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8 Beach Reads and the Beaches to Read Them On

by Tess Falotico

8 Beach Reads and the Beaches to Read Them On

These books look great with a tan. Photo by Boris Ebzeev.

The books we read each summer are only as good as the beaches we read them on. Fathom's professional beach-reading intern Tess Falotico looked into both: What to read and, more importantly, where to read it.

THE BEACH – All summer books are not created equal, and neither are the beaches we read them on. A light, breezy book is great on one of those hungover mornings in Miami. But we like to devote a whole quiet afternoon in Montauk  to devouring a heavy, emotional page-turner. Wherever your beach destination is this summer, choose your book accordingly.

1. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, by Tom Rachman

What: A Welsh bookshop-owner digs through the secrets of her mysterious past, which take her on a journey through time and place (from Europe during the Cold War to the tumultuous early 2000's in New York).

Why: To get lost along with her.

Where: A long afternoon in Montauk.


We Are Called to Rise

2. We Are Called To Rise, by Laura McBride

What: A touching story of three strangers on the brink — a woman grasping at her failing marriage, a young and struggling immigrant boy, and an injured soldier — find comfort in unexpected events.

Why: To ponder the importance of family, both biological and otherwise.

Where: At your family reunion on the Outer Banks.


The One & Only Emily Giffin

3. The One and Only, by Emily Giffin

What: The queen of summer bestsellers is back with a love story set in small-town, football-obsessed Texas.

Why: Because you like your girly page-turners with a side of wry observation and wit.

Where: Between cocktails and pool parties in Miami.


The Vacationers Emma Straub

4. The Vacationersby Emma Straub

What: A dysfunctional family of New Yorkers rents a villa in Mallorca and unpacks their troubles in the gorgeous Spanish beach town.

Why: For a breezy, entertaining summer read.

Where: Mallorca. Of course.


Lucky Us Amy Bloom

5. Lucky Usby Amy Bloom

What: Bloom's stunning second novel centers on two best friends road tripping from small-town Ohio to the jazz clubs of Long Island to Hollywood (and everywhere in between) in 1940s America.

Why: Because a coming-of-age story is touching regardless of its setting.

Where: Cape May, for a healthy dose of nostalgia.


The Bees Laline Paull

6. The Beesby Laline Paull

What: A brave lower-class worker anthophila navigates life under the tyrannical rule of Queen Bee in her home, a dystopian beehive.

Why: To see a bee convincingly evoke human emotions.

Where: Somewhere far, far away where your imagination can run wild. The Maldives, perhaps?


The Danube Nick Thorpe

7. The Danubeby Nick Thorpe

What: Thorpe's personal account of his year spent travelling the Danube.

Why: For his keen observations on the ordinary and extraordinary in Eastern Europe.

Where: Amasra, Turkey, to get in the mood for Thorpe's Black Sea-to-Black Forest adventure.


Take This Man Brando Skyhorse

8. Take This Manby Brando Skyhorse

What: A heart-wrenching memoir of the PEN/Hemingway award-winner's turbulent childhood and search for his biological father.

Why: Because Skyhorse tells the story of his own life as beautifully as he writes a work of fiction.

Where: Vamizi Island, Mozambique where you can weep in peace. (It's so secluded we named it one of our top hotels for escaping the apocalypse.)


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Tess is a writer and the head chef of her own tiny kitchen in Queens. You can follow her on Instagram at @tessfalotico. She travels for the hotel bars.

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