I wait all winter long to take my chair to the shore, feel the ocean touch my toes and have the sun kiss my face. That description is heaven on earth to me. Of course, the perfect beach day would be incomplete without a good book in hand. As an avid beach reader, my recommendations are tried and true. Here’s a list of five fast reads that are bound to elevate your seaside learning and leisure.

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell

I read Eleanor and Park a couple summers ago and it pierced my heart and left me nostalgic for the simple ways we fall in love when we’re just kids. Making mixtapes, sharing headphones on the bus, writing lyrics in journals. Beyond that, this story is about two teens who are able to get through bullying, familial abuse and insecurity by striking up an unlikely bond and leaning on one another. I read this book in two days. Every summer reading list needs a heart-tugging love story. This one offers even more than that.

Love Warrior – Glennon Doyle Melton

Maybe the most honest and self-revealing memoir I’ve read, Melton used the pain of her husband’s affair to unpack the issues in her marriage, and more deep seated pain she’d been carrying throughout her life. Addressing female self-love and confidence through the lenses of her crippling bulimia and alcoholism, Melton’s story of finding truth and healing will resonate with any woman, at any age. Get your highlighter out, people, this one is full of quotes to live by like this one:

We know what the world wants from us. We know we must decide whether to stay small, quiet, and uncomplicated or allow ourselves to grow as big, loud, and complex as we were made to be. Every girl must decide whether to be true to herself or true to the world. Every girl must decide whether to settle for adoration or fight for love. — Glennon Doyle Melton

Truly Madly Guilty – Liane Moriarty

After watching the masterpiece that was Big, Little, Lies, I decided I needed to read something by the genius Lianne Moriatary. This story is about three children and six adults enjoying a summer barbecue when the unthinkable happens. A mystery delving deep into the pillars of our lives: marriage, friendship, motherhood, and career- and what it might feel like to have one role- or all of them- taken away. Funny, heartfelt and intriguing, this story will have you engaged until the last page.

LITERALLY ANYTHING by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is the Beyonce of beach material. Treat yourself to any of her summertime stories and I promise, you will be a changed woman. Don’t let the book covers of hot couples wrapped up in towels fool you. Reading Hilderbrand’s honest stories of women and friendship against the backdrop of a quiet Nantucket summer warms me up like a crackling bonfire. Favorites include Barefoot, The Castaways and The Rumor.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling

Kaling is so hysterical that I’d almost recommend this in audiobook just to hear her tell these stories aloud. This book is packed with frantic lists and anecdotes, covering her childhood, relationship with B.J. Novak, and an impressive career. I felt like I’d just gone to brunch with Mindy and gotten to know her on an intimate level when I finished this book. Feminist. Funny. Fantastic. Sink your toes into the sand and gear up for an afternoon of laughs.

I am slightly offended by the way busy working women my age are presented in film. I’m not, like, always barking orders into my hands-free phone device and telling people constantly, “I have no time for this!” I didn’t completely forget how to be nice and feminine because I have a career.
— Mindy Kaling


Erin Kenney is a social media writer at a health care company, pursuing writing full-time on the side. Mix two parts pop culture junkie with three heaping spoonfuls of feminism and political commentary. Top with a dash of makeup and Bravo reality television, and that’s her.