What is a beach read, anyway? Technically, anything you read while enjoying an ocean view could be considered a beach read, but the category mostly refers to light-hearted tomes that are both compelling and easy to read. With the summer months affording us a little extra downtime, some restorative R&R by the beach armed with a great book sounds like paradise.
From a sensational true crime novel by Michelle McNamara to the catty reality-show cast of Jessica Knoll’s The Favorite Sister and the hotly anticipated follow-up to 2003’s The Devil Wears Prada, these are some of the books – both lowbrow and highbrow – that we’re adding to our reading lists this summer.
The Favorite Sister
by Jessica Knoll
Jessica Knoll is back with a new release even more compelling than her debut novel, Luckiest Girl Alive (which incidentally is being turned into a film by Reese Witherspoon). The Favorite Sister is a sinister and eye-opening book filled with acerbic observations of the reality-show landscape.
Centered on five women who star in a reality series called Goal Diggers – think Shark Tank meets Real Housewives – the book lays bare all of the behind-the-scenes backbiting, backstabbing, and otherwise bad behavior. Told in alternating first-person narratives, the novel takes a dark and shocking turn from which there is no coming back – you won’t be able to put it down.
“The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll
AED62 / SAR63
by Stephen King
Misery, Insomnia, It – Stephen King has given the world some of the scariest plots known to literature. Yet, from the halcyon days of his career to the present, some fans think the author’s work has become too predictable, too safe. Fortunately, he has returned to winning form with the release of The Outsider, an utterly terrifying tale of a gruesome and inexplicable small-town murder.
The suspect, the town’s beloved Little League coach, has been accused of killing a local boy in the most horrifying way the local police have ever seen. There is incontrovertible evidence that he has committed the crime, and also incontrovertible evidence that he was out of town with a group of colleagues during the time of the murder. How can a man be in two places at once? The answer will haunt you long after you’ve finished the book.
“The Outsider” by Stephen King
AED66 / SAR67
My Lady's Choosing
by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris
Fans of Downton Abbey and Wuthering Heights, this one’s for you. In this interactive adult version of a ‘choose your own adventure’ book, the choices you make affect the outcome of the story. The story centers on a destitute young woman in the early 19th century who serves as a companion to an unpleasant dowager countess.
Cheekily written and soaked in satire, this clever book places you in the proverbial driver’s seat, making decisions like, “Do you accompany your tyrannical employer to the fundraising ball for the Society for the Protection of Widows and Orphans of the War? The company may be atrocious, but balls are fun! If so, turn to this page. Or do you run away from Lady Craven, only to find yourself with no other means of survival than to sell your young body into the cold, cruel night?” If you’re in the mood for this sort of thing, the book is great fun, and a great conversation piece among friends.
“My Lady’s Choosing” by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris
AED36 / SAR37
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark
by Michelle McNamara
Hold onto your seats because this one’s a doozy. Michelle McNamara is the late writer behind the wildly popular blog True Crime Diary, who worked tirelessly with experts, detectives, and other true crime aficionados to discover the identity of some of the most unsolvable cold cases. She was also the wife of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, who posthumously wove together her research on the Golden State Killer and helped finalize the book in her honor.
Right before McNamara died suddenly in her sleep at the age of 46 in 2016, she was on the cusp of discovering who the Golden State Killer was due to her efforts in tracking him via DNA. Many of her fans credit her tireless work in finding him for the recent arrest made in the case. McNamara’s research helped land the real-life killer, but she died not knowing that she had nearly solved the case – an eerie and unpredictable outcome that is truly stranger than fiction.
“I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara
AED58 / SAR59
When Life Gives You Lululemons
by Lauren Weisberger
When The Devil Wears Prada first debuted in 2003, it caused an enormous sensation not only because it revealed the inner workings of a famed fashion publication, but also how the its editor-in-chief treated her staff and inner circle. It was then adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley, and Anne Hathaway as her hapless assistant.
Fifteen years later, author Lauren Weisberg returns with a follow-up. This time around, Miranda Priestly’s assistant is all grown up and trying to forge a new career path after working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars. The book just dropped on Tuesday, but it’s already being hailed as the beach read of 2018.
“When Life Gives You Lululemons” by Lauren Weisberger
AED48 / SAR49
by Elisabeth Cohen
Lead character Shelley Stone is an accomplished, high-profile CEO and mother of two who appears to have it all under control. From the moment she wakes up to the moment she sleeps, every second of her day is scheduled and calculated for maximum efficiency.
One day, she meets a young woman who claims to be the younger version of herself, also named Shelley Stone with the same scars on her body. Has she lost touch with reality or is the young woman a portent of the past, appearing to warn her of the fool’s errand that is trying to live the perfect life? You’ll have to read it to find out.
“The Glitch” by Elisabeth Cohen
AED58 / SAR59
by Leni Zumas
Billed as a modern-day version of The Handmaid’s Tale, this book is almost too prescient. Set in a dystopian future where a misogynistic government has enacted legislation to totally control women’s bodies and choices, the harrowing narrative is grounded in the personal perspective of four central female characters.
They are “The Wife”, “The Biographer”, “The Daughter”, and “The Mender”, each serving as a different female archetype. Through this considered exploration of the complexities of femininity, Red Clocks is a piercing reminder of how easy it would be for all of the progress made by women to be undone.
“Red Clocks” by Leni Zumas
AED58 / SAR59
by Christopher Rice
This chilling novel tells the tale of Charlotte Rowe, both of whose parents were serial killers. One day, Rowe is rescued by her biological father, but it turns out he is only interested in trading the tragic story of her upbringing for money, of turning her into a zoo exhibit for the world’s prying eyes. However, she is secretly dosed with an experimental drug, one that gives her a superpower. From victim to avenger, Rowe is the unexpected heroine we never knew we needed.
“Bone Music” by Christopher Rice
AED58 / SAR59
by Laura Lippman
When Gillian Flynn – author of Gone Girl and Sharp Objects – tells you to read a book, you should listen. Sunburn is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, a provocative modern noir novel that turns the mundane into the extraordinary. Polly Costello married too young, to a violent Boston cop no less. After he threatens to kill her child, she takes matters into her own hands and murders him in his sleep.
After serving four years in prison, she is released on the governor’s pardon and eventually remarries. However, she quickly bores of her life, running away from her responsibilities to live out a new identity as a waitress at a small diner. A budding relationship with the diner’s short-order cook quickly turns out to be her undoing, with the two hiding secrets from each other that will eventually ruin them.
“Sunburn” by Laura Lippman
AED29 / SAR30
by Andrew Sean Greer
As 2018’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Less should be read for its astonishing prose first, and its plot second. The New York Times praised the novel’s “arresting lyricism and beauty”, but its humor should also be noted. Less tells the story of a struggling novelist who travels all the way around the world just to avoid an awkward encounter at a wedding that he is invited to attend.
Part of the character’s adventures underscore his midlife crisis, but as he explores different corners of the world, he is still confronted by himself – by his perceived failures, his loneliness, his aging body. This tender, charming novel is beautifully written and will compel you to soak in every delicious metaphor and turn of phrase.
“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer
AED36 / SAR37