Summer Beach Reads
I am a creature of habit. While I generally add a few new books to my rotation each summer, I love revisiting my favorites at this time of year. There’s something about lazy summer days that encourages re-reading, of returning to a familiar place. Here are five of my favorite summer reads.
Gatherings by Marina Rust
As you’ll see from the other selections on my list, I am captivated by family sagas. Gatherings is a fictionalized memoir that the author once described as a series of short stories featuring the same characters. That is indeed how it reads. This novel is elegantly written, but the real star is the description of place, particularly the chapters set in Maine.
The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home* by George Howe Colt
Everyone has that place where their most cherished memories seem to live on. The Big House is an amusing and heartfelt tribute to the “big house” of one family. It’s a moving memoir that I eagerly re-read each summer.
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
With its French Riviera setting, this is to me a quintessentially summer novel and my personal favorite of Fitzgerald’s works. I love novels that strongly evoke a sense of place, and Tender is the Night brings the South of France to life. This is a favorite that always feels like summer.
Time of Wonder* by Robert McCloskey
This is perhaps an unorthodox addition to an adult summer reading list, but this children’s book captures the joy and poignancy of the all-too-short season through the eyes of the author’s daughters in its simple and direct language and touching illustrations. The artwork is beautiful, and I wish I owned the originals!
The Guest Book* by Sarah Blake
This is the most recent addition to my summer re-reads list, but it’s already one of my favorites. A friend from my book club mentioned it at the beginning of the pandemic. It was exactly the captivating read I needed. The Guest Book is the story of a family across three generations—and the moments, forgotten by some, that shaped their lives. Beyond its personal dramas, historical events play important roles in a way that doesn’t feel heavy-handed, as in some historical fiction. It is an outstanding family saga and a must-read for those who like this genre. The book takes place in Manhattan, Maine, and Oyster Bay.
What are your favorite summer reads? Please share in the comments.