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Find more To Beach Their Own
Booklist has long believed that the definition of a beach read is as infinite as the ocean, meaning it’s not actually infinite, but it is broad enough to accommodate any readers’ tastes, as long as the book is engrossing, page-turning, and a little escapist in its own way. Now our funky list of beach reads for all tastes is an annual tradition, so pull up a hammock and take in this year’s suggestions.
Crimes of Chutzpah
After a year away from the general public, some of our people skills may be a little rusty. These stories of fraudulent mediums in Lincoln’s White House, charming thieves, and Single White Female-ing might not be precisely instructive, but they will perhaps make us feel not so bad about being alone.
Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World’s Most Notorious Jewel Thief. By Doris Payne and Zelda Lockhart. 2019. Amistad, $16.99 (9780062918000).
The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch. By Miles Harvey. 2020. Little, Brown, $29 (9780316463591).
The Residence. By Andrew Pyper. 2020. Gallery, $17.99 (9781982147365).
Who Is Maud Dixon? By Alexandra Andrews. 2021. Little, Brown, $28 (9780316500319).
A good domestic drama has complicated relationships and secrets and outrageous twists. These books turn the drama up to eleven, from fiction that crosses genre lines into sf and horror territory to memoirs in which some new information or a fresh perspective causes each author to reevaluate her life.
The Echo Wife. By Sarah Gailey. 2021. Tor, $24.99 (9781250174666).
Good Neighbors. By Sarah Langan. 2021. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (9781250195753).
Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love. By Dani Shapiro. 2019. Knopf, $16.95 (9780525434030).
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me. By Adrienne Brodeur. 2019. HMH, $16.99 (9780358361329).
Oppressively Open Spaces
So, you’ve been cooped up for months and months and months, and you’d like a little more space. But sometimes the biggest spaces can feel small, especially when there is danger afoot, as demonstrated here in two books about whales (only one is about real whales, though), an abandoned summer camp (not creepy at all!), and a grassy sea that can only be traversed with magic.
Escaping Exodus. By Nicky Drayden. 2019. Harper Voyager, $15.99 (9780062867735).
Fake Like Me. By Barbara Bourland. 2019. Grand Central, $28 (9781538759516).
Fathoms: The World in the Whale. By Rebecca Giggs. 2020. Simon & Schuster, $27.99 (9781982120696).
The Forever Sea. By Joshua Phillip Johnson. 2021. DAW, $27 (9780756417031).
People. . .People Who Read People
Tabloids are a beach-bag mainstay, but they also come in book form, like these behind-the-scenes movie tell-alls, a gossip-fueled tea-fest, a novel written by a former assistant to Carrie Fisher, and a memoir about making it in show biz.
Alright, Alright, Alright: An Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. By Melissa Maerz. 2020. Harper, $26.99 (9780062908506).
Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! The Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time. By Stephen Rebello. 2020. Penguin, $17 (9780143133506).
Name Drop: The Really Good Celebrity Stories I Usually Only Tell at Happy Hour. By Ross Mathews. 2020. Atria, $16.99 (9781982116491).
A Star is Bored. By Byron Lane. 2020. Holt, $26.99 (9781250266491).
Survival of the Thickest. By Michelle Buteau. 2020. Gallery, $27 (9781982122584).
Remember Live Music? (weeping emoji)
The danger and fellowship of the mosh pit, the ringing in your ears when you stand too close to the amp, the absolute ascension of your soul when the first guitar chord hits, nothing can replace the experience of a raucous live show. But these books are the next-best thing—from a tribute to a classic hip-hop group to a fake relationship with a rock star to a stage dive into the heavy metal scene of the 1980s to a revolutionary act of live music in a world that insists on the safety of VR.
Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest. By Hanif Abdurraqib. 2019. Univ. of Texas, paper, $16.95 (9781477316481).
Hate Crush. By Angelina M. Lopez. 2020. Carina, $8.99 (9781335459503).
Nöthin’ but a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the ‘80s Hard Rock Explosion. By Tom Beaujour and Richard Bienstock. 2021. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (9781250195753).
A Song for a New Day. By Sarah Pinkser. 2019. Berkley, $17 (9781984802583).
We Love Chicago
Lake Shore Drive, Da Bears, Sue the T-Rex, Chance the Rapper, Paczi Day, calling dibs on a parking space with a lawn chair, and, of course, Booklist: just a few things that make Chicago great. For further evidence, see these books that explore the many facets of the Windy City, from the Great Fire to magic and horror in the Latinx community, an essential PI series, the mind-blowing power of young poets, race relations during two pivotal periods, and a novel about the insistence of desire over convention.
Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City. By Carl Smith. 2020. Grove, $28 (9780802148100).
Children of Chicago. By Cynthia Pelayo. 2021. Polis/Agora, $26 (9781951709204).
Dead Land. By Sara Paretsky. 2020. 304p. Morrow, $28.99 (9780062435927).
The End of Chiraq: A Literary Mixtape. Ed. by Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval. 2018. Northwestern Univ., $20 (9780810137189).
Grant Park. By Leonard Pitts. 2015. Bolden, $16 (9781572842014).
Right after the Weather. By Carol Anshaw. 2019. Atria, $17 (9781476747804).
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