Best Summer Books for Beach Reading

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Relaxing on the beach can include a lot of different activities. If you’re not looking to get wet, diving into a novel is a great way to relax while the waves crash in the distance. Here are some of our favorite page-turners to read through during a quiet afternoon on the beach.

Peace Like a River

Awarded Time‘s “Top-Five Books of the Year,” Peace Like a River is Leif Enger’s best work to date. The novel is narrated by 11-year-old Reuben Land, who tells of his family’s travels to nowhere in particular through the 1950’s American midwest. While traveling in search of his runaway brother Davy, Land comments on the nature of miracles and their force in a society that has lost understanding of them: “They say miracles change you, but ignoring miracles can change you too.” Tales of cowboys and western themes dominate the landscape. Peace Like a River is an excellent tale for those looking to return to a simpler time.


Regarded as one of the greatest pillars of science fiction, Frank Herbert’s Dune will take you to a realm beyond imagination. Follow Paul Atreides and his adventure on the desert planet of Arrakis. Learn of the planet’s peoples, customs, and strange beasts, and watch Atreides as he grows up and adapts to the challenges of a desert planet where danger is always present. “Survival,” Atreides comments, “is being able to swim in strange waters.” Washington Post commented that Herbert paints an alien society “more complete and detailed than any other author in the field has managed.” Once you start, you’ll have a hard time putting this one down.


A classic of American literature, Walden is the story of Henry David Thoreau’s time in the great outdoors. Building his house at Walden Pond, Thoreau spent two years withdrawn from society and recorded his experiences in this book. Tucked away deep in the Massachusetts woods in 1845, Thoreau had time to consider many things we overlook in our busy lives. A calm novel, the book contains social commentary and descriptions of the beautiful woods surrounding him. Books allow us the opportunity to speak with some of humanity’s greatest minds, and this great mind reminds us that it is important to reflect and enjoy nature in an increasingly fast-paced world.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is Milan Kundera’s brilliant piece on the nature of humans and love. The novel follows several characters, and their stories as some search for love and others have love thrust upon them. Kundera illustrates that some people are light while others are heavy—not physically, but rather in spirit. As the characters have varying “lightness of being,” they sometimes find serious meaning in things that other characters find to be quite trivial. This lightness can lead to beautiful romances and tragic heartbreak. This one is a page-turner; it is deeply engaging and may even have you reflecting on romantic situations in your own life.

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