For a lot of us, the beach conjures up an image of not only sand and sea, but also of sunhats, music blaring on a portable speaker and tanning with a book. Reading on the beach is one of the most relaxing indulgences and a foolproof way to enjoy your vacation time; an added bit of escape. Even if you don’t find yourself traveling or spending weekends away, the rising temperatures outside make curling up with a good book in a cool room a great way to beat the mid-day heat.

We’ve compiled some of our favorite books into one beach reading list, and you can always refer to our earlier picks you might have missed for more!

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Sisterhood is a bond understood only by those who share it. It has its ups and downs, but it is ultimately unbreakable. What could possibly happen to shake the bond between previously inseparable sisters? Delve into the two girls’ psyches as they each try to understand the ramifications of an accident that left them not on speaking terms and changed their lives forever.

Room by Emma Donoghue
Told from the perspective of a five-year-old who’s never seen anything but the four walls in which he was born, this story is all the more gripping. Kidnapped and locked up in a woodshed, the boy’s mother, “Ma”, eventually gives birth to him and has only him for company. From their daily routines to their friends in the shed, Jack tells us about it all. Then Ma and Jack manage to escape, and the story really begins. How do you recover from something like that? How do you explain to Jack the world is so much bigger than a woodshed? It is emotional, heart-wrenching and unbelievable all at once.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka. J. K. Rowling)
J.K. Rowling ventures into mystery fiction under this pseudonym but doesn’t disappoint. Introducing Private Investigator Cormoran Strike, who is endearing in his own way, the book presents us with a murder case and so many suspects and circumstances. A model falls to her death from her London apartment and it’s up to PI Strike to discover who really did it. Taking you across London and back to solve the murder like any mystery novel should, this book is gripping and enjoyable, but not too heavy – the perfect combination for a beach book.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
She disappears and he looks like the prime suspect. A husband who was abusive, careless and closer to his sister than to her, one who it seems had plenty of motives. Or did he? Expertly told from various perspectives and alternating between past and present, this book takes mystery and relationship fiction to a whole new level. You think you have the ending figured out? You’re wrong. A thriller by all means, Gone Girl is storytelling at its best. Even if you’ve seen the Ben Affleck movie you should still give the book a try, to capture the written details of the drama that were dropped in the film.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This is a long-loved classic, one that has been adapted time and again into movies, TV shows and even other books. Primarily, it is a tale of revenge, but it is also a story of raw emotions running deep. Though a large volume originally published as a series of short stories, The Count of Monte Cristo is a page-turner that will keep you at the edge of your seat. It is guaranteed to keep you company through your summer days. French speakers can also opt to read it in its original French.

In case you missed them:

  • Here’s a list for books about turning your life around.
  • Find books about strong women here.
  • The best Arabic reads to dive into are here.
  • Escape into light romantic reads with this list.