By Coastal Living contributor
April 01, 2016
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If anyone knows how to pick a perfect beach read, it's someone who's written one of his or her own! These six coastal authors share their favorite picks for flipping pages by the sea.

A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My go-to beach read is a classic I read while sitting on the sand at least once a year. If you haven’t read Lindbergh’s beautiful meditations inspired by the shells she found on the shore during a beach vacation, you are missing out. A mother of five married to the famous aviator, Lindbergh’s wisdom made this book a bestseller when it was published in 1955. Her insights on life and love, marriage, motherhood, and the role of women still resonate today. Tuck this tiny book into your beach bag and take a deep breath as you listen to the waves rolling in. “Patience—Faith—Openness, is what the sea has to teach. Simplicity — Solitude— Intermittency . . .” Ahhhh.  – Kaira Rouda, Laguna Beach, CA local and author of The Goodbye Year

Somewhere Out There by Amy HatvanyThis summer, when I hit the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, the book in my beach bag will be Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany. It's about two sisters who were given up at birth--one was raised by a loving, adoptive family while the other spent years caught in a revolving door of foster homes--and who, three decades later, seek out the mother who let them go. I love stories about sisters, motherhood and perilous family dynamics, and this one has it all. Hot sun, cold drinks and a gripping book - the perfect recipe for a summer day. – Julie Lawson Timmer, Ann Arbor, MI local and author of Untethered

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

I love a good mystery to read on my hometown beach in Sea Girt, NJ, and The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins met all my criteria: Great story, twists and turns, engrossing and engaging, easy to consume in a week or less. A young woman, post-divorce, who drinks too much, rides the train to and from the big city every day to keep up the pretense that she is employed. On one such ride she witnesses something shocking and sets out to find answers. But as she injects herself too deeply into the scenario while battling her own demons, she puts her own life in peril. A quintessential page-turner that keeps you guessing to the end. – Donna Cardillo, Sea Girt, NJ local and author of Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to Fall Apart

Throne of Glass Series by Sara J. Maas

My summer beach read is absolutely sitting down with one of Sara J. Maas’ Throne of Glass books! The heroine, Celeana Sardothien is a powerful assassin, lethal to the core, but also beautiful, vulnerable, and damaged by all that life has thrown at her. I am so in awe of the lyrical writing and character growth that SJM imbues throughout her novels. I can’t think of a better way to pass time in the sand than diving into the raging battles, deep mysteries, and tempestuous love triangles that are woven into every page! – Alane Adams, Orange, CA local and author of The Egg Thief

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I love what this book is able to accomplish while still being such an accessible read. Equal parts love story, social, political, and racial commentary, Americanah weaves an honest and compelling story about a Nigerian woman's experience coming to America for an education and eventually returning home to her native Lagos as an "Americanah". Adichie helps us understand that although the world has never been more connected, we still have quite a ways to go before we can truly consider ourselves global citizens.  - Lisa Henthorn, Santa Monica, CA local and author of 25 Sense

Cries for Help, Various: Stories by Pagett PowellYou may not associate New York City with sand and surf, but between the Long Island beaches and the Jersey Shore there's plenty to choose from. My local beach of choice for the past few years has been Cape May. It's clean, quiet, and rarely crowded, but, perhaps more importantly, it's where my mother took my four brothers and me when we were young, a rare untarnished family memory. Were I to head to the beach today the one book I wouldn't be without is Padgett Powell's hilariously bleak, profoundly absurd, gravely playful, maddeningly satisfying Cries for Help, Various. This extraordinary collection of short fiction is like the perfect dinner conjured of ingredients no one but a deranged prodigy would ever think to combine. Not much chance you'll fall asleep reading it, even after a long day at the beach. – Grant Jarrett, New York, NY local and author of The House That Made Me: Writers Reflect on the Places and People that Defined Them

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