10 Unforgettable Beach Reads

How do you find that great book to accompany you to the beach or backyard this summer? Choose one from this list compiled by the editors at Reader’s Digest Select Editions. They review hundreds of books each month from publishers around the world, and have come up with a definitive, yet surprising, Top 10. “These aren’t the usual big-name literary suspects you’ll see elsewhere,” says Laura Kelly, Select Editions’ editor in chief. “These books are truly satisfying page turners.”

1. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand. On the rebound from a bad love affair, Adrienne Dealey escapes to Nantucket for the summer. Through sheer luck, she lands a job at The Blue Bistro, Nantucket’s hottest restaurant — owned by Nantucket’s hottest bachelor. The summer heats up both in and out of the kitchen as Adrienne learns the truth about her boss and his relationship with the restaurant’s brilliant and reclusive young female chef. This brand-new book is sure to become a summer favorite.

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Part science fiction, part love story, this unusual and inventive first novel has deservedly become a favorite of book groups everywhere. Clare De Tamble’s husband Henry is a librarian with an unusual quirk: He has the ability to travel both into the past and into the future. This leads to a, shall we say, unusual marriage. But through assorted odd situations and difficult times, Clare and Henry’s love never wavers. This novel is an imaginative and emotionally resonant wallow.

3. The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky. Julia Bechtel is at a crossroads. Her marriage is not what it should be and her daughter is all grown up. When she survives a terrible boating accident off the coast of Maine, it’s time to reassess her life, her love, herself and find out what comes after the moment that changes everything. Haunting women’s fiction at its finest.

4. Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. Roberts has written dozens of novels, but this is one of her all-time best. Set in the Alaskan wilderness, this unforgettable tale features murder, mystery, quirky characters, and of course, romance and a surprise ending. A spot-on portrayal of small-town life and the powerful bonds of community make this an extraordinary summer read.

5. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. This first novel from super-popular Jennifer Weiner is perhaps the funniest and most poignant of them all. When Candace Shapiro learns that her ex-boyfriend writes an advice column called “Good in Bed” for a new women’s magazine, she is mortified. Cannie’s trials and tribulations — weight troubles, men troubles, job troubles — will ring all too true. Don’t miss this talented author’s debut novel — it’ll have you laughing out loud between reaching for your hankie.

6. Mosaic by Soheir Khashoggi. Dina Ahmed has been blessed with success, beauty, and, most important, a happy family. But one fateful day she returns home to discover that her six-year-old twins have vanished and suddenly her once comfortable life is turned upside down. This is a gripping, moving novel about family and loyalty by the sister of Adnan Khashoggi.

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7. Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. Imagine confiding intimate details of your life to a handsome stranger sitting next to you on a plane, thinking you’ll never see him again. Imagine learning that he is, in fact, your new boss. This flirty, funny, fast-paced romance will have your beach chair neighbors wondering what you keep laughing about while your nose is stuck in this addictive book. Fabulous fluff, the quintessential escapist summer read.

8. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. For a change of pace, try this long, debut historical novel that’s receiving rave reviews. In 1972 an American teen living in Amsterdam discovers a mysterious book belonging to her diplomat father that has only the word “Drakula” on the cover, and is filled with strange letters. What could it mean? The young girl gradually pieces together a terrifying and mysterious tale about you-know-who. Don’t forget to keep your strand of garlic handy.

9. Gutted by Lawrence LaRose. When the author and his new wife decide to buy and renovate a “handyman special” near the exclusive Hamptons, it doesn’t take long for their fledgling marriage to begin crumbling. Things only get worse when the author loses his white-collar job and becomes the world’s most clueless carpenter. But love prevails in this touching, honest, and often hilarious true story of one couple’s struggle to build their dream home and dream life together.

10. How Tough Could It Be? by Austin Murphy. What’s so hard about staying home to take care of two young children? Sports Illustrated writer Austin Murphy finds out for himself when he and his wife trade places for six months. Uproarious, unforgettable fun with passages you’ll have to read out loud to your significant other.

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