Every week, I add more and more books to my TBR pile — in truth, so many that I don't get to read all of them right away. That's why I look forward to their reprints in paperback form: it gives me a chance to read the best books I missed when they originally came out in hardcover the year before. Not to mention, nothing beats the convenience of paperbacks for beach reading all summer long.
I love books in every shape, size, color, and format, but when it comes to the reading at the beach, I reach for paperbacks because I know they work best in the surf and the sand. They're small enough to fit in any tote bag, flexible enough to be bent accordingly for changing sunlight, and durable enough to withstand wet and sandy fingers. They aren't hard to read like screens, big and bulky like hardcovers, or expensive like e-readers. Paperbacks are the exact kind of book form you don't mind getting beat up a little bit, which is why you should start to think about which ones you're going to bring with you to the beach this year.
Whether you're traveling on vacation or just sunning yourself at the local beach, here are 13 of last year's best books, now available in paperback just in time for summer reading.
1'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi
One of 2016 most profound words, Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing was on every critic, reviewer, and reader's radar. If you missed this affecting narrative about the lives and legacies of two half sisters born into different villages in 18th century Ghana, this paperback release is your chance to be astonished. Raw, emotional, and powerful, Homegoing is such a beautifully written novel, you're going to want to add to your bookshelf, in one form or another.
2'Commonwealth' by Ann Patchett
A #1 New York Times bestseller, Ann Patchett's story of two families over the course of five decades and two generations is a rich and beautiful novel worthy of beach binge reading. In Commonwealth, the Keating and Cousins families are united by infidelity, but forge fierce bonds of loyalty despite their origin story. But what happens when that story is taken out of their hands, and put in a book written by a famous author and family outsider? Hilarious and heartbreaking, Commonwealth is the perfect seaside read for true literary lovers.
3'Sweetbitter' by Stephanie Danler
If you think the weather gets hot during the summer, try surviving the heat of New York City's most elite restaurants in Stephanie Danler's national bestseller, now in paperback. One of the most talked about books of 2016, Sweetbitter is a captivating coming-of-age story about 22-year-old Tess, a vivacious young woman trying to survive the fast-paced life of the most challenging city's most challenging industry: food. A sexy and passionate exploration of taste, touch, smell, sight, and feel, Sweetbitter will leave you hungry for more of everything: more love, more life, and more food.
4'I Almost Forgot About You' by Terry McMillan
A sweet, romantic, and touching novel from the author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan's 2016 I Almost Forgot About You is the kind of love story that deserves to be read somewhere as beautiful as it is, like the beach. When a successful but restless Dr. Georgia Young decides to leave her old life behind, she quits her job and moves. Despite the new house and new perspective, she soon finds out that that you can't always get away from you past. An uplifting story about second chances, not just for romance but for life, I Almost Forgot About You has summer reading written all over it.
5'The Woman in Cabin 10' by Ruth Ware
2016 was a pretty great year for thrillers, but few put readers on the edge of their seats quite like Ruth Ware's instant bestseller, The Woman in Cabin 10. When journalist Lo Blacklock gets an assignment to spend a week on a luxury cruise, she thinks she has hit the jackpot. That is, until one stormy night where she thinks she sees a woman being thrown overboard, only to discover that all the passengers are accounted for. Something has gone wrong, and if no one will listen to Lo, she'll have to prove it herself. A story as dark and twisty as ocean water itself, The Woman in Cabin 10 might make you think twice about taking that cruise this summer.
6'The Couple Next Door' by Shari Lapena
Another outstanding thriller from 2016, The Couple Next Door is a domestic suspense novel like no other. After Anne and Marco Conti's son goes missing while they are at a dinner party next door, their seemingly perfect lives begin to show deep, dark cracks that could tear down their happy home from the inside out. A spine-tingling account of what happens next, and what happened to the family's son, will keep readers on edge until the final, shocking conclusion. Trust me when I say, if you missed this bestseller last year, make sure to throw it in your beach bag this time around.
7'Hag-Seed' by Margaret Atwood
If you've already read through your paperback of The Handmaid's Tale this season, reach for another Atwood tale instead. Hag-Seed is the prolific author's re-imagination of Shakespeare's classic, The Tempest, and like the original is filled with magic, humor, revenge, and redemption. A fun and inventive remix starring a cast of unforgettable characters that honor the ones they were based on, Hag-Seed will finally allow you to enjoy Shakespeare at the beach.
8'Another Brooklyn' by Jacqueline Woodson
Speaking of prolific authors, don't forget to bring Jacqueline Woodson with you on your travels this year, because her paperback version of 2016's bestseller Another Brooklyn makes the perfect companion wherever you're going. An emotionally wrought story of friendship, girlhood, and growing up a black woman in Brooklyn, this exquisite novel is dripping with sentiment and sincerity. Readers will slowly devour every last word.
9'Dark Matter' by Blake Crouch
Whether you are traveling or not this summer, Blake Crouch's Dark Matter will take you on the thrilling adventure of a lifetime. Part sci-fi, part thriller, part love story, this unique novel weaves the multilayered narrative of Jason Dessen, a talented scientist who has discovered how to travel in across different universes, but despite his best efforts, can't figure out how to get back to the one he lives in with his beloved wife and son. Something sinister is at work, keeping him from being where — and who — he wants to be. A mind-bending novel that will have readers frantically racing to the end, Dark Matter is an unputdownable novel, now perfectly in paperback form just in time for summer.
10'News of the World' by Paulette Jiles
A 2016 National Book Award finalist, Paulette Jiles's News of the World transports readers back in time, to the restless years following the Civil War and an America long gone but never forgotten. Following the war, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kid is staying busy by reading newspapers out loud when someone offers him a deal he can't pass up: a $50 gold piece in exchange for delivering a young orphan to her relatives 400 miles away in San Antonio. Raised by Native Americans who killed her parents four years early, the girl doesn't know a thing about the life she is now expected to lead with family members who are no more than strangers to her. Can the captain really follow through on his end of the deal and leave the girl to fend for herself, or will be step in and change her fate himself?
11'Siracusa' by Delia Ephron
Travel to the beautiful coast of Sicily of the pages of the paperback edition of Delia Ephron's 2016 bestseller. A thrilling novel about marriage, secrets, lust, and lies, Siracusa follows couple Michael and Lizzie to the Mediterranean where they're vacationing with Finn, wife Taylor, and daughter Snow. Despite the picturesque views and crystal clear blue waters, something dark and ugly is brewing, something that threatens to tear these two families apart beyond repair. A surprising novel filled with rich detail and plenty of twists to keep you guessing, Siracusa will have you frantically flipping pages until long after the sun goes down.
12'Before the Fall' by Noah Hawley
One of 2016's best suspense novels, Noah Hawley's Before the Fall is a read-in-one-beach-day kind of book. When a private jet carrying ten privileged New Yorkers and one poor painter crashes into the Atlantic 16 minutes into the flight, only two people survive: a four-year-old boy and the unlucky artist who should have never been on the plane to begin with. But planes carrying those kinds of influential people don't crash out of the sky for no reason, and everyone — the crash survivors, relatives and lovers left behind, business partners, and even the media — is as desperate for answers. A true page-turner, Before the Fall will leave you guessing until the final moments of the crash, and the final pages of the book.
13'Leave Me' by Gayle Forman (June 27)
A compelling and compassionate tale of love, life, family, motherhood, and discovering the self, Gayle Forman's Leave Me is an inspiring novel that grabs readers attention from the first page and keeps them dazzled until the very end. After suffering a heart attack without even realizing it, working mother Maribeth Klein decides it's time to make a change and does what so many others have only imaged doing: she packs her bags and leaves home. New friendships, new freedoms, and new experiences help Maribeth get a new perspective on her own life, one that will change her life (and her family's) forever.