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Summer Reading List: 7 Beach Books for Your Next Trip

Ever since I got my Kindle, I’ve been plowing through books, yet somehow I’ve been remiss this year about getting my summer reading list out in time. So, here it is! You’ve still got the rest of July and all of August to get in some of these reads on your next beach vacation. Just grab a folding chair and stick your toes in the sand… And, please don’t forget to leave your own beach-read recommendations in the comments section!

1., 2., and 3. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larssen
Tiny, tough, and tattooed, the main protagonist of these stories cuts an intriguing character who seems to have a knack for putting herself in dangerous situations. Add in political infighting, a corrupt police force, a secret community of computer hackers, some rather controversial press practices, and a dash of sexual intrigue, and you’ve got three books perfect for beachside reading.

4. Engleby by Sebastian Faulks
Sure, the narrator of this story taking place in Cambridge in the 1970s is a little strange—his self-outlook essentially distills down to the following: “that [he] share[s] 50 per cent of [his] genome with a banana and 98 per cent with a chimpanzee.” He’s a socially-awkward loner and a frequent pill-popper, but might he actually be insane? When a classmate of his goes missing, you begin to wonder.

5. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
This is a big novel about twin brothers raised by doctors in Ethiopia. I recommend this book especially to anyone in the medical field, as sometimes the surgery descriptions get a little detailed and intense–so if you’re squeamish you might want to skip this one. Eventually, one of the twins moves on to the Bronx to continue on the medical tradition, and he runs into a childhood love interest who ended up taking a very different path.

6. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Okay, I realize I’m several years behind the times on this one, and that there are much newer Bourdain books currently out on the market, but I finally got around to reading this and found it pretty fun and fascinating, and filled with tips for restaurants diners (i.e. don’t order the fish on Mondays, since it’s probably not very fresh). I love his No Reservations series on the Travel Channel, and his written word is no let-down—in fact, it’s even far less reserved than he is on the show.

7. Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
This series of 13 short stories about the same set of characters in a small town in Maine touches on themes of aging and relationships. Olive herself may not come across as a likable person at first glance. She’s big and loud and hard as a Maine winter, but her character is delicately nuanced, and the author’s subtle revelations into this character is where the strength of these stories lies. It’s definitely edged with melancholy so this might be one you save for a rainy beach day spent indoors.

rachel_berg

My name: Rachel Berg.

Favorite way to get around: By Venetian gondola during starlit high tide, gliding past decaying and slightly spooky palaces, with perhaps a bottle of prosecco placed between the gondola seat cushions.

View that took my breath away: Unable to sleep in the mystical city of Sfat in Israel, I wandered outdoors predawn and was treated to a purple-on-purple sunrise below the mountaintop that seemed to emerge feet-first through ground-level clouds.

Greatest travel lesson learned: Sunny weather isn't everything. Some of my best travel memories involve go-karting through a deluge turned mud-fest in Mexico, drinking tea in the cold Denali tundra, and watching electric thunderstorms roll through national parks out West.

Most challenging travel moment: Getting leveled by altitude sickness in Cuzco and realizing that my body was forcing me to slow down and rest despite the fact that there was so much to do and see.

Travel ambition: To see the northern lights.

Comments

Michelle
Reply

Great picks! I FINALLY read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods this summer; with his trademark mix of travel, history, and humor, it was a perfect beach read.

Nathan Rodriguez Netbook
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Thanks for this list of reading recommendations, the three books by Stieg Larssen looks very interesting.

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I am starting home-school for the first time and I want to know what the summer reading list is for someone who is going into 8th grade? Or IS their a summer reading list?

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A few weeks before you start to pack make up a packing list and have it on your computer. Everytime you think of something you need to take jot it down. When it is time to pack, print it off and give a copy to each family member that packs for themselves and they can check off each item as they pack it. Save the list for the next time you travel and add to it if you find you forgot something on this trip.

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I want to go away the end of November on the shore.Where is a fun beach destination for a guy go to with friends.

Tommy Times
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Predicatable but a relaxing holiday is the perfect time for getting to grips with some of the classics – I’m not suggesting the Comlete Works of Shakespeare but there is something magical about reading a Thomas hardy novel whilst at the beach in Dorset.

Phillp
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Yes they have some. It is first come first serve though.The City of Newport Beach preodivs fire rings in 3 locations. Fire rings are located on both sides of the Balboa Pier, west of the Balboa parking lot, and at B street on the east side of the pier. There are also fire rings at Corona del Mar State Beach. Have a romantic evening!!!

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