Come sun and sand season, you’ll find me living out a summer cliché—lounging in a beach chair with shades and a sunhat, devouring a novel so delicious that I’m oblivious to the waves lapping at my feet. This uninterrupted moment of reading bliss is so sacred that choosing which books to bring along on vacation can be a challenge. Recommendations are essential. Best beach reads

To be sure, a good beach read varies on individual taste. But if, like me, you enjoy staying on theme, South Carolina sweetheart and environmental fiction writer Mary Alice Monroe drops her latest novel on May 11, just in time to slip in your beach bag. A New York Times best-selling author, Monroe weaves environmental concerns into authentic stories of the human experience, all backdropped by the beautiful Carolina coast. The Summer of Lost and Found is the seventh in her best-selling Beach House series and follows the Rutledge family as they navigate coastal living during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Beach reads can take many forms—romancey, thrilling, adventurous. But the pages need to virtually turn themselves.”

If you need more details before committing, join Monroe at M. Judson Booksellers on May 12 for the shop’s monthly Lunch & Lit, where Monroe will chat about the book and answer questions. Be forewarned, it might make you want to pack up and hit the sand. And if that’s the case, you’ll find my chair already there.

For more books to add to your bag, M. Judson’s Ashley Warlick has a few suggestions. “Beach reads can take many forms—romancey, thrilling, adventurous,” she says. “But the pages need to virtually turn themselves. Here’s what we’re excited about at M. Judson.”

Under the Southern Sky by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Though it’s set in Harvey’s idyllic oceanside town of Cape Carolina, this thoughtful story of reconnection between lost loves really makes you think about the nature of time, chance, and family.

Surviving Savannah by Patti Henry 

This historical novel about the sinking of the great steamship Pulaski off the coast of Savannah in 1838, considered the Titanic of the South, will give your time along the coast a deeper context.

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson Best beach reads

So, what happens when a bookseller compiles a list of the eight greatest literary murders of all time, from Agatha Christie to Donna Tartt? And somebody starts making those murders happen? This book is so much fun.

To pick up a copy, visit M. Judson Booksellers at 130 S Main St, Greenville, or buy one online at