We love packing our beach bags with cheap novels, stacks of magazines, and the literary gems we’ve been meaning to finish. We checked in with some of our favorite designers, bloggers, and style authorities to see what they’ll be toting to the shore this summer to get some inspiration for passing along. Our personal reading recommendation:
1. Pick your own favorite summer reads (or take a suggestion from below!).
2. Print out bookmarks for all your friends.
3. Tuck a bookmark into every beach read you pass along this summer.
Who: Ben Busko, of Ben’s Garden
What: The Balthazar Cookbook by Keith McNally, Rainmaking Conversations by Mike Schultz, and House Beautiful and Martha Stewart magazines
Why: “My summer reading plans will be sure to include late afternoons by the oceanside, hopefully sipping mojitos, and listening to the whisper of the ocean as I dive into my latest favorites. To keep on point at work my Ben’s Garden employee book club is reading, chapter by chapter, Rainmaking Conversations; I enjoy discussing points of interest with everyone every Monday. Somewhere in my beach bag, and before the sun sets I would also be sure to get to my essential magazine reads.”
Who: Karen Karbo, author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel
What: Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, and My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: Volume One, 1915-1933 edited by Sarah Greenough
Why: “Hilderbrand’s stylish beach reads all take place on Nantucket – a place that seems so exotic to me, having grown up on the beaches of Southern California. This one features a character whose husband had pulled a Bernie Madoff, leaving her homeless and desperate. Of course, she repairs to Nantucket to heal. Also looking forward to Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, about a scientist who travels to the Amazon to find her lost mentor. There are promises of poison arrows and cannibals. Finally, My Faraway One, which publishes in June. Theirs was a love story like no other; the book takes you back to a time when people seemed more passionate, more engaged, and more willing to break the rules.”
Who: Abby Larson, the blogger behind Style Me Pretty
What: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford
Why: “It’s the most delicately written love story you’ll ever read. With subtle twist and turns that make you fall head over heels for the lives tucked inside. I gobbled this book up in just a couple of days and couldn’t stop thinking about it for days.”
Who: Kerry O’Brien of commando
What: New York Magazine and 29: A Novel by Adena Halpern
Why: “Oh yes. I remember days long ago when I could actually read on the beach! Now, I’m usually covered from head to toe in sand keeping my three-year old twin daughters and seven-year-old son entertained. It’s very glamorous. I love love love New York Magazine. Its title is a misnomer because it’s so much more than New York centric. It covers politics, entertainment, finance, and fashion in a wickedly shrewd way. I can’t live without the approval matrix; it’s the final kiss goodbye. Then I was on vacation last month at the Rosewood Resort in Little Dix Bay and started reading 29, about a grandmother turning the clock back to become 29 for a day so she can hang out with her granddaughter, whom she envies. It was a lot of fun and reminded me of the wise, older, smart, and vivacious women in my life.”
Who: Rosanna, designer and founder of Rosanna
What: As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis D’Voto by Joan Reardon
Why: “I love this book because it celebrates the friendship between two women. Plus it’s fun to find out more about Julia Child. She is a role model who took her passion and wrote a cookbook that became a classic masterpiece. Julia was a pioneer in introducing America to French cooking and opened up a whole new world to the American public about the importance of well-prepared meals and eating in season.”
Who: Sydney Wasserman, ELLE.com Fashion & Shopping Editor
What: Lost on Treasure Island by Steve Friedman
Why: “I only read romance or comedic books on the beach — it only enhances the relaxation state. This summer, I’m taking ELLE’s advice to read Lost on Treasure Island. It essentially takes the common “single girl in the city” storyline and tells it from a man’s perspective who is going through the same emotions. I also love reading anything about New York because it makes the story feel much closer to home.”
Who: Lauren David Peden, Rue La La Contributing Editor
What: I have a whole list!
Why: Bossypants because Tine Fey’s the funniest woman on the planet, as far as I’m concerned (sorry, Amy Poehler!).
Life by Keith Richards – my husband just finished reading this and I’ve been hearing about nothing but Keef, Keef, Keef (and listening to vintage Rolling Stones songs) for the past month. Now it’s my turn.
The White Album – Joan Didion is my favorite writer, hands down, and I like to read – or re-read, in this case – at least one of her books every summer.
Ruben Toledo’s Fashion Almanac – A collection of Toledo’s fashion illustrations for Nordstrom. My sister actually gave this to me for Christmas (I am officially obsessed with Ruben’s — aka, Mr. Isabel Toledo’s — work) but I haven’t had time to sit down and pore through it the way I would like. Summer vacation will be my chance to do just that.