The Perfect Beach Books To Read This Summer
There’s no better feeling than whiling hours and hours away, stretched out on the beach with your nose buried in a fantastic book that transports you to another planet.
It’s the ultimate feeling of relaxation and disconnection. After all, with our busy modern lives, even the keenest bookworms among us often struggle to find time for reading books on a day to day basis.
A beach holiday, however, is enforced relaxation. Sure, you can go off kayaking, play games on the beach and go for walks, but sooner or later you’ll be tempted to lie out on your sun lounger and properly switch off.
But not just any book will do. It’s a certain type of book you want for the beach. Something you can get completely lost in, whether you like to hold a physical paper book in your hands, or you prefer a trusty e-reader.
If you’re looking for a fantastic beach read for this summer, then read on for a few of my favorites, from romances to adventures to non-fiction. There’s nothing particularly new or ground-breaking on here, but rest assured that all my recommendations come from the heart.
Of course, your taste in books probably isn’t quite the same as mine, but I hope you’ll find something that piques your interest.
And if you have a favorite book that you think everyone should take with them on holiday, leave a comment and let us know.
My favorite beach reads
Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
If you haven’t heard of this book before, then you’ll thank me for this tip. This is a sensational cult classic that follows the lives of the various individuals and families involved in the building of a cathedral in 12th century England.
It’s a story of intrigue, love, risk, revenge and high drama, and is the perfect chunky book to keep you occupied on a week-long beach holiday. If you plow through it, you can move on to the equally sensational follow-up, World Without End. The most recent installment, A Column of Fire, didn’t really float my boat as much, but you might well disagree.
It’d be amiss of me not to mention another incredible trilogy by Follett, the Century Trilogy. It’s a similarly detailed and gripping collection of three books that follow various families through the first, second and cold wars.
Basically, if the words Ken Follett are written on the front cover, you can’t go too far wrong.
The Island, Victoria Hislop
Victoria Hislop is a fantastic writer than turns out incredibly well-researched novels with compelling stories. I couldn’t put this one down. It’s the story of the inhabitants of an island leper colony in Greece in the first half of the 20th century, down on my last trip.
It’s dramatic, romantic, sad, joyful and basically everything you could want in a novel, with a good dose of fascinating history thrown in. Especially perfect for reading whilst lying under an umbrella on some Greek beach.
I also love her novel The Return. It’s a similarly gripping story about a family living in my current home of Granada in the south of Spain at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. So, if it’s Spain you’re heading for, opt for this one instead.
Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier
This novel, by the author of Girl With A Pearl Earring, is about real events that took place on a windswept beach down in Devon, in the seaside town of Lyme Regis.
Mary Anning discovered the first pre-dinosaur fossils in England in the cliffs of Lyme at the beginning of the 19th century. We follow her story as she makes her discoveries, and learns about life.
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Devon coastline, this makes for a brilliant beach book, which is eminently readable but will still make you think.
The Guilty Feminist, Deborah Frances White
More of a non-fiction fan? This book came out in 2018 and is an accessible exploration of feminism, that absolutely anyone can read, gender no object. It’s insightful and will have you laughing so hard you’ll fall off your beach chair.
Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari
Okay, this non-fiction book is a little more serious. But the writing style is so incredibly accessible and the subject matter is so fascinating that you won’t be able to put it down. It’s a gripping look at the history of humanity. Prepare to have your mind blown more than once.
Opt for a classic
If you’ve managed to get this far without reading anything by Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens or anyone similar, then maybe it’s about time you gave them a try. They’re classics for a reason, and that reason is that they’re very good!
I wouldn’t recommend trying to dig into Tolstoy for the first time when you’re on a relaxing beach holiday, but Pride and Prejudice, say, is a very easy read, perfect for days spent lounging by the water.
When selecting our holiday reading material, we sometimes feel the pressure to be reading something that seems important, or that will impress the person sitting on the next sun lounger along.
I’m here to tell you that you’ve got no one to impress. You should be reading precisely what you want to read. I myself am a massive fan of Rosamunde Pilcher, Penny Vicenzi and Lucinda Riley. And I can never say no to an Agatha Christie. Some of these might not be considered to be amazing literature by a lot of people, but that really doesn’t bother me.
Whether it’s novels set in modern times, science fiction or a juicy bit of historical fiction that does it for you, scour your local second-hand bookshop or download it to your e-reader and just read whatever it is that you want to.
Have you tried audiobooks?
Books are expensive, and they’re pretty bulky. And with baggage allowances seeming to get smaller by the day, it’s tough to head off on a beach holiday with enough physical reading material.
I fairly recently discovered the wonderful world of audiobooks and now subscribe to Audible. You can download entire books directly to your phone or tablet, and sometimes even have the author themselves reading to you. Try buying a mixture of fiction and non-fiction so you can chop and change depending on your mood. Just make sure you keep your device charged up.
Then lie back, relax, feel the sun on your skin, and let yourself drift away to another world.