7 Beach Read Recommendations

The lazy hedonistic joy of being on an Australian beach in summer negated the words. – Christos Tsolkias

While the northern hemisphere are cosying up with sweaters and hot chocolates, down here in the southern part of the world summertime is upon us. Summer in Australia means plenty of time for lying on the beach, paperback in hand, sandy feet, and salty hair. What more could one ask for? Perhaps some ice cream delivered to your free hand? To make the summer as enjoyable as it can be needs forethought and planning into the one thing that can make or break it: your reading list. Time to start prepping the summer book list, or let me do the work and read on.

The North Water by Ian Mcguire

The North Water fulfills the criteria for a pacy thriller, a beach necessity, but with a twist. From the first page the reader knows who the killer is. This isn’t a novel for looking backwards, trying to piece together the clues. The reader is looking forward, wondering, anticipating, agitating about what is to come next. Henry Drax continues to go down as one of the most chilling villains I’ve ever encountered. Did I also mention it’s set in the Arctic Circle? Nothing like a little fictional ice to cool you down. 

Buy it here.

The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Your summer reading list wouldn’t be complete without a short story collection, some bite-sized pieces of fiction to consume while soaking up the sun between swims. This collection is twelve stories about bad men of history from the perspectives of the women who loved them. Woollett imagines the lives of these very real women and weaves stories of love, obsession and power. Perfect for those who love a bit of true crime. 

Buy it here.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

A memoir about surfing. What else should you be reading on the beach? This won the Pulitzer Prize back in 2016 and is well worth the almost five hundred pages it contains. Finnegan describes a life now unattainable, chasing surf breaks across the world, back before everywhere was easily accessible and a commodity. From surfing Honolua Bay while tripping on acid to teaching in South Africa during Apartheid, Finnegan has lived a fascinating life.

Buy it here.

The Pisces by Melissa Broder

Honestly, merman sex. Enough said. You do need at least one racy read to match the soaring temperatures. Even better though, The Pisces is more than your average bodice ripper. It’s a sizzling satire that captures the supposed selfishness of millenials and the highs and very lows of the Tinder generation. On the surface it is a compelling read about a woman who escapes to Venice Beach to get over a break up and becomes involved with a sexy merman, but it is also a deeper meditation on relationships, consumerism, and power. 

Buy it here.

Breath by Tim Winton

The quintessential Australian beach read, Winton’s meditation on surfing and sexual asphyxiation. This is not your average coming-of-age story, sappy and full of wistful messages. Breath is messy and blunt. A brutally honest story about two boys chasing adrenaline and thrills. A slim and consuming read with delectable prose.

Buy it here.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

Now an essay collection to break things up a little. The best thing I found about Crosley’s collection was that some of the essays were barely two pages, short and sweet. Perfect for holiday brain. These essays were also laugh-out-loud funny, so beware in public. Or embrace it—you will be the most mysterious, elusive and fun-loving person on the beach. These essays discuss everything from chronic illness to a walk-on role for Gossip Girl.

Buy it here.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The last book you need on your reading list is a nice, long read designed to compel the reader and transport them to another time and place. The Queen of the Night is the perfect choice, melodramatic and set in post-revolutionary France. The writing is indulgent, the scenery decadent. When you come up for air you will most likely find yourself a little surprised you are on a beach and not at a masquerade ball in France in the late eighteen hundreds. Chee’s writing is a delight and this one has a nice little message at the end of it for those who stick around (I promise you won’t regret it). 

Buy it here.


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