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It is ULTIMATELY summer, and that means one thing: summer reading! I think Sir Patrick Stewart speaks for all of us here:
If so, Book Riot is here for you: we’ve got your list of the best 2019 beach readings here.
I’m not sure where the term “reading on the beach” comes from, but I guess the summer blockbuster attitude in Hollywood has something to do with it. But technically, can’t a read on the beach be just any book you read on the beach?
Personally, when it comes to summer reading, I’m with my colleague Rioter Kathleen Keenan. Over the past few summers, I’ve intentionally chosen longer, denser novels to make my way through. I’m talking about the kind of novels I needed to set a daily page goal just to make sure I was successful on any type of schedule.
Perhaps this is because movie and TV offerings are generally “lighter” and I wished for a harder rate in my reading to make up for that. Or maybe it’s just because I tend to spend more time outdoors in the summer, AWAY from movies and TV, which means more time to read. But whatever it is, I still look forward to summers to dive into a long, complicated and dense book.
So with that in mind, here are ten books to protect your mind from the slush during the hot summer months.
The Karamazov brothers By Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Extract from the cover of the book: “The Karamasov brothers is a mysterious murder, judicial drama and exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love stories involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons… Through the gripping events of their history, Dostoyevsky depicts the whole of Russian life, its social and spiritual endeavors, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture. Amusing!
Black leopard, red wolf By Marlon James
The first part of the Dark Star trilogy, this fantasy epic is 640 pages long, very dense, and has a sprawling prose style that many have said difficult to enter. Perfect for those little moments between naps on your sand towel.
Neapolitan novels By Elena Ferrante
Originally published between 2012 and 2015, Ferrante considers his Neapolitan novels in four volumes (My brilliant friend—2012, The story of a new name—2013, Those who go and those who stay—2014, and The story of the lost child—2015) to be a singular novel. A bildungsroman of enormous size and scope, the book follows two young Italian women as they grow up amidst violence and unrest in Naples.
The goldfinch By Donna Tartt
Read it before the film adaptation becomes an awards season juggernaut in September! This 775-page coming-of-age novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014. It’s exactly the kind of novel that screams “rainy day” rather than “fun in the sun.”
A little life By Hanya Yanagihara
Yanagihara’s novel about four college friends who move together to New York City to be successful together isn’t a novel that no one would call a fun read. The New Yorker‘s Jon Michaud wrote in his review, “The graphic representations of abuse and physical suffering found in’ A Little Life ‘are rare in mainstream literary fiction.”
Odysseus By James Joyce
Perhaps the ultimate anti-beach reading, Odysseus is good, Ulysses. It’s really hard to follow and each chapter takes on a completely different literary style. I can tell from experience that if you bring this one to the beach you are going to get some crazy stares from others.
Beloved By Toni Morrison
A love story and a ghost story all in one, Beloved is a haunting and lyrical depiction of the horrors of slavery and the ferocity of the human spirit. Sethe, the protagonist of the novel, is a former slave escaped to freedom who is unable to outrun the horrors inflicted on her and her dead child, buried under a gravestone simply marked “Beloved”.
Rebecca By Daphné Du Maurier
An anonymous narrator is run over by a 42-year-old widower. But when she arrives at her country estate, it quickly becomes clear that the specter of his deceased wife will threaten their new life together far more than she feared.
The rainbow of gravity By Thomas Pynchon
This postmodern epic has divided readers on its merits since winning the National Book Award in 1973. As Amazon magazine puts it, “It’s virtually impossible to follow a standard plot; you have to have faith that every manic episode is tied to the grand plot to blow up the world with the ultimate rocket. There is not a story, but a proliferation of characters … and events that awaken the reader with suggestions of broad patterns that are just beyond our comprehension.
1Q84 By Haruki Murakami
Murakami’s own dystopian vision of 1984 is over 900 pages long. Set in an alternate version of our reality, the novel follows two strangers for a year as their lives mysteriously intertwine. This one is for diehard Murakami fans.
Which novels or books have you lined up this summer? Are there any other anti-beach readings that should be added to this list?