The best books for lounging with your toes in the sand
Our write-ups on our favorite books—including Novels that Transport You and Non-Fiction to Take You Away—have been so popular that we thought we’d create a new installment for the summer. Read on to find out what our favorite page-turners are when our toes are buried in the sand.
William Finnegan’s memoir Barbarian Days explores his obsession-bordering-addiction with surfing. After taking up the sport as a child raised in both Hawaii and California, Finnegan continued to chase waves all over the world—from Australia and Asia to Africa and the South Pacific. He isn’t just searching for the perfect wave, he becomes a sort of cultural anthropologist too along the way.
Have you ever wondered what your life might have been like if you made a single decision differently? The Midnight Library by Matt Haig tells the tale of a library that sits between life and death where every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. After deciding to die, the novel’s protagonist Nora Seed travels through the Midnight Library and ultimately learns what makes life truly fulfilling.
Together on Top of the World: The Remarkable Story of the First Couple to Climb the Fabled Seven Summits
Phil and Susan were the first couple to climb the seven summits—the highest summit on each continent. Written by Phil Ershler and Robin Simons, Together on Top of the World is an inspirational love story of how two passionate people met and made mountaineering history. An inspiring tale of being true to oneself while achieving your dreams.
I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are
Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fame shares a collection of hilarious personal essays, poems, and even writes a musical number that touches on everything from anxiety and insecurity to fame and sexism. Read I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are for a blunt, straightforward, and honest voice that’s relatable and laugh-out-loud funny all at the same time.
The House in the Cerulean Sea
T.J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus Baker, a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth. His life is quiet and solitary until he’s given a curious assignment: to travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage where six dangerous children reside—including an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. This book will take you out of reality as you know it and transport you to another land altogether.
The Husband’s Secret
In The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty’s protagonist Cecilia Fitzpatrick opens a letter written to her by her husband in the event of his death. The only problem is, he’s still very much alive—and this letter contains his deepest, darkest secret, a secret that could destroy not only her own life but those of others too. This leads her to ask herself: is it really possible to know our spouses? What about ourselves?
In Beautiful Ruins, we’re transported to the Ligurian Sea on the Italian coastline where a young innkeeper sees a willowy beautiful woman approaching on a boat. She is an American starlet who is dying. Jess Waters effortlessly moves us back and forth across 5 decades, creating a riveting and beautiful story filled with heartfelt emotion involving the tangled lives of the innkeeper, the actress, a dashing young Richard Burton and many others.
If you want to pack one of these books in your beach bag for your next vacation, check out our list on BookShop to order online and support local book shops.
Note: The Portico team helps you better organize ideas for travel. All of our picks are independently selected. If you buy something we link to, we may earn commission.