Beach Reads: 10 Books to Devour This Summer

A few titles to consider throwing in your beach bag.

summer books boston

Far be it for us to define what constitutes a proper “beach read.” One reader’s Capital is another’s Wellesley Wives.

But in general, we think of beach reads as books that are intriguing enough to flip through in an afternoon by the water—you can’t go wrong with B.J. Novak’s latest collection One More Thing; John Green’s YA novel The Fault in Our Stars (inspired by a Quincy teen); or anything Dennis Lehane.

Here are 10 more books to consider putting in your beach bag or queuing up in the Cloud this summer.

(List prices are for hardcover unless otherwise noted.)

The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner

The Kings family of Loosewood Island, a fictional island off the coast of Maine, have been fishing lobster for 300 years. Cordelia, the eldest of three daughters, is set to inherit the family business, but sibling rivalry, meth dealers from the mainland, and falling in love threaten her ascent. The King Lear-inspired story is Zentner’s second novel; his first was 2011’s Touch.

Out May 27. $27, W. W. Norton,

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding

The Gardner heist isn’t the only notorious theft in local history. In 2006, E. Forbes Smiley III admitted to stealing 97 valuable maps from institutions including Harvard and the BPL. Local author (and Boston contributor) Michael Blanding tells the story behind the crimes, which includes an exclusive interview with Smiley himself.

Out June 2. $28, Gotham Books,

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Speaking of stolen goods, A. J. Fikry is having a tough time. Among other setbacks, the owner of Island Books, an indie store on Alice Island in New England, just had a rare collection of Poe poems swiped. He has completely lost interest in life, until one day a mysterious package arrives and gives him a shot at redemption. Family Circle calls Zevin’s novel “like sunshine on a breezy spring day.” If that doesn’t scream beach read, what does?

Out April 1. $25, Algonquin,

Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III

Dubus follows up his memoir, Townie, with a collection of four stories about characters struggling with food, sex, work, and love. Learn more about Dubus and Dirty Love in “Base Natures” from our November issue.

Out October 7, 2013. $26, W. W. Norton,

Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

This book “pushes Ms. Marshall into the front rank of American biographers,” wrote Dwight Gardner in the New York Times. And it did. Marshall’s biography of journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate Margaret Fuller won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Biography. Marshall is an associate professor in Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program.

Out March 12, 2013. $24, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,

Love and Fury by Richard Hoffman

Also by an Emerson-related author is senior writer-in-residence Richard Hoffman, who just released his memoir. In Love and Fury, he looks back at his upbringing in a post-World War II blue-collar family, particularly at his complicated relationship with his father.

Out June 3. $25, Beacon Press,

Thirty Girls by Susan Minot

Minot’s latest novel about is based on the 1996 abduction of Ugandan schoolgirls by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. The acclaimed author of Evening was recently announced as a keynote speaker at the Boston Book Festival this fall.

Out February 11. $27, Random House,

Cambridge by Susanna Kaysen

You’ll recognize more than a few locations mentioned in Kaysen’s new novel. Now the author of Girl, Interrupted brings you a story about hometown nostalgia, specifically for—where else?—Cambridge. Read this one by the banks of the Charles or in Harvard Square for full effect.

Out March 18. $26, Random House,

Sight Reading by Daphne Kalotay

Boston’s classical music scene gets a dose of romance in Kalotay’s love story, which follows the lives of two women, Hazel and Remy, from 1987 to 2007. The book opens with the two running into each other on Newbury Street. Remy, a second-string violinist with the BSO, is now married to composer Nicholas, Hazel’s ex. Nothing complicated there…

Out May 21, 2013. $26, HarperCollins,

Nine Inches by Tom Perrotta

The acclaimed author of Election and Little Children Tom Perrotta takes us to suburbia in Nine Inches, a collection of 10 short stories about middle-class Americans and their “one wrong turns” in life.

Out September 10, 2013. $26 Hardcover, St. Martin’s Press,