beach reads

While we know there are so many great summer reading lists floating around the internet, we couldn’t help but add our two cents to the mix. We love reading all year round, but there’s something profoundly special about packing up a book for a fun summer vacation or a relaxing afternoon at the pool, isn’t there?

Check out our list of recommended reads below and chime in in the comments section if you’ve read something great lately—we’d love to know what titles are in your queue!

32 Yolks by Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert is the renowned chef and co-owner of  Le Bernadin, a New York-based French restaurant that has earned three Michelin stars as well as many other impressive accolades. “32 Yolks” is Ripert’s memoir, chronicling the events that shaped him into the chef he is today. Ripert’s descriptions of food will make your mouth water, and he paints a vivid picture of the harried, frantic, military-like pace of the Parisian kitchens he worked in as he honed his cooking skills, but it’s his heartfelt recollections of his childhood (some bitter and some sweet) that will make you fall in love with him and his story.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick 

This sweet novel is reminiscent of the darling Disney movie, Up. When we meet the main character, Arthur Pepper, he is on the precipice of the first anniversary of his wife’s death. He is in his late ’60s and, totally encompassed by grief, he feels no desire to interact with the world around him, preferring to remain a hermit who putters around his house ceaselessly. That is until he discovers his wife’s charm bracelet, a piece of jewelry that he never knew she owned (and doesn’t even look like something she’d wear). The bracelet spurs Arthur on to a quest of sorts, one that reveals to him things about his wife that he’d never known. Dive in to see how this journey impacts Arthur and his grief—what will he confront on his adventures, and will he like what he learns about his wife’s past?

Something Classic 

We were required to read a lot of classic literature while in school, and since this type of reading was exclusively classified as homework, it was difficult to enjoy. For those of us who are no longer in the classroom, it’s fun to revisit classic titles as we read for leisure, allowing us to rediscover the goodness within the pages of classic books. There are so many beautifully written classics to be devoured, from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” to William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” and Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.”

More in the mood for something that’s based on a classic but has a modern spin? Try Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Eligible,” a present-day twist on Pride and Prejudice. And if you want to read the book that helped inspire Darling, check out Wendy Shalit’s “A Return to Modesty.”

The Girls by Emma Cline

This novel is on every summer reading list, and with good reason: we absolutely devoured it when we read it. Set in northern California in the 1960s, the story follows the life of Evie Boyd, a teenager who is drawn into the network of a local cult. Switching back and forth from the narrator’s reflections of her youth and her present-day adult status, the book keeps readers on its toes with descriptive language and a riveting plot line. This novel is beautifully written coming-of-age piece that will capture the reader’s attention and adoration. (We already hope this book is going to be made into a movie!)

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

You already know how much we love Shauna Niequist around here, so it will come as no surprise that we’re counting the days until her next collection of essays is released. A summer release is perfect for this book, as it’s meant to encourage readers to enjoy and embrace a slower pace in life; in the same way that we slow down and soak up the joys that summertime has to offer, Niequist encourages us to live more intentional, connected lives that are less focused on frantic schedules and jammed to-do lists and more focused on cultivating genuine relationships and enjoying doing the things we love. Present Over Perfect will be released in early August, just in time to round out your summer reading list and provide inspiration as you transition back into fall.

And don’t forget our current summer issue, Darling No. 16! We’re headed to Cuba and talking all things complex. Get a sneak peek of what’s inside over here.

What do you currently have a bookmark in?

Image via Esther Lee


  1. Great Recommendations!!
    I just finished reading daring greatly by brene brown and it is life changing!!!
    I’m currently reading the life changing magic of tidying up by marie kondo

  2. ‘The Girls’ is a superb read! Emma Cline’s writing is poetic and smooth on such a harsh subject.

  3. Great picks! Thanks for sharing!? I’ve got 20 books on my summer reading list.

    A few favourites so far:

    I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I read this perfectly paced thriller in 3 days. I had to keep reminding myself to
    breathe. I’m currently re-reading; it’s
    that good!

    The Royal We by Heather Cocks and
    Jessica Morgan. This one is the perfect summer read. I laughed, cried, and laughed some more. Well executed.

    Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand. This
    one is perfect for vacation, beach, and
    poolside reading.

    No One Knows by J. T. Ellison. I finished
    this thriller last week and I highly
    recommend. It gripped me from the
    first page and kept me guessing
    throughout. An edge-of-your-seat

    My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh. This
    debut mystery is set in a Baton Rouge
    neighbourhood. The gorgeous prose
    and beautiful setting really grabbed
    me. A gripping and beautiful read that will stay with you.

    Currently reading: A Hundred Summers
    by Beatriz Williams. Loving it so far!

    Happy summer reading!?

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