10 books to read by the pool this summer

The summer is a perfect time to catch up on that incredibly long reading list you’ve built up over the year, or even just explore some new books to enjoy by the beach or poolside. Here are some summery reads to enjoy this break!


“Water Shall Refuse Them” by Lucie McKnight Hardy – set during a heat wave in Wales, this book balances horror with a summery ‘70s twist as the protagonist, Nif, tries to escape her family’s grief by cobbling together her own type of witchcraft while falling in love.


“In Watermelon Sugar” by Richard Brautigan – If you’re still in love with Harry Styles’ hit song, try reading the book that inspired the title! Featuring a post-apocalyptic world that discusses the countercultural movement of the ‘60s, the setting is a psychedelic commune where everything is made of watermelon sugar and nothing is as it seems. If you want a quick, baffling read, this one’s for you.


“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn – Flynn’s thriller to end all thrillers follows the story of Amy Dunne’s mysterious disappearance while her husband Nick tries to piece together and pick up the pieces of what Amy has left behind. This novel moves at a breakneck pace and it’s a perfect read to fly through.


“Breakfast At Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote – Everyone knows and loves Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly (and Deep Blue Something’s 1995 hit song sharing the book’s title). Capote’s novella that inspired this cultural phenomenon is a breezy summer read that has all the luxury and beauty anyone could hope for. Pair this with an eggs benedict and a mimosa for peak “that girl” vibes.


“House of Hollow” by Krystal Sutherland – By far one of the most interesting horror books I’ve ever encountered, featuring a lot of creepy flower imagery. The story follows Iris and her attempt to uncover where her missing sister has gone. At the same time, she tries to remember where she and her two sisters disappeared to when they were children that changed them forever. Though it’s set in the cooler climates of London, this book will definitely make for a quick and engaging read.


“Worlds In Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth” by Patrick Nunn – If nonfiction is more your speed while class is out, try this work! Nunn discusses the science behind underwater cities (including Atlantis), while also talking about what submerged cities may look like as we grapple with climate change. If you’re interested in an engaging read that dissects mythology with science alongside an edge of realism, this might be a good fit for your beachside reading.


“Luster” by Raven Leilani – At once a funny yet serious look at stumbling through your 20s, race relations and romance, Leilani’s novel follows the protagonist, Edie, trying to navigate a new relationship with a white married man. With beautifully written prose, a sizzling romance and a variety of important discussions on impactful issues, this book has a little something for everyone.


“An American Sunrise: Poems” by Joy Harjo – Something about the warmth of a summer evening puts me in the mood for reading poetry! Current Poet Laureate Joy Harjo has a beautiful voice that discusses the self, imperialism, colonization and the effects of all of these on indigenous people. For those who want to learn while they enjoy art, Harjo’s poetry is a wonderful place to begin. 


“The Girls” by Emma Cline – A cult, ‘60s haze, and a sinister motive underneath, Cline’s novel follows one girl’s induction and time within a “family” based on that of Charles Manson. With an eerie tone and slow-moving summer days, those looking for summer vibes tinged with some helter-skelter horror, this might be worth looking into.


“Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel García Márquez – A classic short novella translated from the Spanish version, this book is told from various points of view as members of a town try to recall the details of the murder of one Santiago Nasar and the circumstances around which his death occurred. Full of flowers, beautiful descriptions and well-written discussion of machismo and its consequences, this quick read is sure to have you hooked.

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