Why I Love (And Write) Beach Reads

Riverhead Books

The bestselling author tells us why this fluid genre is great in any season.

There is something irresistible about reading on a beach. Maybe it’s the memory of childhood vacations with a stack of Nancy Drews, or a lack of proficiency on a boogie board. Whatever the reason, I always read more books at the beach than anywhere else. In recent years, I’ve discovered a way to channel that warmth and word-loving hunger all year round by writing a book in which the characters had foreheads slick with sweat and occasionally wore bathing suits (The Vacationers). There’s no ideal “beach read,” of course, except a satisfying book that keeps you engaged in between dips (Donna Tartt’s The Secret History comes to mind). But for me, writing books that take place during the warmest months offers me part of the pleasure of reading on the sand. Even when there’s snow outside my window, it’s summertime inside my head.

Emma Straub's latest book, Modern Lovers, is out May 31 ($26; penguinrandomhouse.com).