Help Us Create the Top 10 Beach Reads Countdown

What's your favorite beach read of all time? Tell us in a comment, and we might feature you on Read It Forward in our Reader Spotlight!

We asked, “what are you reading now?” and we got 2,700 recommendations! So we thought who better to create the Top 10 Best Beach Reads countdown than you, members of the Read It Forward community.

We also want to know: what makes a great summer read? Is it a guilty pleasure you save for vacation? The book everybody’s talking about? A mystery? A romance? A mass market paperback you can toss in the sand?

You recommend, we listen! Check out Part One and Part Two of our Top 10 Beach Reads Countdown. A terrific summer reading list, by RIFers, for RIFers.

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About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Kate_at_RIF

    I love reading comedic memoirs. I think because it’s the story of someone else’s life documented in their hilarious voice. Everything from Bossypants, to Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) to a book on the History of SNL (Live from New York). Maybe beach time/relaxing time means laughing time?

    • I love those, too. Have you read Jonathan Ames? David Sedaris?

      • Kate_at_RIF

        David Sedaris for sure. Not Jonathan Ames – I’ll have to add to my list!

  • I am looking forward to reading Dan Brown’s newest. But right now I am reading “Edison and the age of electricity and enjoying it.

    My all time favorite read is Pat Conroy’s “Prince of Tides,” it just was such a incredible read. I read it in the summer time also!

    • I loved Prince of Tides, too. I might have to bust it out this summer also.

      • Me too, me too! I read THE PRINCE OF TIDES and A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY both in one summer, and now they’re connected in my mind (funny how that happens sometimes….).

  • I love romance novels and my most recent favorite is The Best Man by Kristan Higgins. This book is set in the Finger Lakes Wine Country which is within an hour of where I live so I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and recognizing places mentioned in the book.

    • It’s so fun reading a book set where you live, isn’t it? Let us know what you think once you’ve read it.

    • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

      Oh, I’ve read this one, too! I think any of Kristan Higgins is a sure bet. Her books are all full of great romance, lots of laughs, heart touching moments and happy endings. What I like also is that her characters are so down to earth. She does a good job describing towns too from your comment. 🙂

  • Carla

    I am a huge historical fiction fan. So my summer reads will include some historical fiction. I’ll probably also do a bit of of those re-reads will be The Light Between Oceans.

  • I want to re-read Anne Rice’s “The Witching Hour.” It has some wonderful historical info about New Orleans. “The Great Gatsby” is also on my TBR list.

  • Looking forward to reading Paris by Edward Rutherfurd on my beach vacation

  • Liz

    Because summer and lounging around at the beach always reminds me of being a kid I would say The Little Friend by Donna Tartt would be a perfect beach read. The story features a young girl during a long ago summer trying to uncover the facts behind the mysterious death of her older brother. Tartt’s ability to lay out the story through the eyes of a young girl Harriett is so grabbing that it’s hard not to hear the crickets and remember the ache of a sunburn earned on a long summer day of your own youth. The incredible draw of the unexplainable death of her older brother Robin may not bring any memories of childhood back but it will pull you into this wonderful novel.

  • I absolutely loved The End Of Your Life Book Club. This was the best book I read this year. The relationship between mother and son was touching.

  • Holly

    Right now I am reading The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton and Big Sky River by Linda Lael Miller. The Forgotten Garden is EXCELLENT!!!! The story line is involved but not so detailed that it gets boring. THe characters are fascinating and it is written so so well. Big Sky River is an easier read but it is a wonderful story. I always enjoy LLM books, great settings and characters which often times include rugged good looking cowboys and amazing families…whats not to like!

  • Susan R

    I enjoy reading Southern Fiction in the summer – Dorthea Benton Frank, Mary Kaye Andrews, Patti Callahan Henry and Mary Alice Monroe are all at the top of my list. But my very favorite beach read is Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. i rarely re-read a book but this is one that I read every summer!

    • Southern Fiction is a great choice. Do you get something different out of it every time you reread THE PRINCE OF TIDES?

  • carol carolan

    The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber…true crime at it’s best…reviews have compared it to In Cold Blood!!!

    • I will check it out, thanks Carol! Loved IN COLD BLOOD.

    • techeditor

      I saw that story on 60 Minutes. I had it on my wishlist, then removed it. Guess I should put it back.

  • I’m in the middle of “Rush” by Eve Silver (9780062192134), which is book #1 in The Game series, and I can hardly put it down. Excellent YA with all kinds of crazy adventure. If you take this one to the beach (after it pubs on June 11), be sure that you take sunblock because once you get lost in this book, you won’t notice how time will fly by.

  • Donna Croft Christy

    Loved Gone Girl ! It will keep you guessing up to the very end ! My all time favorite books for the beach are either by Carl Hiaasen ( Double Whammy, Native Tongue, Sick Puppy…) as they are all set in Florida or Mary Kaye Andrews which are all set at the beach – loved every one of them – Savannah Blues , Hissy Fit, Deep Dish….)

  • ceblain

    For summer beach reads, I usually like to read something like Nicholas Sparks. Last year I read Safe Haven, and loved it. There are so many from which to choose but House at Riverton by Kate Morton was another favorite. With so many great authors out there it doesn’t seem possible to have just one book with so many genres that you can choose from. For this summer’s reading I am going to re read Gretchen Archer’s Double Whammy again, as I just loved the casino related storyline and how intelligent the writing was. I just began what I am sure is going to be a top hit as well, called The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller. This book will be my Memorial Day weekend read and it looks very promising to be a lovely start of summer books.

  • SusanR

    I just finished an ARC of THE SUMMER GIRLS by Mary Alice Monroe due out June 25. This is the PERFECT book to read at the beach this summer. It takes place at Sullivan’s Island and makes me want to pack up and take a trip to the beach!

  • Mayrlene

    Castle Cay by Lee Hanson. The author keeps you guessing till the very end of the mystery.

  • lzarett

    There are so many really special books out there, some more well-known than others. The following reading list are some of my all time favorite books, and although summer is always a great time to relax with a good book, regardless of the season, these books are fantastic.

    Veil of Roses and its sequel Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald: Tamila is one of the nicest characters. She will touch your heart;

    Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: This is an engaging story that will stay with you. A woman and her granddaughter search to find out the truth about her grandmother’s past. As a small child the grandmother’s traveling companion left her hidden on a ship with the promise that she would return, but she never does return. The small girl is left to travel alone.

    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman: This is a charming story with a quirky cast of characters. Everyone should have a great-aunt like Tootie Caldwell;

    How High the Moon by Sandra Kring: Teaspoon and Teddy are a memorable pair. Teddy, Teaspooon’s mother’s boyfriend, is a character you will never forget;

    Garden Spells and The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen: These are magical stories with substance. I normally don’t read books like this, but I am so glad that I did;

    Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore: This is a great story with a little mystery;

    Recipes for a Perfect Marriage by Morag Prunty: I found this book accidentally and it has become one of my favorites. Tressa Nolan marries late in life and begins to question her decision to marry a kindly building super. She is desperate to emulate her grandparents’ marriage. While putting her grandmother’s recipes into a cookbook, she discovers that maybe her grandmother’s marriage was not exactly what she thought it was;

    Fortune is a Woman by Elizabeth Adler: This is an older book, but one I highly recommend reading. It is a story about friendship;

    Women of Silk and its sequel Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama: Gail Tsukiyama is such an engaging writer. This is the story of a young girl sent to work in a silk factory;

    Love Walked In and its sequel Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos: Warning…I had to read at least half of this short book (Love Walked In) before I fell in love with it. Do not give up on it. Cornelia Brown is a great character. The sequel is excellent from the start;

    The Big Stone Gap series by Adriana Trigiani: This series is made up of four short books, but with the same quirky, eccentric characters. Each book tells a charming story. You won’t want these books to end;

    I just finished Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman. Parts of the book are very enjoyable, and although it is a good summer read, I did not connect with it as I did with her first novel Saving CeeCee Honeycut.

    I am almost finished with And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I am loving it, but it is quite sad in parts. He is an amazing writer. If it is not on your list already, put it at the very top.

  • bean

    I would have to say the statistical probability of love at first sight by jennifer E. Smith because it is a quick read and a cute read or anything by nicholas sparks or marie lu. 🙂

  • lgnurse2

    Summer is a time for fun and adventure. Sacrifice of the Season by Daryl Parker draws you in with the story of a young boy whose family moves from the city to the country when his father buys an iron ore mine. But the small town of Cobbs is not what one would expect. It holds secrets and fears. The young boy, Joseph, begins seeing odd creatures and shadows that disappear quickly, he meets Luccius, an old slave who has his own secrets, then his young sister goes missing and Joseph finds the townspeople know why but they won’t say. And he learns that there is a time coming when no one will be safe and only he can stop it from happening. Faieries and Watchers, missing children, battles between good and evil; all combine to keep you in suspense as this wonderful tale unfolds.
    Daryl Parker writes with a sharp imagination and creates not just a great story but intriguing characters that keep you wanting to know more about them. Sacrifice of the Season is one of those books you don’t want to put down and you hate to see the story come to an end. (Fortunately for us, Sacrifice of the Season is the first in a series Mr. Parker is writing, so we will get to see more of these wonderful characters. Maybe we will get to find out some of the answers to the mysteries found in Sacrifice of the Season.)

  • Lisa Miller


  • Jennifer Yawson

    i mostly read book from Lois Duncan, my last book i read was Killing Mr. Griffin. but this summer i read The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. and now i am reading Beautiful Creatures and Never Fall Down.

  • techeditor

    I thought I already commented here. I’m not sure. But I just finished a book last night that is the best book I’ve read so far this summer. I won an ARC of CARTWHEEL by Jennifer DuBois, which I won from Random House ( recently. I hadn’t read anything by her before.
    It’s not a book for everyone. Some readers prefer easy reads, plot-driven novels. But if you prefer literary novels with plot, a lot of character examination, and really great dialogs, pick this one up when it comes out this fall, I believe in September.
    So I guess you can’t call a September book a summer book. It was for me, though.

  • beachloverlover

    Each summer I usually read a book that I just keep on recommending to others:
    This summer it is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and Fallen Land by Patricj Flanery.
    But my best overall summer read I would say is Shogun by James Clavell

  • Sandy Steckler

    I read a lot, I mean a lot!! I read The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls and loved it. Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler and Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck were great too. I read a lot of YA books so anything by Colleen Hoover, Lauren Oliver, Jordan Sonnenblick, Lois Lowry and Jessica Warman are top reads for me.

  • John Scherber

    May I also suggest Murder in Mexico, my series of twelve
    mysteries set in and around the upscale expat colony of San Miguel de Allende.
    Artist Paul Zacher is drawn into crime investigation because ‘he might see
    things differently.’ Maybe it’s time for the rich humanity of Mexico to show
    through all the narco headlines! Ready for the real Mexico, beyond the phony
    news reports? Take a look at this suspenseful and often funny series, available
    in Print, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBook in the Apple Store. Start with ‘Twenty
    Centavos’ by trying a sample on my website.

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