioned school equally our protagonists — that you’ll detect enough nuggets of new material to more than justify the read.
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” past Taylor Jenkins Reid (2017)
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s historical fiction bestseller is set betwixt the publishing world of present-day New York and the classic Hollywood of the 1950s, 1960s and onward. When the relatively unknown journalist Monique Grant is tasked with writing a profile on the legendary actress Evelyn Hugo, she can’t believe her career-changing luck.
The novel guides the reader through a serial of interviews betwixt Monique and Evelyn in which the former star tells her origin story and the reasons behind her many marriages throughout the years.
“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer (2017)
Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel stars Arthur Less as a novelist with a dwindling career and a broken eye. As if all of that wasn’t enough already, Less is on the brink of turning 50. When his former long-time boyfriend invites Less to his hymeneals, our hapless protagonist decides to embark on a serial of back-to-dorsum international trips with a “ramshackle itinerary” to avoid the much-dreaded consequence.
Greer’southward fun and never-quiet novel takes the reader and its protagonist from the foggy shores of San Francisco to New York City, Mexico City, Turin, Paris, Berlin, Morocco, India and Japan.
“Agent Running in the Field” by John le Carré (2022)
The terminal published novel of tardily spymaster John le Carré is a return to some of his career-defining themes in the globe of international espionage, which he describes with precision — and without a glimpse of glamour or spectacle.
The novel stars Nat, a reluctant-to-be-out-of-the-field agent in his late forties, who has had a long career developing sources in Russia. Nat’due south back in London and somehow can’t avoid getting himself involved in even so another surveillance plot. The book is set in 2022 and there’s constant chatter amid its characters regarding Brexit and the Trump administration. Le Carré favors none of those.
Even if you don’t similar international thrillers featuring double agents that much — who doesn’t though? —
Agent Running in the Field is yet worth a read if just to appreciate Le Carré’south succinct yet masterfully rich and descriptive prose.
“Beach Read” by Emily Henry (2020)
Beach Readto this list of beach reads because Emily Henry’s romance novel truly does its championship justice. Set in a small-scale Michigan town, the novel tells the story of bestselling romance author January and acclaimed fiction writer Gus. They end upwardly being neighbors and living side-by-side in lakefront cottages.
One thing leads to some other and they stop up making a deal: by the end of the summer he’ll be the one to pen a romance book and she’ll write a nighttime and bleak one. They both demand to teach the other everything they need to know to be able to produce something in a genre they’re non used to working in. Of course, too all the procrastinating and writing, in that location’s also fourth dimension for love.
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (2020)
Final yr’s revelatory novel
The Vanishing Half tackles the subject of passing when information technology comes to racial identity. The Brit Bennett-penned historical novel, which is already being developed into a limited series by HBO, tells the story of 2 identical twin sisters from a small town in rural Louisiana where the majority Blackness population is then light-skinned that one of the sisters passes as a white woman for most of her life later on fleeing boondocks.
The activity encompasses several decades starting in the 1950s and weaves together the life of the alloyed sis — who’south leading a double life in New Orleans outset and and then Los Angeles — with that of the other ane, who is forced to return home.
“Velvet Was the Nighttime” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2021)
Let’s shut this list with an August release from one of 2020’southward bestselling authors. Afterward her
Gothicwas chosen as Best Horror novel last yr by the Goodreads users, writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia returns with
Velvet Was the Night.
The Mexican Canadian author sets the action in 1970s Mexico Urban center and writes almost Maite, a secretary obsessed with romance stories and her beautiful neighbor Leonora. When the object of her fixation disappears, Maite starts looking for her — only she isn’t the but one.