As soon as June rolls around, summer reading lists start to appear seemingly everywhere online. And just how Oscar movies always seem to hit theaters in the fall, summertime is when people start to share their “beach reads.” But, what *is* a beach read?
Vulture (New York Magazine’s entertainment blog) recently talked to some authors to try to break down what exactly makes a book a fall into this category. They note that the book needs to have “mass appeal” – EVERYONE wants to read it, and if you haven’t, it’s next up on your “to be read” pile. Others shared that the topic of the book needs to be “accessible and hugely entertaining” – no textbooks here.
And as technology advances, so does what makes something a beach read: the article notes sometimes a cover worthy of an Instagram post is all it takes.
In terms of what I personally consider to be a beach read? It needs to be paperback. I’m already carrying a bunch of stuff to the beach – the book needs to be lightweight and be able to be crammed in a tote bag. For a book I haven’t read before, I also agree it needs to be juicy – if I’m sitting for hours in one spot, it needs to hold my attention. But juicy doesn't necessary mean a thriller (although I am partial to them!); juicy could mean a current topic I'm interested in and want to know more about.
Also, sometimes a beach read is simply a book I’ve already read an enjoyed: Valley of the Dolls and classic Stephen King novels fall into this category for me.
This summer my beach read meets two of my self-imposed criteria: Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller. It’s a paperback, and as someone who just started running seriously this year, reading about someone else's experience running marathons couldn’t be more compelling.
I asked some of my co-workers what they think makes a book a beach read, and what they’ll be reading this summer out on the sand.
Mackenzie: I know feel good romances are often the main genre in the beach reads category, but they also happen to be my main genre of choice all year round. So for me it’s all about books that fit the season. For the summer I love reading books that take place either during the summer, or in a warm place. In my beach bag this summer you’ll find Maybe This Time by Kasie West, I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn, and The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg.
Raisa: For me, a beach read is something that’s easy to follow but is also entertaining. I usually turn to mystery novels at the beach, so that I can relax while keeping my mind engaged with a thriller. This summer, I’ll be picking up The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, because I’ve heard great things about her writing, and I loved the HBO series Big Little Lies, which is based on her novel.
Emily: To me, just like how every body is a swimsuit body, every read is a beach read! I’m heading to the beach next week, and I’m bringing The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, and Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.
Alex: Personally, I love a good thriller. Something I can lost in, to the point that I don’t even hear the crashing waves, the lifeguards whistles or children playing around me. I’ve already started The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond!
Ashley: Any book that supports your “me” time is a beach read to me—whether it’s a simply entertaining fantasy story, educating non-fiction read, or a challenging book that facilitates your growth. This summer, I’d like to read Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, as well as some fun young adult books—I’m particularly excited for RWBY: After the Fall by E.C. Myers, which is a new story based on a hit anime web series. I’ll also plan to read a few books from the Goosebumps series in Spanish and French, to brush up on my language skills!