Elin Hilderbrand Picks Best Beach Books for Summer Reading
No trip to the coast is complete without a good novel in your beach bag. But how to decide which to take? For recommendations, we turned to an authority on summer fiction, Elin Hilderbrand, whose 12 novels, including "The Castaways," "Summerland" and her newest, "Beautiful Day," are all set on that ideal summertime spot, Nantucket Island. Hilderbrand gave us her take on what goes into a great beach read and revealed her favorites, including the beach she was on when she first read them.
I have been called "Queen of the Summer Read," a title that delights me. My novels are about love and friendship and robber barons and family and betrayal and untimely deaths and forgiveness and healing... and they are all set on Nantucket Island, my home, my muse, and so, in addition to the above subjects, all of my novels have sandy beaches and rolling waves and champagne cocktail parties. Irresistible! People often ask what I read at the beach. I am a picky reader, but for a book to qualify as a "beach read" it need not have sand falling out of the pages. All I require as I'm sitting in the sun are compelling characters and a driving narrative. Here are a handful of the best novels I've ever read at the beach:
Nha Trang Beach, Vietnam, 2010
This classic novel was recommended to me by my local independent bookseller, Dick Burns, once he had found out how much I loved "Revolutionary Road," by Richard Yates. John O'Hara's novel has all the requisite elements of a page-turner--drinking, swearing and country club adultery, although set in 1930s Pennsylvania. This may sound odd, but trust me, it's un-put-downable!
Steps Beach in Nantucket, This Summer
And this summer, on Steps Beach in Nantucket, I will be reading "The Interestings," by Meg Wolitzer. Wolitzer is one of my favorite writers. She explores the battles between the sexes better than anyone around.
Elin Hilderbrand has lived on Nantucket for 20 years. She runs every morning, delivers her children to their sporting events and occasionally frequents the front row at the Chicken Box. "Beautiful Day" is her twelfth novel.