Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Books for the Beach

Summer means vacations with plenty of time for reading on the beach, on a plane or on the porch. To help you decide on a summer reading list, NPR's Susan Stamberg talks with independent booksellers across the country and gets their summer reading suggestions.

Rona Brinlee, The Book Mark: Atlantic City, Florida

The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux (Pub: Alfred A. Knopf). Brinlee tells Stamberg, "It's got all the elements of good southern literature: beautiful language, amazingly interesting characters and a strong sense of place and that redemption at the end that's so important."

Waiting for April by Scott Morris (Pub: Algonquin Books). A recounting of the tale of Sanders Royce Collier, who enters the town of Citrus in the Florida panhandle and changes everyone. Brinlee says, "It's the classic American tale where [Collier] gets to reinvent himself. He makes himself into somebody who he isn't."

Other than these titles, Brinlee also suggests:

Reunion by Alan Lightman (Pub: Pantheon Books).

The Light of Day by Graham Swift (Pub: Alfred A. Knopf).

The Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini (Pub: Riverhead Books).

The Wife by Meg Walitzer (Pub: Scribner).

Jim Harris, Prairie Lights: Iowa City, Iowa

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford (Pub: Scribner). Jarhead, Swofford's memoir of the first Gulf War, says Harris, is, "As honest as it can be, it has the sounds and the tastes of the desert and what it's like being a Marine."

Harris also suggests:

The Cutting Room by Lousie Welch (Pub: Canongate Books).

Black and Blue by Ian Rankin (Pub: G. K. Hall & Company).

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (Pub: W. W. Norton & Company).

The Teammates by David Halberstam (Pub: Hyperion).

Lucia Silva, Manager, Portrait of a Bookstore: Studio City, California:

The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimel (Pub: Anchor Books). Solace is, "Strange in both its lyrical prose and in the directions of its story and the strength of its characters," says Silva, "but it reads like a 'can't stop reading' novel." She says that The Solace of Leaving Early contains, "Some of the fullest characters that I've read in a long time."

The Odes: New Translations by Contemporary Poets by J.D. McClatchy, editor. (Pub: Princeton University Press). "I think it's perfect for summer reading because it's these little bits and pieces on a page or two," says Silva, describing the new translation of Horace's work.

The Pharmacist's Mate: A Story of Birth, Death, Guitars and Goldfish by Amy Fusselmen (Pub: McSweeney's Books).

Silva also recommends:

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller (Pub: Random House).

The Paris Review Book Edited by the editors of the Paris Review. Introduction by George Plimpton. (Pub: Picador).

Getting Mother's Body by Suzan Lori-Parks (Pub: Random House).

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Susan Stamberg
Nationally renowned broadcast journalist Susan Stamberg is a special correspondent for NPR.
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information