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Life's a Beach - Suggested Readings by Alison

It’s summer—time to head to the beach! If you can’t make it there this year, grab one of these books with beachy titles. Whether you like cookbooks, historical fiction, horror, humor, memoir, mystery, romance, the paranormal, thrillers, or urban fiction, there’s something here for you.

The Beach Book Jacket

The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach, as Richard has come to learn, is the subject of a legend among young travelers in Asia: a lagoon hidden from the sea, with white sand and coral gardens, freshwater falls surrounded by jungle, plants untouched for a thousand years. There, it is rumored, a carefully selected international few have settled in a communal Eden. Haunted by the figure of Mr. Duck — the name by which the Thai police have identified the dead man — and his own obsession with Vietnam movies, Richard sets off with a young French couple to an island hidden away in an archipelago forbidden to tourists. They discover the Beach, and it is as beautiful and idyllic as it is reputed to be. Yet over time it becomes clear that Beach culture, as Richard calls it, has troubling, even deadly, undercurrents.

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 The Beach Book Jacket

The Beach: The History of Paradise on Earth by Lena LenÄŤek and Gideon Bosker

When it comes to restoring body and soul, no place in the world can compete with the beach. Nature’s most potent antidepressant, the seashore is today–but wasn’t always–everyone’s favorite getaway spot. With an entertaining historical account as its narrative framework, this elegantly designed volume charts the evolution of the seaside from a wasteland at the margins of civilization–remote, terror filled, and exotic–to its present role as the central staging ground for diversions of all sorts: escape, re-creation, and congregation.

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 Beach Boy Book Jacket

Beach Boy by Ardashir Vakil

Eight-year-old Cyrus Readymoney introduces us to his magical universe of movies and mischief; tennis tournaments and truant afternoons; sex and samosas; the sea and the shore. Exploring Bombay in the early 1970s, Cyrus strays from his mostly absent parents, members of the Parsi elite, into the complex world of his neighbors, including a mysterious maharani and her seductive adopted daughter. But in the course of his wanderings, Cyrus finds himself caught between the innocence and insouciance of his youth and the responsibility and worry that await him in adulthood. When his parents’ marriage falls apart and his family is shattered, Cyrus is forced out of his carefree existence into a more severe reality.

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 The Beach Club Book Jacket

The Beach Club by Elin Hilderbrand

Mack Petersen, manager of the hotel, has been working at The Beach Club for 12 summers. Only this summer is different. His boss, the owner of the hotel, Bill Elliot, shows up in the spring with a new set of demands. His girlfriend Maribel is pressing Mack to get married and Vance, the African-American bellman, who has hated Mack since the day Mack stole his job 12 years ago, threatens him in a deadly scene. Mack knows something’s got to give. Love O’Donnell, the new front desk person straight from the slopes of Aspen, is desperately searching for a stranger to father her child. The bellman, Jem Crandall, who posed as Mr. November in his college calendar, is on his way to LA to break into agenting, until he falls in love with Maribel. Emotions are at a peak when a hurricane threatens to wash away The Beach Club and all it stands for.

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 the Beach House Book Jacket

The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe

Caretta Rutledge thought she’d left her Southern roots and troubled family far behind. But an unusual request from her mother—coming just as her own life is spinning out of control—has Cara heading back to the scenic Lowcountry of her childhood summers. Before long, the rhythms of the island open her heart in wonderful ways as she repairs the family beach house, becomes a bona fide “turtle lady” and renews old acquaintances long thought lost. But it is in reconnecting with her mother that she will learn life’s most precious lessons—true love involves sacrifice, family is forever and the mistakes of the past can be forgiven. This is the first book in a series.

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The Beach House Cookbook Book Jacket

The Beach House Cookbook by Barbara Scott-Goodman

A great day at the beach calls for great food–especially delicious, quick dishes that leave time for fun in the sun. Barbara Scott-Goodman serves up more than 75 recipes for sensational meals for those spending a weekend at the coast or for whom the seaside is home. Recipes for appetizers, soups, sandwiches, main courses, salads, desserts, and cocktails feature farmstand fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and shellfish, and meats for the grill that celebrate summer’s bounty.

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 Beach Read Book Jacket

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. The only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block. Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously).

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Beach Town Book jacket

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

Greer Hennessy is a movie location scout. After her last project literally went up in flames, Greer has one more chance to prove herself before her career burns out as well. Now all she needs to do is come up with the ideal beach-town setting for a big-budget movie. When she discovers Cypress Key, Greer believes she’s found cinematic gold. The last thing the town’s mayor, Eben Thibadeaux, wants is for some Hollywood hotshot and her crew–a spoiled “It Boy” lead actor and his entourage, plus fangirls, among them–to come in and shake things up. The only problem is that he finds Greer far too attractive for his own good. . .and, in spite of their squabbles, it’s become clear that the feeling is mutual. But there’s a plot afoot to make sure that old scores are settled, that revenge gets top billing, and that no one gets their happily ever after.

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 Cocoa Beach book jacket

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams

Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. Driving an ambulance for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic. Five years later the newly widowed Virginia Fitzwilliam arrives in Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate. Simon’s brother and sister welcome her with open arms and introduce her to a dazzling new world of citrus groves, white beaches, bootleggers, and Prohibition agents. But Virginia senses a predatory presence lurking beneath the irresistible, hedonistic surface of this coastal oasis. The more she learns about Simon and his mysterious business interests, the more she fears that the dangers surrounding Simon now threaten her and their daughter’s life as well.

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 Copper Beach book jacket

Copper Beach by Jayne Anne Krentz

Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell’s unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes-and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market. Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber-“hot rocks.” Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.

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Death on a Beach book jacket 

Death on the Beach by Carl Weber

Singing sensation Savannah Kirby has won thirteen Grammys and married the man of her dreams in superstar rapper/actor Kyle Kirby. Together they are of one of the most dynamic and powerful couples in entertainment–until Kyle is found murdered and Savannah is arrested for the crime. Things don’t look good for the singer when she can’t keep her stories straight and her bloody fingerprints are found on the murder weapon. Even with famed attorney Bradley Hudson and his family of lawyers handling her case, it looks like Savannah is headed to jail. However, this isn’t Bradley’s first rodeo, and he’s always got an ace up his sleeve.

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Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? book jacket 

Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? By Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella

The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a collection of funny stories and true confessions that every woman can relate to. From identity theft to the hazards of bicycling to college reunions and eating on the beach, Lisa and Francesca tackle the quirks, absurdities, and wonders of everyday life with wit and warmth.

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The Endless Beach book jacket

The Endless Beach by Jenny Colgan

When Flora MacKenzie traded her glum career in London for the remote Scottish island of Mure, she never dreamed that Joel—her difficult, adorable boss—would follow. Yet now, not only has Flora been reunited with her family and opened a charming cafĂ© by the sea, but she and Joel are taking their first faltering steps into romance. With Joel away on business in New York, Flora is preparing for the next stage in her life. And that would be…? Love? She’s feeling it. Security? In Joel’s arms, sure. Marriage? Not open to discussion. In the meanwhile, Flora is finding pleasure in a magnificent sight: whales breaking waves off the beaches of Mure. But it also signals something less joyful. According to local superstition, it’s an omen—and a warning that Flora’s future could be as fleeting as the sea-spray…

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The house at Sugar Beach book jacket

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper

The author traces her childhood in war-torn Liberia and her reunion with a foster sister who had been left behind when her family fled the region.

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Manhattan Beach book jacket 

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

In Brooklyn during the Great Depression, Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

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On Chesil Beach book jacket

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

It is July 1962. Florence is a talented musician who dreams of a career on the concert stage and of the perfect life she will create with Edward, an earnest young history student at University College of London, who unexpectedly wooed and won her heart. Newly married that morning, both virgins, Edward and Florence arrive at a hotel on the Dorset coast. At dinner in their rooms they struggle to suppress their worries about the wedding night to come. Edward, eager for rapture, frets over Florence’s response to his advances and nurses a private fear of failure, while Florence’s anxieties run deeper: she is overcome by sheer disgust at the idea of physical contact, but dreads disappointing her husband when they finally lie down together in the honeymoon suite.

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Orchid Beach book jacket

Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods

Forced into early retirement at thirty-seven, smart, attractive, and fiercely independent Major Holly Barker trades in her bars as a military cop for the badge of deputy chief of police in Orchid Beach, Florida. But below the sunny surface of this sleepy, well-to-do island town lies an evil that escalates into the cold-blooded murder of one of Holly’s new colleagues. An outsider, Holly has little to go on for answers and no one to help her–except Daisy, a Doberman of exceptional intelligence and loyalty that becomes her companion and protector. The closer Holly gets to the truth, the more she knows that it’ll take one smart dog with guts to sniff out this killer–before he can catch her first. This is the first book in a series.

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Revere Beach Elegy book jacket 

Revere Beach Elegy: A Memoir of Home and Beyond by Roland Merullo

Roland Merullo returns to his childhood heaven of Revere, Massachusetts, where the affirmation of family and the tough codes of his gritty working-class neighborhood form an insular world almost impossible to leave. Merullo writes of his second-generation Italian-American father, a man whose drive and pride are a crucible for his oldest son. He tells the story of being plucked from McKinley Junior High School to become a scholarship boy at the elite Exeter Academy. His later travels compose pieces of what is in the end a daring and heartrending spiritual autobiography, one in which place and class are as critical as prayer.

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 Same Beach, Next Year book jacket

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship–and flirt with an unexpected attraction–of their own. Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

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A Stranger on a Beach book jacket

A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell

Caroline Stark’s beach house was supposed to be her crowning achievement: a lavish, expensive space to showcase what she thought was her perfect family. But after a very public fight with her husband, she realizes things may not be as perfect as they seem: her husband is lying to her, the money is disappearing, and there’s a stranger on the beach outside her house. As Caroline’s marriage and her carefully constructed lifestyle begin to collapse around her, she turns to Aidan, the stranger, for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s infatuation with Caroline, her family, and her house becomes more and more destructive. But who is manipulating whom in this deadly game of obsession and control? Who will take the blame when someone ends up dead…and what is Caroline hiding?”

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South Beach Cartel Book Jacket

South Beach Cartel by Nisa Santiago

Cartier Timmons is infuriated by the tragedy and vengeance inflicted upon her family. She’s making savage rounds through Miami until she can bring her own brand of hood justice to the cartel who messed with hers.

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Ten Beach Road book jacket 

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax

Madeline, Avery, and Nikki are strangers to each other, but they have one thing in common. They each wake up one morning to discover that their life savings have vanished along with their trusted financial manager—leaving them with nothing but co-ownership of a ramshackle beachfront house. Throwing caution to the wind, the three women take on the challenge of restoring the historic beach house to its former glory. But just as they begin to reinvent themselves and discover the power of friendship, their secrets threaten to tear down their trust and destroy their lives a second time. This is the first book in a series.

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Thirteen Days book jacket

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell

For Ray and Sandra, it’s their first family holiday in Greece, on the mysterious island of Vasilema. The skies are cloudier than anywhere else and the visitors are puzzled by local eccentricities: the lack of mirrors, the outsize beach umbrellas, and the odd nocturnal rituals. Why do some islanders seem to follow the family wherever they go? Why do the visitors have strangely similar dreams? And has Sandra been granted a wish she didn’t know she’d made? Their tours take them around the island to a holiday resort that is unnaturally deserted during the day and to a cave where more than one gruesome discovery lies in wait. Before their holiday is over, some of the family may learn too much about the secret that keeps the island alive.

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