As much as I love books in huge, hardcover volumes, summer is a time for light packing. For summer travel reading, you want a book you can throw in your tote bag on the way to the sand, or a book you can fit into your suitcase on your way to your fabulous vacation. One of the coolest things about books is how portable they can be. They're like miniature worlds that you can carry in your pocket, ready to take you in at any moment.
There's a classic debate about whether or not beach reading should be serious. I think beach reading can be whatever you want it to be. On any given day, you'll find me sprawled on my towel with an epic fantasy, a romantic chick-lit, or a dense Russian tragedy. But just because a book's insides are heavy, doesn't mean its outsides have to be. Just as literature has taught us time and time again, great things can certainly come in small packages.
With the summer months fast approaching, publishers this spring are releasing some great titles in paperback. From literary fiction that will blow you away to chick lit that will sweep you up, no matter your reading preference, the perfect book is just waiting for you.
1. The Clasp by Sloane Crosley
The fiction debut from the beloved author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake, this book follows a group of estranged friends as they travel across the world to hunt down a priceless necklace. Filled with comedy and romance, and sprinkled with fun characters, this book is a romp perfect for summer reading.
2. Wind/Pinball : Two Novels by Haruki Murakami
Who can resist a new Murakami book? These two novels, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, were the legendary author's first works. The two surreal stories follow the coming-of-age of an unnamed narrator and his friend, the Rat. Last year they were freshly translated into English, bringing all the imagination, meditation, and wonder of Murakami's writing to new life.
3. The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial by Maggie Nelson
This book from the acclaimed author of The Argonauts was just reissued in paperback this spring, and everyone is eating it up. If you were a fan of Making a Murderer, then this is the book for you. Nelson was on the verge of publishing a book about her aunt's 35-year-old murder, when new DNA evidence was brought forward, showing that Nelson's aunt had in fact, not been killed by a famous serial killer as had been previously thought. This book is an illuminating look into the resounding effects of the justice system.
4. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
This historical fiction rocked everyone's bookshelf when it first came out last fall. The book is based on the forgotten true story of one of the United State's first female sheriff deputies, veritable badass Constance Kopp, as she hunts down a conviction that forces her to confront her own family's past. Full of adventure, intrigue, and a heaping helping of girl power, this is one not to miss.
5. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
The sequel to the hit Crazy Rich Asians, this book is another fun look into a family that knows how to do drama. Rachel Chu is about to get married to the perfect man. But when she discovers her long-lost father's identity, she's thrown into the splendiferous world of the Shanghai elite, a whole new level of rich.
5. The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
The latest sequel to Stieg Larson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this was one of the most controversial books of 2015. Written by a new writer after Larson's sudden death, this thriller of a book is the perfect choice if you want to race through the pages.
7. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
If you were waiting for this literary phenomenon to come out in paperback, now's your chance! A recently discovered prequel to the classic To Kill a Mockingbird, this book sparked an enormous controversy. See what it's all about as you read about a Scout's return home from her grown-up life in New York City.
8. The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
Set in the glitzy world of fashion magazines, this national bestseller is the story of Imogen Tate, the editor of acclaimed Glossy magazine. When Imogen finds that her conniving, twenty-something assistant, Eve, is trying to take charge of the magazine, this book explodes into a crazy, workplace comedy.
9. The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksander Hemon
This brilliant comedy is a roller coaster ride if ever there was one. This is the story of Joshua Levin, an aspiring screenwriter in Chicago whose ideas are steeped in the ridiculous. As Josh's life becomes increasingly insane, a smart, silly read unfolds.
10. Words Without Music: A Memoir by Philip Glass
Every music fan will sink into this beautiful memoir by renowned composer Philip Glass. As Glass takes you behind the scenes in his life and career, this book unfolds into a mesmerizing look into the fusion of life and art. The perfect read to help guide you on your summer projects, this is an brilliant look into an incredible life.