Now that the kids are out of school for the summer and the weather’s heating up, it’s time to pack up your beach towel and your sunscreen and hit the beach—or head to the pool. But no day at the beach is complete without a good beach read—something fun, exciting, or maybe just funny. So before you throw your beach bag in the car, be sure to pack a book by one of these beach- (or pool-) worthy authors.
10) Stephen King
Most of Stephen King’s novels are unbelievably long, but they’re so gripping and fast-paced that they tend to fly by—most of them will even keep you entertained for a whole week at the beach. Since King’s stories are often so very eerie, summer is the best time to read them—when it’s bright and sunny outside. If you’re at home alone on a dark, stormy night, though, I highly recommend selecting something else instead.
Some N&W.com Favorites:
Bag of Bones
9) Carl Hiaasen
In Carl Hiaasen’s world, it’s always summer. Hiaasen comes from South Florida, the land of sunny beaches and flocks of obnoxious tourists in flashy Bermuda shorts. So I guess there’s just something inherently beachy about Carl Hiaasen. Not only that, but he’s funny—in a dark, cynical, mischievous way. His characters are always quirky, and their antics are always bizarre. And they’re guaranteed to keep you laughing as you lounge by the pool.
8) Célestine Vaite
Though she may be one of the lesser-known authors on this list, it wouldn’t be complete without her. Vaite’s heart-warming stories about life in Tahiti are the epitome of summer. Her relaxed pace and unique style are just the thing for a summer afternoon at the beach. In fact, even if you read them in the middle of winter, you’ll swear that you can feel a warm Tahitian breeze blowing over you as you read.
Célestine Vaite’s Books at N&W.com:
Tiare in Bloom
7) Dave Barry
If you’ve got a short attention span and/or a sophomoric sense of humor, Dave Barry is right up your alley. Most of Barry’s books are collections of short, funny sketches—filled with cheap shots and fart jokes. That’s not to say I don’t love them. I do. Probably more than I should, in fact. And they’re just the thing for a sunny afternoon—they’re quick and easy to read, and they’re a ton of fun.
Dave Barry is Not Taking This Sitting Down!
Dave Barry’s Complete Guide to Guys
6) Jane Austen
For more classic literary fans, Jane Austen’s novels provide a delightful escape to a time when girls didn’t have to worry about jobs and housework and education and things—when they could spend their days getting ready for the next formal ball while gossiping about the town’s most eligible bachelors. The stories are filled with drama and romance, and they’re simply magical—if a tad bit unrealistic. But they’re sweet and flowery and fun to read.
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
5) J. K. Rowling
This is a big summer for Ms. Rowling. The fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix just hit theaters—just days before her last Harry Potter book is scheduled for release. Die-hard fans, young and old, will be camped out at bookstores this month, waiting to pick up their copy (or, if they’re like me, they’ve already got it pre-ordered) to see how the story ends for the boy wizard and his friends. Now that the story’s ending, what better time to go back and start again from the beginning? And if you’ve never read a Harry Potter book, it’s time to see what all the fuss is about. Just be sure to start with Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
4) Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly’s crime novels are so thrilling and suspenseful that they may have you gripping the armrests on your beach chair. They’re fast-paced and, no matter how long they may be, they make for a quick read. Be warned, though, that they’re so riveting that you may forget to turn before you burn.
3) Sophie Kinsella
Kinsella’s Shopaholic books are chick lit at its finest. Becky Bloomwood Brandon is a flighty yet well-meaning character who just can’t help but mess things up over and over again. The Shopaholic books are filled with laughs—and characters that you can’t help but love. And, well, sometimes it’s just fun to read about shoes you can’t afford. A girl can dream, can’t she?
Shopaholic and Sister
Shopaholic and Baby
2) Janet Evanovich
With another summer comes another Stephanie Plum novel. This year, Evanovich publishes lucky number 13 in the series—but if you haven’t already met reluctant New Jersey bounty hunter Plum, what are you waiting for? Better weather? Just pick one. Any one. Evanovich’s quirky chick mysteries are almost guaranteed to be a total treat (there’s only one or two that I didn’t absolutely love). The stories are light, the characters are hilarious, and you’ll whip through them in no time.
Here’s a list of Janet Evanovich books on N&W.com.
1) James Patterson
Here’s a little N&W.com secret: when it comes to authors, James Patterson is the one we all fight over. When Patterson comes out with a new book (which, fortunately for us, is often), we all want to read it. It doesn’t matter if we typically love chick lit or romance or non-fiction or any other genre. We all love James Patterson. His thrillers are fast-paced and gripping—and once you pick one up, there’s no putting it down until the very end. But, as I’ve said before, his writing is so action-packed and exciting that he makes 400 pages feel like 50. If you pack a James Patterson book in your beach bag, though, be sure to plan for a long day at the beach—because once you start, you’ll have a hard time putting it down. You may want to find someone else to keep an eye on the kids, too—just in case.
The Sixth Target
Judge & Jury
Step on a Crack