Going to the Beach: An Ocean-Side Reading Guide

Aah, summer; you have officially started. Beach days, beer festivals, concerts, and spending time in the great outdoors take up my time in these short, warm months, in addition to reading and dedicating many moments to refreshing and revisiting my To Be Read (TBR) list(s). My summer reading list is somewhat diverse, as is my list of books I want to read this year, in terms of genre and form. Depending on my travel (or non-travel) plans, my book selection will vary.

For a beautiful day at the beach – more specifically, an ocean-side beach – I try to make reading a big part of the day. With sand at my feet and the ocean in front of me, there are few other tranquil places for getting swept up in the pages of a book.

Ocean-Side Reading | Summer Reading

Reading by the ocean does come with some stipulations. For ultimate comfort, relaxation, and peace, here are my book suggestions for your next beach day by the sea.

◊ First and foremost, bring a book that will survive sand exposure. Don’t bring a Juniper Book or that vintage 2nd edition your grandmother gave you. Leave these on your bookshelf at home, and bring along a less pristine, more easily replaceable copy so your relaxing day (and all days afterward) isn’t ruined by a salt and sand-infested book. Also, the pages may get slightly oily from your sunscreen (enter PSA about the importance of wearing sunscreen), so the sturdier the paper the better.

◊ Second, unless the beach is right off a seaside deck (on which is a table you will be sitting at), bring along a paperback instead of a hardcover book. Paperbacks are slightly easier to pack in your beach bag or tote, and will be much lighter and more flexible to hold in almost any position as you lay or sit in the sun.

◊ Third, choose a book with wide margins or one in which you don’t plan on taking notes. Many times I’ve brought along a pencil and my notebook, convincing myself it will be simple to read and annotate on my towel or beach chair. Many times I’ve proven this theory wrong, and have found it much more simple to bring a novel I know will not have unfamiliar language or a story line that is three- or four- or five-dimensional. A pencil or pen is manageable to write with, but don’t haul your notebooks, dictionary, and historical reference books along – unless they are on your phone. Many beaches I frequent do not have cell reception, let alone 4G connectivity, but the memo pad is handy for taking notes if necessary and revisiting them back at home.

◊ Fourth, if you can help it, don’t bring a terribly sad or upsetting novel. Sometimes this is difficult to avoid, so unless you’re comfortable with crying in public or behind your sunglasses, or know you can control your emotions while reading, intentionally choose a book with more happy moments than sad.

◊ Finally, if you cannot decide which unread or frequently read novel to bring, find a bookstore on your route to the ocean and choose an Employee Recommended title or a title from the bargain bin. This spontaneity will add to your sunny day adventure, and you may discover an author or genre you never knew you enjoyed.

So if you’re at a loss for what to bring to the beach, follow my guide and get ready to relax. Do you have book tips you always follow for a day next to the ocean? Share them in the comments below, and enjoy your summer!


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