The Best Beach Reads For A Summer Of Sun

Is there anything better than kicking back on a sun lounger, iced tea in hand, sun beating down and getting lost in one of the many books that have piled up by your bed for the last six months?

We’re pretty sure the answer is no. 

It’s the ultimate escape, mentally and physically as you spend the coming weeks lost in the world of others and exploring a destination far from home stresses. 

These are the books we’re getting ready to sink our teeth into this summer.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. Until one day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. 

Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together. 

A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage offers a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three unforgettable characters who are at once bound together and separated by forces beyond their control.”

‘A moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.’ – Barack Obama

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

“It is the summer of 1940. Nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris arrives in New York with her suitcase and sewing machine, exiled by her despairing parents. Although her quicksilver talents with a needle and commitment to mastering the perfect hair roll have been deemed insufficient for her to pass into her sophomore year of Vassar, she soon finds gainful employment as the self-appointed seamstress at the Lily Playhouse, her unconventional Aunt Peg’s charmingly disreputable Manhattan revue theatre.

There, Vivian quickly becomes the toast of the showgirls, transforming the trash and tinsel only fit for the cheap seats into creations for goddesses. 

Exile in New York is no exile at all: here in this strange wartime city of girls, Vivian and her girlfriends mean to drink the heady highball of life itself to the last drop. And when the legendary English actress Edna Watson comes to the Lily to star in the company’s most ambitious show ever, Vivian is entranced by the magic that follows in her wake. But there are hard lessons to be learned, and bitterly regrettable mistakes to be made. Vivian learns that to live the life she wants, she must live many lives, ceaselessly and ingeniously making them new.

‘At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is,’ she confides. And so Vivian sets forth her story, and that of the women around her – women who have lived as they truly are, out of step with a century that could never quite keep up with them.” 

‘Glamorous, sexy, compelling … Addictive … Radical and refreshing to read’ – Dolly Alterton, Sunday Times

Educated by Tara Westover

“Tara Westover grew up preparing for the End of Days. The government didn’t know she existed: no birth certificate because she’d never been registered, no school records because she’d never set foot in a classroom, and no medical records because her father didn’t believe in hospitals. 

As she grew older, her father became more radical and her brother more violent. At sixteen, Tara knew she had to leave home. In doing so she discovered both the incredible power of education and the price she had to pay for it.”

‘An amazing story, and truly inspiring. The kind of book everyone will enjoy. It’s even better than you’ve heard.’ – Bill Gates

More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth

“In this part-manifesto, part-memoir, the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue explores what it means to come into your own – on your own terms.

Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking editor unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers. 

Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and the only black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her – and all women – they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough.”

Conviction by Denise Mina

“From ‘the woman who may be Britain’s finest living crime novelist’ (Daily Telegraph), Conviction stars a strong female protagonist who is obsessed by true-crime podcasts and decides, one day, to investigate one of the unsolved crimes herself.

It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.

Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.

This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.”

‘A dark star of a novel, blazingly intense, up-to-the-minute fresh, and exciting as all hell’ A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

Fleishman Is In Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Aknar

“Finally free from his nightmare of a marriage, Toby Fleishman is ready for a life of online dating and weekend-only parental duties. But as he optimistically looks to a future that is wildly different from the one he imagined, his life turns upside-down as his ex-wife, Rachel, suddenly disappears.

While Toby tries to find out what happened – juggling work, kids and his new, app-assisted sexual popularity – his tidy narrative of a spurned husband is his sole consolation. But if he ever wants to really understand where Rachel went and what really happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen it all that clearly in the first place…”

‘Brimming with wisdom and utterly of this moment . . . Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s debut is that rare and delicious treat: a page turner with heft’ – Maria Semple

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman.

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