The Best Beach Reads Of 2017

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
Some of us are beach people. Others are beach reads people. While your friends play frisbee or thrash about in the waves, you're happiest sprawled out on a towel, propped up on your elbows, completely entranced by a book.
Choosing the best beach read is a delicate art. First, you must consider the tone and the subject matter. Do you want to rush through an addictive thriller, or devote a chunk of reading time to Crime and Punishment? Then, there are more material concerns. Do you really want to lug a 500-page hardcover along with all your beach supplies? Or ruin an expensive book with water and sand?
Everyone's idea of fun is different, and so are our ideas of beach reads. So, we've chosen a beach read to suit every desire. While most of the books on this list are from this year, we've snuck in a few tired, true, and everlasting beach reads for your reading pleasure.
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Courtesy of Penguin Press
If you’re aching to relive your college years

The Idiot by Elif Batuman (2017)

Over the course of her first year at Harvard, Selin scrambles through heady coursework, has deep and aimless conversations with friends, and is consumed by endless existential quandaries. Most of the novel focuses on Selin's semi-romance with Ivan, an evasive senior studying mathematics. It's 1995, so Selin and Ivan's "romance" is carried out through a strange new technology: Email.

Odds are, Selin's serious, curious and rambling mind will remind you of your younger self, in the best way.
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Courtesy of Lenny Books
If you have a poetic sensibility and/or are a Lena Dunham groupie

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (2017)

From Lenny, Lena Dunham's imprint at Random House, comes Sour Heart, a collection of seven stories narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants. Originally a poet, Zhang brings sparkling sentences to these stories of family, history, and makin' it in Flushing, Queens.
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Courtesy of HarperCollins
If you want to revel in the heart’s strange contortions

Made for Love by Alissa Nutting (2017)

After leaving her tech-mogul husband, Hazel moves into a senior home with her father and his lifelike sex doll, Diane. For years, Hazel had been stuck on her husband's secluded compound at Gogol Industries, a Google-esque company intent on integrating technology in daily life. As Hazel acclimates to her new environment, her husband, Byron, becomes more intent on winning her back — and resorts to sinister methods to do so.

This is the raunchy, absurd, intelligent romp you've been looking for.
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Courtesy of HarperCollins
If you've been shaken by The Handmaid’s Tale

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch (2017)

The surface of the earth is irrevocably scorched. Society's remaining elite orbit the earth aboard the CIEL, a spaceship slowly draining the few remaining resources. On the ground, roving populations struggle to survive. As a result of nuclear fallout and changing atmospheric conditions, people on CIEL and on the earth's bodies have changed, rendering them incapable of fertility. Humanity's only hope is in Joan, a child warrior who's able to communicate with the earth and make things heal. Like Atwood, Yuknavitch has written a feminist dystopia that examines women's bodies in fascinating ways.
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Courtesy of W. W. Norton
If you’re addicted to Starz’ American Gods

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (2017)

Many of Neil Gaiman's novels incorporate elements of mythology, like his novel American Gods, an exhilarating take of new gods and old gods struggling to make it in America. In Norse Mythology, the author ventures to the source of his inspiration: The Norse tales themselves. After each classic myth in Norse Mythology passes through the Gaiman Charm Machine, it emerges sharp, witty, and utterly new.
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If you want to be swept away

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

20 years after her debut novel was published to critical acclaim, Roy is finally back with a second novel, expected to be equally epic. In The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Roy weave together the lives of characters set throughout India, from the mountains of Kashmir to the alleys of New Delhi.
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Courtesy of Scribner
If you want a new American classic

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Warn

Move over, Faulkner. Here's the new epic novel of family bonds in the American South. When her children's father is finally released from prison, Leonie and her kids drive through Mississippi to the State Penitentiary. But the road trip becomes an odyssey when the spirit of a dead inmate, who carries the history of the South with him, joins them in the car. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a journey through America's uglier truths.
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Courtesy of Picador
If you want to get ahead on a book-to-film adaptation

Call My By Your Name by Andre Aciman (2007)

On the Italian Riviera, a budding teenager discovers lust, love, and the aches of the heart when his family hosts a 24-year-old American scholar at their villa. With its descriptions of long Mediterranean days and even longer nights, Call Me By Your Name reeks of summer.

The gorgeous film adaptation, starring Armie Hammer, got rave reviews at Sundance. It's set to hit cinemas on November 24, 2017, so be sure to read the book by then.
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If you’re a pop culture junkie

All The Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen To Be Famous Strangers by Alana Massey (2017)

We define who we are by what we like. In this collection of essays, Massey takes an incisive look to the pop culture figures who defined her own sense of self. With essays on violence against women, body image, and romance, this collection especially focuses on the way women are affected by the pop culture machine. Get ready to hear the "Winona vs. Gwyneth" argument verbalised like never before.
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If you’re helplessly plugged in

Startup by Doree Shafrir (2017)

Move over, Silicon Valley. Shafrir's satirical novel is set in the New York tech scene, where a cast of characters are swept into the rise (and viral fall) of a mindfulness app called TakeOff. A tech writer herself, Shafrir makes incisive, astute, and all too real observations on the idiosyncrasies of the industry. This a fun, breezy, utterly millennial read.
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Courtesy of Riverhead
If you wish you could laugh at your family more

Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood (2017)

After an unexpected series of financial setbacks, the poet Patricia Lockwood and her husband move back into her childhood home. Very early on, we see Lockwood’s family is something extraordinary. For one, her father is a married Catholic priest who lounges in boxers and plays electric guitar. Though she’s used to her crazy family, her husband isn’t — so part of Priestdaddy’s charm is watching Lockwood try to create a space of “normalcy” amidst her chaotic and hilarious relatives.
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Lee Boudreaux Books
If you're just starting out

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak (2017)

After graduating from Yale in 2008, Julia and Evan move to New York City to begin their bright life together. After Evan starts working a hedge fund, he's pulled into a secret and glamorous world. Bored at her nonprofit job, Julia feels left out from Evan's life. But it's 2008, so Julia shouldn't worry too much: Everything's about to come crashing once the financial crisis hits.
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If you wished your big city was more like a small town

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (2017)

In nine linked stories, Strout peers into the lives of characters in small town America. By the end, the stories have interconnected to form a wholly heartening patchwork. These struggling outcasts all get a shot at redemption. Strout reminds us that there’s always the potential for grace, for love, and for connection.
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If you want to stay up all night reading

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (2016)

A small plane leaving Martha's Vineyard crashes. There are two survivors: A young boy, and the painter who miraculously swims amidst shark-infested Atlantic water and carries them both to safety. Delving into the stories of each passenger aboard the plane, Before the Fall is a story of grief, suspense and bravery. It'll have you hooked.
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Courtesy of FSG
If you're tired of online dating

The Answers by Catherine Lacey (2017)

Mary's found a way to solve her financial issues. As part of his "Girlfriend Experiment," famous actor Kurt Sky's Intimacy Team assigns different roles to the many different women in his life, including Anger Girlfriend, Intellectual Girlfriend, and Maternal Girlfriend. Mary's cast to play the part of "Emotional Girlfriend," which has its own set of challenges.
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Courtesy of HarperCollins
If you're searching for a smart literary thriller

The Destroyers by Christopher Bollen (2017)

After his father disinherits him, Ian Bledsoe's only hope is to visit his wealthy childhood friend, Charlie, and ask for help. After Ian arrives to Charlie's island paradise in Patmos, Greece, Charlie's all too eager to lend a hand. But while money can buy luxury, Ian soon finds that Charlie's wealth comes with a few (dangerous) strings attached. Here's the perfect literary thriller set under the Grecian sun.
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Courtesy of Knopf
If your "home friends" are your best friends

From Rockaway by Jill Eisenstadt (2017)

Before Alex manages to get into a posh New England college, her life consisted of lifeguarding and drinking beer with her friends on the beach in Rockaway, New York. After a year of school, Alex returns for summer vacation with her old gang with an utterly new perspective. In this bleak '80s landscape, Alex realises her friends aren't ever going to escape "Rotaway" — will she?
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Courtesy of Simon & Schuster
If you love mysteries with "girl" in the title

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka (2017)

When high schooler Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, three peers in her Colorado town must look inward to piece together what happened.

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