Five books to read on the beach

If you’re anything like me, you get through books twice as quickly in the summer due to all the time you spend reading on the beach. But don’t worry about running out of things to read, here are five fast-paced books full of twists and turns that will keep you occupied all summer:

First up is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book may only be eight chapters long but it succeeds in transporting the reader to the excessive glamour of New York in the roaring twenties. The story is told by Nick Carraway, who moves to Long Island and is astounded by the lavish, extravagant parties thrown by his neighbour Jay Gatsby in his multi-million-dollar home. However, mystery abounds in Gatsby’s failure to show up to his own parties, and also his connection with Carraway’s unhappy relative Daisy Buchanan. The striking imagery used by Fitzgerald to describe New York and its surroundings, and of course, Gatsby’s parties, make the book an escapist’s dream. But the social commentary on class aspiration shows a darker side behind Gatsby’s world that will keep the reader guessing right up until the end of the novel.

Next is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, a book which is perfect for anyone who loves a mystery. The novel follows an unnamed narrator who marries the wealthy Maxim de Winter after a whirlwind romance, and moves to live with him in his beautiful mansion, Manderly, on the coast of Cornwall. However, the narrator’s marriage turns out to be far from a paradise, as she is haunted by the legacy of Maxim’s late first wife, Rebecca. She cannot make any changes to Manderly without facing the wrath of the housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, who wants the house exactly as Rebecca ran it. Worst of all, Maxim’s cold behaviour makes her believe that he preferred Rebecca over her. But was Rebecca as perfect as everyone claims? With the stunning backdrop of the Cornwall coast, Du Maurier creates the perfect setting for the narrator and the reader to solve the mystery of Rebecca.

Thirdly, we have The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden. The novel is narrated by thirteen-year-old Cecil, who along with her four siblings is left to run wild for a summer in a French hotel after their mother is taken ill. As the children grow to love their freedom, things take a darker turn when Cecil witnesses her older sister Joss form a romantic connection with Eliot, the partner of the hotel’s manager, Mademoiselle Zizi. Godden’s mastery lies in contrasting an idyllic summer in a French town with the steadily rising tensions of the love affair, which is bound to keep the reader hooked throughout.

Next is In Paris With You, written by Clémentine Beauvais and translated by Sam Taylor. The novel is a beautiful reimagining of Eugene Onegin, a verse novel by the 18th-century Russian author Alexander Pushkin. In Paris with You is also written in verse, but Beauvais moves Pushkin’s characters from 18th-century Russia to modern day France. Eugene and Tatiana reconnect as adults in Paris, but often reflect on the summer when they first met as teenagers, a summer that changed their lives forever. Beauvais continually keeps the reader guessing as to whether Eugene and Tatiana will be able to fall in love or whether the past will continue to haunt them, while the Parisian setting makes a perfect backdrop for the love story. Through her flowing, lyrical verse, she remains loyal to Pushkin’s original characters and themes but breathes new life into them in imagining how their circumstances would differ in the modern day.

Finally, we return to New York with Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados. The novel is narrated by Isa, who moves to New York City in the summer of 2013 with her best friend Gala. Although they continually struggle to make ends meet, Isa and Gala still manage to have a good time, making use of happy hour deals to have fun nights out where they find new friends, enemies, and lovers. But can their friendship survive their precarious lifestyle? Through her portrayal of the glamourous and less glamourous sides of New York, Granados gives a realistic portrayal of what it is like to live there. In Happy Hour, Granados shows the struggle of being broke and in your twenties while also depicting the joys of being young and having a big city to explore.

In my opinion, all these novels are perfect beach reads. They are exciting, have beautiful settings, and will keep you entertained throughout your holiday. Hope you enjoy!

Featured image: socialcut via Unsplash.

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