5 Great books for beach reading

Great books for beach reading

5 Great books for beach reading

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Some books just reek of the salty seadog feel and really whisk you away to a place full of towering waves, high seas adventure, and danger just over the next rolling swell. Here are five great books for beach reading that can take you on a true ocean voyage, if only in your mind.

While a light read with a frivolous plot line and sappy characters might be fun to read on vacation, if you are at the beach, there are certain books that can really fit the bill when it comes to enhancing your ocean-side experience.

What books are great for beach reading?

Great books for beach reading

Robinson Crusoe

In many ways, the 19th-century precursor to Castaway feels total isolation as Robinson Crusoe battles for not only physical but his mental survival as well. Defoe’s story becomes a bit sluggish toward the middle of the book, but you’ll be amazed by the ending, which takes a little-known and quite exciting twist that is often not associated with the shipwrecked legend.

Kon Tiki

A true tale of adventure, this story is much more than just the tale of a few Norwegians stuck on a homemade raft. The story chronicles the voyage of five modern-day explorers from Norway as they travel from the shores of Peru, across the mighty Pacific on a handmade raft.

You’ll get a first-hand account of many of the oddities and insights regarding the people who made this same voyage thousands of years earlier in much the same way and the ocean on which they made it. Kon Tiki is one of the best books for discovering little-known facts and interesting trivia tidbits about surviving on the open ocean and the process with which the ancients learned and developed these skills years before.

Swiss Family Robinson

This book is many a person’s dream — to be shipwrecked on a deserted island with their family, and manage to make it not only a hospitable experience but a quite livable one at that. Maybe it’s more of a nightmare depending on your family. But with plenty of fun and adventure, this book is a great one for kids and adults alike.

Great books for beach reading

The Perfect Storm

The book is just as good a read as the movie was to watch. Exciting, dramatic, and packed full of adventure, it follows the lives of five fishermen aboard the Andrea Gail who push the limits while trying to make the deadliest of catches. When you read this one you’ll be gritting your teeth, holding your breath, and imagining yourself right there with these brave souls who are witnessing the best old man ocean can toss at them.

The Old Man and the Sea

One man and a fish may not sound like the most interesting cast of characters for a book, but you might be surprised. There’s more to this story than just a whopper of a fishtail. Consider checking out other Hemingway books that centre on the water as well, such as Islands in the Stream or To Have and Have Not. These also make great options for beach reading.

Other Beach Reading Options

This year offers a number of worthwhile books to satisfy that summer reading urge. Below are some of the highlights:

Great books for beach reading

Works by Bestselling Authors

While not extremely intellectually challenging, popular authors like James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Higgins Clark consistently produce enjoyable, easy-to-read novels. The summer crop includes “Fearless Fourteen,” the Stephanie Plum novel by Evanovich; “Sundays at Tiffany’s,” “Sail,” and “7th Heaven” (a Women’s Murder Club mystery) by James Patterson; and “Where Are you Now?” a summer thriller by Mary Higgins Clark. Also worth packing is the latest courtroom action by John Grisham, “The Appeal,” an all-too-real look at the US court system.

Chick Lit

Every beach book bag needs at least one “Chick Lit” tome. The offerings include “Certain Girls” by Jennifer Weiner, “Change of Heart” by Jodi Picoult, “Friday Nights” by Joanna Trollope, and “Off Season” by Anne Rivers Siddons. For a slightly upbeat and humorous chick-lit novel, grab a copy of Lisa Lutz’s “Meet the Spellmans.”


You can never go wrong with a classic-either an old favourite or one that you’ve been meaning to read. New editions of old standards released this season include “Emma” and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery, “The Tenet of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Bronte, and “The Widow,” a classic mystery by George Simenon.

Whatever you decide to read, savour those beach reading hours. They are truly one of the joys of summer.


Are you looking for mystery books to take on your trip this summer? Books that are gripping yet undemanding? These are my picks for great beach reads.

To me, the ideal beach read is one that draws you in immediately and keeps you engrossed, without regard to kids playing nearby, jet skis roaring, and husbands (or girlfriends) chatting incessantly. All of these picks for summer mystery beach reads pass that test. There are novels by first-time writers and old favourites, but all are enjoyable, engrossing, and fun to read.

  • The 6th Target: The latest episode of James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series has one of the foursome fighting for her life while the others try to catch and convict a killer. As with all Patterson novels, it has non-stop action and easy-to-read, short chapters — ideal for the beach.
  • The Woods: This latest from Harlan Coben grabs the reader from the first, short chapter, telling just enough to intrigue, but not to illuminate. The novel tells the story of a New Jersey County prosecutor that is confronted with ghosts and events from his past.
  • Revisit a classic Agatha Christie favourite: Agatha Christie novels are timeless and make great beach reads. Read (or re-read) a favourite, such as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, with its many plot twists, or Murder on the Orient Express, with its host of characters. Or, seek out one of her 80 novels, plays, and short stories that you haven’t had a chance to read. There’s not a bad one in the bunch.

So, call the library or visit your local bookstore and stock up on mysteries to take to the beach. You’re sure to enjoy any or all of these.

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