There’s nothing better than lazing on the beach in the hot summer sun with a great book in your hands, writes Jennifer Pilato…

I’m holding my book in two hands, settling back into a beach chair, lazily digging my toes into warm sand. I tilt my head up just slightly, letting the sun’s warmth beat down on my cheeks. I slide my sunglasses back down over my eyes and let my eyes drift over the words on the page in front of me and think that there is nothing more pleasant and comforting than a fantastic book on the beach. Losing myself in a book allows for the pleasant sounds of volleyball scores, happily shrieking children, and waves riding onto shore all the more inviting in my ears.

As I was packing up for this trip to the beach, I was careful in selecting the perfect book that would accompany me. I am eagerly awaiting Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin’s new release and until then, decided to enjoy Jane Green’s Another Piece of My Heart. After I got married last month, my husband surprised me by building me bookshelves. I have a very eclectic collection and often my friends will come to me asking to borrow books.  When it comes to this time of the year, the requests are always the same: What is something really great that I can read  at the beach?

I remember a few summers ago absorbing Gigi Levangie Grazier’s brilliant Queen Takes King. I sat on the beach from morning until night, digging my toes into the rich sand, enjoying the sun, while turning pages quickly to find out what happens. There is such an importance in picking the right book for the beach. Often, I read magazines before the summer begins and they give their ” Official Summer Book Lists”. There are usually more women writers than not. Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner always make the list. Their books are the perfect beach reads – their writing is sharp, witty, smart, and the story is always engaging.

There is nothing more perfect than sitting down with a book in hand. Elin Hilderbrand often writes stories entwined with themes of family and love in the town of Nantucket. The stories always take place in the background of the beach – which always has a part to play itself. Beach reads sometimes get a bad connotation with it. Most people think this means a piece of fluff that you just bring to read under the sun to pass time, but in fact this is very wrong. A beach read is something you can completely absorb yourself in, something that from the very first page, you want to dive right in and read in one sitting. Elin Hilderbrand’s writing is always sensational from the get go. Her story is always driven with intrigue from the first page.

Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner do this as well. Their writing is so profound, the storyline always increasing a need to continue reading, a perfect book for the beach. Beach reading means something that you can engage your entire self into, something that doesn’t pass time, but something you read because you have the time and reading this particular book is the only thing that you want to do for the afternoon. Most books I bring to the beach I can finish in one sitting because I’m so absorbed in it, enjoying the wind blowing a breeze from the ocean, the sound of the waves lapping onto the shore, the heat of the sun on my skin.

No matter what kind of book you choose for beach reading, it’s always going to be something that you really want to read. Choosing the perfect book to read on the beach is like choosing a friend that you really want to spend the afternoon with. It’s something you want to give your full attention to, something that speaks to you in an engaging manner. I know that whenever I’m about to go to the beach, choosing the right book is always the first thing that I do. Yesterday I spent the afternoon absorbing A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. It’s a beautifully written novel laced with stories of the history of dresses, friendship, and love. It was a perfect book to lay back and read against the sand.

The importance of women and beach reading has really heightened since women authors have really become more prominent. Emily Giffin, Elin Hilderbrand, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, Marian Keyes, even mystery writers like Joy Fielding and Joanna Fluke (who writes an adorable dessert filled mystery series), provide such profound stories that you really want to finish in one sitting. These women have changed beach reading. There is a reason that most of these women release books during the season. They know that beach reading is popular among friends – women sharing books, declaring that this book is so amazing you must read it!, and swapping books throughout the season, laughing and discussing them on the beach. It’s why I love summer so much.

My friends and I will go to the bookstore, pick out books that we absolutely have to read and switch throughout the summer. It always seems that with the time to sit on the beach or by a pool, we read much more during the summer and therefore have the time to get excited over these releases and share them with the people we love. Is there really anything more perfect than spending the afternoon with the sun on your face, reading something you really love? Emily Giffin’s new book comes out soon and I’m already planning a beach day so I can settle in to read it and then share it with my friends. So go grab a great book and go dig your toes in the sand, it will be the perfect way to spend the afternoon!

Jennifer Pilato is currently working at a pediatric opthamologist’s office and after just returning from her honeymoon, is enjoying many days ahead where she can read on the beach!

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