Read Local: Boston-Related Books for Summer Beach Reading

Now that summer has arrived, it’s time to return to that strange former hobby known as pleasure reading. Here’s a sampling of Boston-related books you’re likely to find us reading at the beach.


Photo by Scott M. Lacey

The Last Summer of the Camperdowns

Elizabeth Kelly explored the tragicomedy of a Nantucket family in her bestselling debut, Apologize, Apologize! In this follow-up novel, she takes readers to the Cape of the early 1970s. The narrator, a 12-year-old Wellfleet girl with eccentric “Me Decade” parents—her mother a retired movie star and her father a candidate for Congress—is plunged beneath the surface of the idyllic summer setting when she discovers dark family secrets and witnesses a sinister crime she won’t soon forget.

Out 6/3, $26, Liveright.

America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy that Built a Nation

“When I wasn’t sleeping or eating,” Ted Williams once famously remarked, “I was practicing swinging.” Now that’s dedication. Or maybe—as Joshua Kendall suggests in this survey of several American personalities—it’s a mental disorder. Kendall showcases the obsessive-compulsive behaviors exhibited by -Williams, Thomas Jefferson, Estée Lauder, Charles Lindbergh, and others, and traces their origins back to traumatic childhood experiences that wound up propelling these figures to greatness.

Out 6/25, $27, Grand Central Publishing.

Sweet Salt Air

If the title alone doesn’t put you in a summer mood, the setting will. The latest from Needham-based bestselling author Barbara Delinsky, this book reunites two friends who once spent summers together on Quinnipeague, a (fictional) island off Maine’s coast. After years apart, the women, a food blogger and a travel writer, come together to write a book about island food. But as they unravel the years away from one another, each encounters truths that threaten marriages and force them to make tough decisions.

Out 6/18, $26, St. Martin’s Press. 

Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking

If you’re not into the whole “beach reads” thing—but aren’t seeking literary Ambien, either—then Tufts philosophy professor Daniel C. Dennett is your guy. “I will go to considerable lengths to cajole you out of some of your firmly held convictions,” he writes in his latest book, which brings philosophy down to earth. Dennett offers a glossary of tools that thinkers use to make their arguments—among them “intuition pumps,” or -anecdotes, as he puts it, that are “designed to provoke a heartfelt, table-thumping intuition.”

Out 5/3, $29, W. W. Norton.