Best Summer Beach Books

Catch the latest wave of great hot-weather reads, plus Family Circle staffers' picks of what they'll be reading this summer.

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Innocent, by Scott Turow


(Grand Central Publishing)

While you probably haven't been wondering about Rusty Sabich, the protagonist of 1987's Presumed Innocent, now that he's back you're glad to see him. (Even if he's once again cheating.) Turow does a masterful job of rehashing the past as a way of drawing us back into this thrilling courtroom chess match.

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Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, by Rob Sheffield


(Dutton Adult)

As it was in his debut book, Love Is a Mix Tape, music is the thread that stitches together Rob Sheffield's memories. Reminiscences of Hall & Oates, assorted one-hit wonders, and, of course, plenty of references to the "Hungry Like the Wolf" hunks, pepper a touchingly funny memoir of Sheffield's teenage years.

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The Nobodies Album, by Carolyn Parkhurst



Did he or didn't he? That is what novelist Octavia Frost, the charming but somewhat unreliable narrator, is trying to figure out. While unraveling the truth about her estranged rock-star son, Milo, and his murdered girlfriend, Octavia attempts to rewrite her family's tragic history in this gripping modern mystery.

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The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender



On the eve of her 9th birthday, Rose find herself gifted with a curse: She can taste people's feelings in the food they prepare. And while the inner life of her family members—especially her unfulfilled mother—becomes almost too much for her to stomach, Rose eventually finds a palatable peace. An evocative and richly satisfying read.

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Family Circle Staffers' Summer Reading List


Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution in Music, by Marisa Meltzer

(Faber & Faber)

As a huge fan of Kim Deal, Bikini Kill, and other riot grrrls who've rocked the last few decades, I plan to read Girl Power.—Celia

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The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman


(The Dial Press)

My friends have been raving about this book, by journalist-turned-novelist Tom Rachman. Having worked at an English-language daily in Israel, I love that this story takes place at a similar operation in Rome with a staff of eccentric newspaper people whose own lives sometimes prove more interesting than the stories they are covering. —Tracy

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One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich


(St. Martin's Press)

I'm going to cycle through the Stephanie Plum series — starting with One for the Money. I heard they were frothy, fun beach books. My goal is to finish them all before the movie version comes out in the theaters. —Allie

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Lips Unsealed, by Belinda Carlisle



Top of my list is this Go-Go's singer's shockingly candid memoir. For decades her life was controlled by drugs and a lack of self-esteem. But with support from her husband and son, and her newfound spirituality, she finally overcomes her demons. —Robb

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Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, by Piper Kerman


(Spiegel & Grau)

Ten years after the fact, a youthful mistake lands an educated, middle-class woman in prison. What sounds like a nightmare becomes a life-changing wake-up call in Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison. As Piper Kerman recounts her experience, the culture and unexpected friendships she forged with her fellow inmates, she gives voice to a population of women we rarely ever hear from.—Lisa

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My Name Is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira


(Viking Adult)

This is a riveting, well-researched novel about a young nurse during the Civil War. The incredibly vivid details and well-drawn characters create a story that resonates long after the last page is turned.—Karmen

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Dead in the Family, by Charlaine Harris


(Ace Hardcover)

I'm a True Blood diehard, so it's no surprise I've been devouring all of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. I'm almost done with Dead and Gone—may it rest in peace. Next up is Dead in the Family.—Susan

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More Good Reads: Family Circle Fiction Contest Winners


"Our Atlantis"

"On the Wire"

"The Sanity of Socks"

Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.