Best Books To Take To The Beach

Planning a road trip to Siesta Key Beach? Or maybe you prefer to sunbathe on the shores of Lake Michigan. Wherever you're laying out, you'll want a great book at the ready. Here are some suggestions for every craving.

If you're looking for something funny:
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson
This book is laugh-out-loud funny from the first page to the last. It's a follow up to Lawson's debut memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened (also great). Her stories of living, coping and not-coping-so-well with her mental illness help the reader feel like everyone is a bit of a mess and the world is more beautiful for it.

The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by AJ Jacobs
Basically anything by AJ Jacobs is gold. This is his first book, in which he sets out to read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica from A-Z (or from a-ak to zywiec). It's hilarious and insightful, peppered with endearing personal stories and fascinating trivia throughout.

Something spooky:
Revival by Stephen King
They don't call him The Master of Macabre for nothing (this was also Edgar Allen Poe's nickname). He's written over 54 novels that have sold over 350 million copies. Each one could send chills up your spine, but Revival has it's own special flavor of creepy. Mixing the worlds of boyhood religion and electrical engineering, the story of Jamie Morton and his disturbed former pastor Charles Jacobs takes many twists and turns before the final electrifying conclusion.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
HoL is less a book and more an experience. Stay with me here: It's about a haunted house - that was featured in a documentary film - that was analyzed in a paper by an academic - that was found in an abandoned condo by a tattoo artist. Peel back each layer, follow the endless footnotes full of fake experts and references to non-existent texts. Every time you see the word "house" it's printed in blue. Some pages have upside-down text. Some have no text at all. Fall deep into the maze that is House of Leaves and see if you can make it out alive.

Something classic:
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
A small book with BIG impact, Of Mice and Men tells the story of two men who, for better or worse, are connected. George is small, thin and callous. Lennie is big, strong and mentally handicapped. When they go to work at a new ranch their dreams of owning their own farm seem within reach. Then tragedy strikes and their fates spiral into one of the best fiction endings of all time.

The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger
For all you post-graduate nomads who have no idea what to do with your life: Holden Caulfield is here to make you feel normal AF. Told from the perspective of a teenage screw up who doesn't like people much, The Catcher in the Rye is a potty-mouthed romp through the mind of a kid who doesn't want to live up to anyone's expectations.

Something smart:
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard
First of all, this is a play so you can read it in about an hour. It's hilarious, absurd and so genius your head will spin. It's about Ros and Guil, minor characters from Hamlet who ponder the nature of their existence, flip a coin about 100 times and die at the end (is it really a spoiler if it's taken straight from Hamlet?).

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypotherical Questions by Randall Munroe
I know what you're thinking: If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last? Wonder no longer! Written by the brilliant creator of webcomic xckd, What If? is essentially a collection of absurd questions and serious scientific answers (oh wait, it says that in the title!). It's fun, silly and educational in a fantastically unique way.

Something thrilling:
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Assuming you've read Gone Girl (who hasn't?), you'll love Dark Places. It's about a woman who's mother and sisters were murdered when she was a child. Her brother is locked away for the crime but now, years later, a club of true-crime junkies shows up to shake lose everything she thought was true. Her brother might be innocent, so who the hell did it?

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
Six students at Oxford University decide to play a game of increasing dares and consequences. The more they play, the harder it becomes. Nobody knows how far it will go until someone is dead. Inspired by actual experiences the author had at Oxford, Black Chalk is a chilling examination of friendship, guilt and competition.

Something YA:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter)
Futuristic, sci-fi versions of fairy tales - need I say more? What seems like a campy premise is actually an addictive page-turner. Meyer's tight characters and smart writing gain more complexity with each book. It's got the energy and heart of Star Wars - only with a cyborg Cinderella at the helm of the Millennium Falcon.

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Obsessive compulsive disorder is frequently misrepresented by the media, usually shown as a punchline or a cute quirk. This story shows a more accurate version of what it's like to live with a brain that just won't quit. Bea and Beck each have their own unique obsessions and compulsions, but they also have each other. Hopefully that's enough to help them survive high school.

Something with pictures:
Hark! A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton
New Yorker cartoonist Kate Beaton puts literature, history and Canadians into tight, absurd comic strips that examine the humor and irony of life. Her characters are drawn with simple black ink, but each facial expression speaks volumes. You'll laugh, you'll learn, and you'll probably google a few things to make sure you're not missing a punchline.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
Based on the terrific blog of the same name, Allie Brosh spews tales of her childhood, her dogs and her depression all accompanied by delightful art she made in Paintbrush (the mac version of MS Paint). She never shies away from embarrassment or darkness. We feel her authenticity in each drawing of herself as a cute blob with a pink shirt and triangle ponytail.

Asia Dekle studied media arts at Brigham Young University and runs a professional writing business from her home in Sarasota, Florida. She enjoys exploring local beaches, museums and other points of interest so readers know what's fun and unique about her home town. She also loves to sing, dance, and read.‚Äč