7 Books NOT to Bring to the Beach


It’s summertime! Everybody do the popsicle dance! (That’s just a regular dance of your choosing, done while eating popsicles.) As readers, we all know that finding the perfect piece of beachside reading is essential. You want something fun and easy, light-hearted and captivating. You’ll find lists all over the web of books that are perfect for you to lug to the shore, so we thought we’d try something a little different and help you out another way. Here are 8 books you should NOT take the beach. Read them in bed, read them on your couch, read them plopped directly in front of a large box fan…just don’t read them anywhere near open water and sand:

1. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
I’ve definitely made my fair share of jokes about this infamously murderous shark, but I did it knowing full well I’d be avoiding the ocean the way I avoided the shower after first seeing Psycho. Sure, read Jaws…in February.

2. The Beach, by Alex Garland
When you go to spend the day on the beach, you don’t want to quietly become concerned you’re in a faux-utopian haven with murderous undercurrents. Oh sure, this book is set in Thailand, but it’s vivid enough that you’ll start looking at everyone around you askance. ESPECIALLY that guy. You know the one.

3. The Palm Beach Murder, by Marion Collins
The true-crime account of James Sullivan, a man who paid to have his wife murdered before gallivanting through exotic vacation locales the world over will really put a damper on all that sun and fun you’ve got planned. And you thought your vacation was expensive and difficult to plan! (I’ll be here all week, folks! Try the mozzarella sticks, but leave some for me.)

4. The Devil in The White City, by Erik Larson
Thinking about switching up locales this year? Want to save a couple of bucks by finding a discount place to stay? I fully support this, while also supporting the idea that you wait to read this one until you’re home again. I mean, unless you’re cool with vaguely wondering whether or not the owner of that “charming beachside B&B” might actually be welcoming you into a mazelike den of horrors.

5. Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala
This book is brutal. Deraniyagala lost her whole family in 2004 after a tsunami hit Sri Lanka. While reading about a natural disaster while at the beach is a bummer, find a time to read this one anyway. Deraniyagala’s gripping, powerful, and heartbreaking memoir of life with and without her family is just stunning.

6. Heatstroke: Danger In an Age of Global Warming, by Anthony D. Barnosky
You know who reads about global warming at the beach? KILLJOYS, THAT’S WHO.

7. On The Beach, by Nevil Shute
Ain’t nobody handles the apocalyptic genre like an Australian, and Nevil Shute is no exception. This book takes place on the beach…where a bunch of survivors are quietly waiting to be killed by nuclear radiation. There isn’t enough sunscreen in the world to make this lighthearted reading.

What books are you NOT bringing to the beach this summer?

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