View of white sand beach looking down at people, colorful umbrellas, waves.

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7 Books That Bring Summertime to Life

· Article

7 Books That Bring Summertime to Life

For some it means days spent on the beach or in the surf. For others, summer is synonymous with America’s favorite pastime — baseball. These novels and non-fiction books evoke the spirit of the season in all its hot, humid and hazy glory. Just grab a beach chair and start reading.


Dandelion Wine: Famous fantasy and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury surprised everyone with his 1957 novel that perfectly captures the nostalgia of youth in summertime. Set in a small Illinois town in 1928, Bradbury’s semi-autobiographical work transports readers back to their own magical memories of summer adventures, large and small.


Mystic Summer: Hannah McKinnon knows how to write a good beach read. A summer wedding of a childhood best friend. A summer love with someone from your past. Life struggles that force you to decide what truly matters in life. All set in the charming seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut. Priceless summer reading.


The Boys of Summer: There’s nothing more American than a baseball game in summertime. Sportswriter Roger Kahn weaves several narratives into this compelling non-fiction classic. Kahn recounts what it was like growing up next to Ebbets Field, which was home to the then Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 to 1957. He also shares individual stories of some of the Dodgers’ best players, including Jackie Robinson, whom he covered for the Herald Tribune in the 1950s. He then follows what those players did after their time playing the game ended. A great read even for those who don’t follow baseball.


The Shark Club: Don’t worry — no Jaws nightmares in this fun summer read by Ann Kidd Taylor. It’s more of a shark love story, actually. Through the work of the main character, a marine biologist, Taylor beautifully describes what goes on in the undersea world of this most feared creature ocean creature, and showcases the efforts of those trying to protect them. Throw in a good love triangle and a mystery set in the Gulf of Mexico and you’ll fall in love with sharks, too.


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life: In his Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, William Finnegan takes us along for the rides of his surfing life, both in the water and on the shores. Finnegan reflects on his lifelong love of surfing, an obsession since he first hopped a board as a child, and the camaraderie among young men trying to catch the next big wave. You’ll find it hard to resist going along for the ride.


The Summer Book: Just as there’s a beginning and an end to summer, there’s a beginning and an end to life. Through 22 illuminating vignettes, this classic by Finnish author Tove Jansson takes the reader on a journey through both the seasons of nature and the seasons of life. We experience the arc of summer through the story of a six-year-old girl waking up to the wonders of the world — and the story of her grandmother, who is close to saying goodbye to it.


Maine: Sharing a family beach house has all the same dysfunctional drama of Thanksgiving dinner — only with better weather and a nicer view. With humor and heart, J. Courtney Sullivan explores the lives of four women who keep coming back to their Maine beach house and each other, despite the messiness of their relationships.


While these books are page turners, if you do accidentally doze off in the sun (all that sun and surf can make you sleepy after all), follow these tips for how to sleep with a sunburn.




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