4 beach read lists for your summer vacation

Margate Crowds
1st July 1964: Bank Holiday crowds relaxing on the beach at Margate, Kent

I am heading to the beach for two weeks and need to choose what books to pack in my luggage.

I am bringing "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson, "How Fiction Works" by James Woods, and "An Officer and a Spy" by Robert Harris.

I need one more.

For inspiration, I checked out various "Beach Read" lists.

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GQ suggests leaving the Piketty at home and picking up one of 20 "fool-proof, cast iron, sun cream-smudged, guaranteed page turners" including "The Last Grain Race" by Eric Newby.

Newby's early work is the filament in the lightbulb that lit up travel writing, pioneering the sort of self-deprecating comedy that Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, and Will Ferguson trade on. His first book charts his time aboard a ship in the last commercial sailing fleet running grain from Europe to Australia. The boat ended up as a restaurant in Philadelphia. He ended up as one of this century's greatest authors.

Head House books in Philadelphia had a brief 3-book list that includes "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers" by Tom Rachman:

By the author of The Imperfectionists, Rachman has crafted a brilliant story that insightfully critiques the perils of our perhaps too-connected completely digitized world. He does this by following Tooly Zylerberg, an unconventional young woman traveling the globe to all the great cities desperately trying to make sense of her disturbing,convoluted, ​and largely ​unknown past. A keenly observed, suspenseful story with that keeps one thoroughly engaged until the book is devoured.

Elle's Beach Read list suggests books from around the globe. Including a book I love, "The Last Life" by Claire Messud.

The Last Life is a coming of age story that’s not to be missed. It follows the summer frolic of a teenage girl named Sagesse LaBasse, whose French-Algerian family owns a hotel on the coast of the Mediterranean. Messud also goes back two generations to cover her grandparents’ exile from Algiers during political turmoil in the 1950s, making this a more complicated endeavor than most books with teen protagonists.

Who better to look to for a beach read list than Coastal Living? The book that leaps out at me from the list was "Delancey" by Molly Wizenberg:

You will cheer for Wizenberg, writer of the popular food blog Orangette, and her husband as they navigate the exciting and some-times treacherous task of opening a Seattle pizza shop—and try to build a marriage, too, in this honest, sprightly memoir.