Summer is finally here! It's the perfect time to lay out at the beach, relax in your new strapless tankini, and absorb yourself in a good summer book. Whether you choose to lounge in your casual cover up by the poolside or venture out to your favorite beach, one thing's for sure—some must-read books will keep you entertained and make your summer unforgettable! As you're thinking about your next beach getaway, we've got a list of some of the best beach reads to take with you.
Oprah's Book Club is one of the most popular and beloved book lists, and we've scoured some of our favorite picks for the summer. No matter what your taste in books is like, you'll walk away loving these rich literary beach reads from Oprah's Book Club. Here are a few of our favorites.
Daughter of Fortune
Many writers have inspired their readers through generations. Isabel Allende, now considered one of the greatest writers in South America, is one of these writers. Daughter of Fortune is a wildly vivid novel about young Eliza, who leaves her home in nineteenth-century Chile to find her lover in the goldfields of San Francisco, California. Set against the backdrop of the Gold Rush, it is a spellbinding tale skillfully crafted with magical realism. Allende is a superb storyteller who weaves history and the supernatural with her own memories. Bring your favorite sunhat, swimsuit accessories, and one piece swimsuit: this will be one beach read you won't be able to put down.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
A thousand-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail might not be on your bucket list, but Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir will change your mind. After losing her mother to cancer, Cheryl made the most impulsive decision: to hike from the Mojave Desert to Washington State - and do it alone. The author hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, a brutal 2,650-mile stretch that spans from the southern border of California all the way to northern Washington. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is a true story of one woman's thousand-mile journey of grit and redemption, overcoming the grief and guilt that haunts her.
East of Eden
John Steinbeck's East of Eden is a novel widely considered Steinbeck's finest and one of the greatest American novels. This sweeping family epic of the Salinas Valley traces the intertwined stories of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Set in the backdrop of 19th century Salinas Valley and the surrounding area of Northern California, this moving tale tells two parallel stories that both touch on the nature of good versus evil and family and forgiveness.
Love in the Time of Cholera
It's safe to say Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century. The novel Love in the Time of Cholera, demonstrates Garcia Marquez's lyricism by weaving a story of love, happiness, loyalty, and heartbreak. This love story about a man whose quest for undying love is blocked by fate and time has gained worldwide acclaim over the years and is often considered one of the greatest works of South American literature. The unforgettable characters rush in and out of this romantic tale in the rich land of García Márquez's Columbia. With such romantic characters, you'll feel cozy and sentimental reading this one on the beach in your new swim dress.
The Underground Railroad
This Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel is an alternate history novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora and Caesar, slaves desperately fleeing a Georgia plantation. Cora discovers a boxcar door in the woods; she escapes to what seems like freedom but is an underground network of tracks and tunnels controlled by "conductors," who lead Cora on a thrilling journey toward freedom. The characters embark on an adventurous journey that is thrilling and disturbing, and Whitehead tells this story with beautiful prose. Grab this read and bring it in your beach bag with your floral bikini; you won't be able to stop reading this story once you've picked it up.
Where The Heart Is
First published in 1996 and then made into a movie, Where The Heart Is is a light, feel-good read that will make you laugh, smile, and cry a little. In a small southern town with a big heart, 18-year-old Novalee Nation is eight months pregnant and desperately trying to find her way back home. Novalee gives birth in a Wal-Mart to her baby Samuel and has no money to care for him. Finally, with nowhere to go, two women offer Novalee a place to stay and a chance to build a new life and a better future. Novalee then finds herself in a world she never knew existed and is forever changed by the journey. With lots of warmth and a big heart, Billie Letts' novel will invite you to a home you'll never want to leave.
In Olive Again, Strout introduces a world of unique characters and voices in sleepy small town Crosby, Maine. A continuation of Strout's Olive Kitteredge, which was made into an HBO miniseries, Olive, Again will absorb readers with her unique poetic voice. The main character, Olive Kitteridge, is an enchanting and irascible woman as prickly as a cactus and as memorable as a beloved friend. As astute as it is emotionally engaging, Olive, Again explores with profound insight into love, friendship, and family.
Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon is a rich and compelling novel by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison. The book portrays the coming of age of a young black man, following the story into four generations of complex character, with a blend of symbolic allegory and gritty realism. Her themes range from love to racism to just open-ended tales that flow with the plot. Milkman Dead dreams of greater accomplishments and riches and goes on a journey to search for gold, which leads him to a discovery of his identity and his roots.
The beach is calling, and nothing is more relaxing in your chair and enjoying a good book under the sun. Whether you're lounging by a beautiful pool or ocean waves, these novels will give you an escape from the summer heat so that all that remains of your worries are a few sun-kissed tan lines and a great book club discussion. Set out in your favorite summer swimsuit with one of Oprah's book club picks and get lost in your beach read!