santa monica beach read

It’s the height of beach season here in Southern California, which, to bibliophiles can only mean one thing: beach reads. This year was an exciting one in the literary world fiction, with a stellar blend of fiction, non-fiction from literary stars both old and new. Best-sellers range from Michelle Obama’s widely beloved memoir, to old favorites resurrected by new television adaptations. 

For a list of five of our favorite examples, check out The Ambrose Hotel’s favorite summer beach reads for 2019. 

Summer of ‘69
By Elin Hilderbrand

There’s something about reading historical fiction set in summer during your own summer vacation. You’ll fall deep into the world of Elin Hilderbrand’s best-selling novel Summer of ‘69. The family drama follows a group of siblings who find themselves disconnected from their New England roots while the world explodes with conflict and change around them. 

Hildebrand is an American novelist who has earned success throughout her career writing romance novels set on and near Nantucket Island. The New England beach destination provides a fitting summer atmosphere for a family drama by the beach. Even if you’re across the country looking out on the Pacific, this New York Times and USA Today best-selling tale will draw you into its detailed, nuanced universe. 

By Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has continued to be one of the most influential women in America. This past November, she released a widely-anticipated memoir named Becoming. Now coming to the end of the summer, over a half-year later, it’s still dominating sales around the world. It’s a #1 New York Times best-seller, Oprah’s Book Club Pick, and the winner of an NAACP Image Award. 

The book itself tracks Obama’s life from her upbringing in Chicago, to her earliest years achieving educational and professional goals while raising a family. There are a lot of fascinating insights into her years living at The White House, and how the experience has shaped her and Barack’s views on what their tenure ultimately meant to themselves and the country. 

Mrs. Everything
By Jennifer Weiner

Mrs. Everything is a best-selling story that tells the story of two sisters growing up against a rapidly changing American landscape. This is another book that uses the history of our country—spanning 65 years from the 1950s to now—as a point of comparison for its characters to analyze their own change, and humanity. This story, in particular, focuses on gender roles and norms, and how those have evolved over time. 

This latest book from Weiner has earned rave reviews from a ton of the best critics including those from Publisher’s Weekly, Good Housekeeping, She Reads, and PopSugar. Weiner is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes—just in case you want to do a deep dive on the beach this August. 

Where The Crawdads Sing
By Delia Owens

Released in 2018, Where The Crawdads Sing carried much of the literary world’s attention for most of 2019. During this past year, it earned nominations for Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction, and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author. It also occupied The New York Times Best Sellers of 2019 for 18 weeks, as well as a Reese Witherspoon & Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick. 

This murder mystery is also a coming of age tale, making it the perfect blend of gripping summer drama. The story follows a girl who finds herself suspected of a local murder, and the jaw-dropping events that unfold. Owens’ writing has been compared to that of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russel for a point of reference. 

Good Omens
By Neil Gaiman & Terry Prachet

One of the best-selling books of 2019 has actually been a work of horror fiction from 1990. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Coming from the accomplished and revered minds of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the story is an original take on the apocalypse with armies of Good and Evil, motorcycle apocalyptos, and witch hunters. 

The reason for the spike in sales so long after Good Omens publication is the recent release of a television adaptation by Amazon Studios and BBC Studios. Starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, the series has earned rave reviews. So, you can cruise through the novel on the beach this summer, and then watch the series when you’re back inside come winter. 

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