Whether you’re hitting the beach for a weekend or taking a longer sojourn to somewhere far away, chances are you’re taking advantage of the summer sun and heading on a break sometime in the next few months. My absolute favorite thing about vacation is digging into the big stack of books that has been patiently waiting for my attention, but it’s not always the most practical in terms of packing. With that in mind, our book club has whittled down a list of 10 books that we think you absolutely must load onto your e-reader this summer: a veritable library of beach reads and mental escapes to have at the ready.
The Engagements, J. Courtney Sullivan
Sullivan tells four different stories that all circle around Frances Gerety’s 1947 slogan for De Beers: “A Diamond is Forever.” Inevitably, they all weave together but keep you spellbound along the way.
Eve in Hollywood, Amor Towles
This e-book-only special is a collection of six short stories that follow Evelyn Ross, one of Towles’s main characters from his premier title, Rules of Civility. I will confess: This is my most anticipated book this summer. Rules of Civility was an absolutely gorgeous read, and I can’t wait to see what Eve has gotten herself up to . . . . If you missed out on Rules when it first came out, read that before you read this!
A Hundred Summers, Beatriz Williams
In this Gatsby-era tale of lost love and betrayals, Williams keeps you entranced as she takes you on the journey of Lily Dane and her summers on the coast of Rhode Island. The story bounces back and forth between Lily’s present-day and the decisions that led up to it, and everything connects in the end in a figurative and literal tempest.
The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
An absolutely captivating story woven through six friends who meet at summer camp, and the fallout of growing up and dealing with life outside the safety net of cabin friendships.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
If you’re not in the mood for fiction, check out Mindy Kaling’s pitch-perfect memoir/essay collection (not a new release this year, but absolutely not to be missed). Laugh-out-loud funny and all too relatable, it’s perfect read for a summer break. As Kaling herself says in the opener, “This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.”
Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
Atkinson’s newest novel tells the tale of a woman who continuously dies only to be born again, over and over. This cycle sees the protagonist through two world wars and into the 1960s.
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
If you skipped this when it came out last winter, catch up now! This story of two people who have absolutely nothing in common but nonetheless (spoiler alert!) fall head over heels for each other shouldn’t be missed. One of our editors couldn’t put it down, but if you’re afraid of a good cry, be wary.
Sisterland, Curtis Sittenfeld
The latest novel from Sittenfeld (Prep, American Wife) takes on twin sisters with a touch of ESP and a natural disaster on the horizon. Sittenfeld treads just lightly enough on the line of believability to make you root for all involved.
TransAtlantic, Colum McCann
McCann weaves together three actual moments in history, and tells fascinating fictionalizations of different transatlantic crossings to Ireland. Absolutely perfect if you couldn’t put down Let the Great World Spin.
The Woman Upstairs, Claire Messud
If you’re in the mood for a Hitchcock-perfect tale, check out Messud’s latest release: a tale of a woman who thought she’d settled for a quiet life as a third-grade teacher but gets involved in much more.
We’re not going to have a monthly book-club party this summer, or a select for July or August, but we’ll share our favorite finds as the season goes along so you can make sure you’ve got a perfect read for your next break. Don’t forget to let us know if you’ve got a book that you’ve been dying to read this summer; we love hearing what’s on your shelves (or in your totes!).
Paulie Dibner is the assistant managing editor of Martha Stewart Living. She has perfected her oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie, but is on the hunt for a puff-pastry recipe to knock her socks off. Follow her on Instagram @matinauxsaules.