Pack Your Beach Bag (With These Books!)

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All images via their respective owners compiled by Galit Breen

What makes a great summer read? One that lets you relax, tune out, and at the very least pretend that your toes are in the sand and your drink is nearby. Long gone are the cliche rules of beach reads being soft-cover and not too long. A good summer read is plain and simple a fabulous book.

Here are six to pack in your beach bag this summer!

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Image via Amazon

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty is the Australian author of five internationally best-selling novels, most recently noted for The Husband's Secret. What Alice Forgot tells the story of a woman, Alice, who loses 10 years of her memory. She thinks she is 29, pregnant with her first child, and blissfully in love with her husband. She is horrified to discover she is 39, with 3 children and in the middle of a terrible divorce. It's like the younger Alice has traveled forward in time. Readers say that what they liked best about this novel was how it made them think about the choices they'd made and wonder how their younger selves would feel about the lives they are leading now.

Why I chose this beach read: I'm smitten with Moriarty's quick-witted, smart writing, and fall in love with her characters instantly. Beyond that, this premise is uber interesting — what would your 10-years-ago self think of your life today? Like the movie Sliding Doors, I love this look at the twists and turns our decisions take us on.

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All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

All Fall Down is Jennifer Weiner's brand new, hot-off-the-presses book that answers the provocative question: Has your drinking or drug use become a problem? This is the story of a woman's slide into addiction and struggle to find her way back up again. With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, this tale of empowerment and redemption is said to be Jennifer Weiner's most poignant, timely, and triumphant story yet. Weiner is best known for her perfect blend of humor and heart and early readers say she delivers both and that this one is a must-read.

Why I chose this beach read: Jennifer Weiner always delivers with her direct, no-nonsense writing style that can melt your heart, make you blush, and have you bursting out laughing in one chapter or less. I love that she's delving into this hot topic that every woman I know is touched by one way or another.

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Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline's Keep Quiet, is an emotionally gripping and morally complex story about one father's decision to protect his son — and the devastating consequences that follow. Jake Buckman's relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan, is not an easy one; so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan's entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have you debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.

Why I chose this beach read: I heard Lisa Scottoline speak last spring and she is nothing short of delightful. Her writing style is on-the-edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, stay-up-way-too-late-reading good. Every girl needs a friend like Scottoline and a book like Keep Quiet.

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Image via Amazon

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin, returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty — and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both. 33-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas — a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea's comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she's chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets. Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One and Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself.

Why I chose this beach read: Emily Giffin's light touch with a pen keeps readers turning page after page of every novel she writes. She delves into issues women think and talk about; this newest novel has been long awaited. Giffin's novels include cameos of characters from previous books which is an author touch that I couldn't possibly love more.

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Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

The story of Maya Angelou's extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But in this book, Angelou shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother. Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence — a presence absent during much of Angelou's early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Why I chose this beach read: I'm a Maya Angelou fangirl and have read many of her books, but this one sticks with me because of the topic and poignant Maya Angelou way she goes about writing it. Maya Angelou died this year, it seems timely and right to honor her words by reading them.

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Image via Amazon

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Chocolat is the charming read by Joanne Harris written in 1999, and beloved ever since. The story begins with the arrival of Vianne Rocher, a single mother with a young daughter, in a tiny French village at the beginning of Lent. Vianne and her daughter move into a disused bakery facing the church, where Francis Reynaud, the young and opinionated curé of the parish, watches her arrival with disapproval and suspicion. When Vianne opens a chocolate shop in place of the old bakery, the villgers fall for her while Reynaud declares war.

Why I chose this beach read: I read Chocolat 15 years ago and lines and lessons from the story still pop into my mind. I love the small town, the memorable characters, and the lessons learned. And I think summer is the perfect time to indulge in — and revisit — old favorites.

{ MORE: Spring Books: 10 Books for Moms to Get Excited About This Spring }

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Pack Your Beach Bag (With These Books!)

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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1 comment

  1. Cary says:

    These books look fabulous! I am always looking for new reads, and actually had a couple of these on my list to read. Thanks!

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