Nine years ago, I moved from my hometown of Brooklyn to the shores of San Diego. It was a conscious choice, sacrificing bialys and a decent slice of pizza for warm weather and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, but it’s one I’ve never regretted. Life in San Diego means year-round sunshine and easy access to the beach. In five minutes, I can haul a book and a blanket to Moonlight or Swami’s and read a few chapters while listening to the waves crash on the sand.
I’m lucky, I know. Particularly because I’m a huge fan of beach reads.
There’s No Such Thing As a Guilty Pleasure
Now, that term – “beach reads” – often comes with a negative connotation. Beach reads are sometimes called “guilty pleasures,” though I’m not sure why you should ever feel guilty about reading a book that’s engaging, inspiring, and brings you joy. As Susan Elizabeth Phillips says, “Life’s too short to read depressing books.” So when I’m splayed out on the sand, soaking up the sun, I want to devour a story that makes me feel as warm and happy as my surroundings.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get to the beach. I remember, back when I lived in Brooklyn, a trip to the beach was a daylong affair, involving a lengthy subway ride or a hefty parking fee. And it was really only an option for three months out of the year; any time before June or after August, it was just too damn cold to read by the ocean.
But I still used to read my fair share of beach reads back then, because you don’t need a beach to enjoy a good beach read. Dare I say, beach reads are even more gratifying when consumed outside of their natural habitat – the right story can help you recapture the warm, happy feeling of a day at the beach, no matter where you are.
Alternatives to the Beach for Beach-Reading
Consider your daily commute. The slog to and from work can be a joyless experience. The traffic, the crowds, the unforeseen delays: it’s a mess. But flip open a beach read – or, if you’re in the car, fire up an audiobook – and you’re instantly transported to a happier place.
What about all that waiting around you do? Whether queued up for groceries, sitting around at the DMV, or parked at the bar awaiting the arrival of your Tinder date, a beach read can provide some pleasant distraction during those otherwise wasted moments.
And there’s no better way to end the day than by curling up with a beach read in bed. If the last thing you read before you turn out the light is a fun, high-spirited story, then you’ll be sure to get a good night’s sleep. Happy books beget happy dreams.
My (Current) Favorite Beach Reads
So even though Labor Day is right around the corner, it’s still a perfect time to indulge in those stories you meant to read over the summer but never got around to. In case you’re interested in knowing what I devoured this summer, here are my favorite beach reads from the past few months:
- My Not-So-Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
- Lessons in Gravity by Megan Westfield
- The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
- Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
And here are the beach reads that are bringing me into the fall:
- Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
- Wish You Were Here by Renée Carlino
- The Break by Marian Keyes
- Sweet Reality by Laura Heffernan
What about you? Got any suggestions for favorite beach reads that I should add to my TBR pile? If so, leave them in the comments!