Our Favorite Summer Books and Beach Reads of 2016

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Celebrity Memoirs
The Old, the New, and the Highly-Anticipated

You know you’ve reached peak relaxation when you’re on a beach or next to the pool with a book in your hand, not a care in the world but the pleasure of reading.

The editors at Celebuzz have compiled a list of the most important “beach reads” you need to indulge in this summer. Given our various tastes in literature, our list is composed of everything from celebrity memoirs to older classics, and bestsellers in fiction to National Book Award winners.

Check out our favorite summer books and beach reads of 2016 below:

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. Each story is told from a different narrator, all of their individual lives connected in some way; each chapter, structured in various ways (one, an adorable and oddly sweet powerpoint even). This is one book I recommend to everyone for not only how ingenious it is, but how it instills within you a sense of longing, for there’s some characters so wonderful or who so resonate with you that you wish they’d reappear in the book. – Kaitlyn

Buy on Amazon.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

About two years ago, I thought: OK, I know I’m late, but now is the time for me to dive into the work of Haruki Murakami. I started with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which remains my favorite Murakami novel. (I’ve now read maybe 10 or 11 in total.) Coming in at No. 2, though, is the massive 1Q84. It follows two protagonists, Aomame, a highly-skilled assassin, and Tengo, a somewhat-aimless ghostwriter, as they separately find themselves pulled into a strange new world and (eventually) realize they can only escape it together. Over the course of 1,000+ pages, Murakami introduces us to a host of characters: threatening cult leaders, clairvoyant teenagers, ominous private detectives, supernatural “Little People,” wise old dowagers, stoic gay bodyguards, and wild-sex-loving policewomen, to name a few. As is common in Murakami’s work, he also weaves dreamy, surreal, strange, and romantic imagery with deep philosophical and existential thought. Don’t be put off by the book’s length; it’s a quick read once you surrender yourself to the world of 1Q84. – Matt

Buy on Amazon.

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee

I really want to read this book out of curiosity. Since it was written back in the mid-1950’s and was just released last year amidst some controversy. I have such fond memories of To Kill a Mockingbird that I really see if it lives up to all of the hype especially with race being such a prevalent issue in today’s society. – Michael

Buy on Amazon.

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Admittedly, I’m late to the Carrie Brownstein game having only been turned on to her as person after watching Portlandia. I don’t know much about her other than that she’s now a corporeal extension to Fred Armisen and I’m not an avid listener of Sleater-Kinney, but I might just have to tune in after I read this book that my friends have been pushing on me since its release in 2015. – Mia

Buy on Amazon.

Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk

When I was an angsty teenager growing up, I loved reading and re-reading Fight Club. I’m still a huge fan of the book and the David Fincher movie, so to say I’m curious about its sequel — a graphic novel, no less! — is an understatement. I’m dying to get my hands on the new installment, but a part of me is also afraid that it won’t live up to the original. Hmm, what would Tyler Durden do in this situation? _ Gabi

Buy on Amazon.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

I loved Gone Girl and I’ve been looking for something to fill that mystery/thriller void, so when I heard the two novels were being compared, I knew I had to check it out. As I head to the beach this summer, I’m excited to get into another book that I just can’t put down. – Jelani

Buy on Amazon.

White Noise by Don DeLillo

A novel as much as about modern families as it is about our perception of academics, this dark, wonderful satire is filled with heartbreaking observations. The story follows a professor and his family in small town America as the community is overtaken by an airborne toxin which forces our hero to examine how we process mortality and how we carefully order our lives, even on the brink of death. – Scott

Buy on Amazon.

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Both Ausubel’s first novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, and her short story collection, A Guide to Being Born, made strong impressions on me and left me wanting more from the young author. Well, good news: her second novel Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty came out in June! – Matt

Buy on Amazon.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I have been wanting to read Donna Tartt’s newest novel in 11 years (released in 2013) for a long while now, in part because it was such talk of the town when it won the Pulitzer in 2014 and I just want to know what the fuss is all about. But I also love that it’s been compared to Charles Dickens for its Bildungsroman structure and take of discovery, or something. This is the book I will be reading next. — Kaitlyn

Buy on Amazon.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

If you’re looking for some light summer reading and happen to love Mindy Kaling, you’ll love this book. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of fiction, so I typically shy away from collections of personal essays. But I feel like Kaling and I were best friends in a past life so I decided to give it a shot. The essays are hilarious, thoughtful and Kaling somehow manages to know exactly how you feel even though you live completely different life. If you’re looking for a pick me up, a few laughs and even some words of encouragement, you won’t be disappointed. – Jelani

Buy on Amazon.

#whynotme displayed as it should be. Thanks Colin Fleming for sharing this!

A photo posted by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) on

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

I read this book last year, and it accomplished something no other book has ever done: it destroyed me. As it begins, A Little Life tells the story of four male friends who move to New York City after meeting at a prestigious New England university. Soon, however, the narrative pivots to focus on one of the four men, Jude, whose horrific past bleeds profusely into his miserable present and shapes the remainder of the novel. A Litttle Life is a melodrama, and it favors heightened, fairytale-esque emotional fantasy over grounded realism. You should know that going in. And you should know that’s what gives it the power to grab its reader by the throat and not let go. It continually subverts your expectations, right up until the very end. It’s a long (but shockingly quick) read that will stay with you for a long time. – Matt

Buy on Amazon.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I was captivated by this book many summers ago when it was a hot and sweaty mess in New York, and I didn’t have an A/C. But I did have Memoirs of a Geisha, and the fictional, poignant story of how a striking young girl from a fisherman’s village in Japan is sold into servitude and becomes one of the most beautiful and renown Geishas in the 1930’s and ’40s. Told from her perspective as she reflects back on her life, Nitta Sayuri details a time, culture, and world so excitingly gorgeous and oftentimes cruel, with Sayuri having to compete with rival and jealous Geishas, respect the lifestyle she was forced into and make her way through the social expectations. Memoirs of a Geisha, which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 2005, also debunks the myth of what exactly a geisha is and what exactly it is she does (i.e. not prostitution, as Western societies usually tend to believe), and explores all of the intricacies of the geisha lifestyle from tea pouring to kimonos, and eventually romance. – Kaitlyn

Buy on Amazon.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

Anyone who is familiar with the Humans of New York website knows why I am recommending this book. There are so many amazing stories featured on Humans of New York that, even if you’re a regular reader, you’ve missed some great ones over the years. Prepare to be moved and touched by the people whose stories you’re going to cherish. – Michael

Buy on Amazon.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

You wouldn’t expect a comedian to write a book that makes you take a step back and think about how you approach love and dating, but Aziz Ansari has somehow done it. Humorous yet thought-provoking, Modern Romance dissects the trials and tribulations of forming meaningful relationships using data from people of all walks of life. What’s even better is that Ansari isn’t just another celebrity who’s talking out of his own ass, he’s actually enlisted the help of the world’s leading sociologists and scientists to help analyze why we do what we do. Maybe finally someone will swipe right for me now? – Gabi

Buy on Amazon.

Found something fun to do when flights get delayed. Randomly sign books at Hudson News.

A photo posted by @azizansari on

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

My neurology professor assigned this book during a section on auditory phenomenae, specifically in reference to how music affects our our brains. In Musicophilia, the late, prolific Oliver Sacks shares perspective-altering anecdotes from his research about patients who have unique connections to music — for better or for worse. For instance, one man who was struck by lightning suddenly became transfixed with learning how to play the concert piano. It’s an interesting piece that observes just how humans are connected to Beyoncé, and validates it with science. – Mia

Buy on Amazon.

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore

By no means new — it was released in 1998 — Moore’s iconic collection of short stories still packs a punch and speaks to the universal human experience more than any other book I’ve read. The characters in these stories are lost, lonely, unhappy, suffering through terrible ordeals, and yet it remains, at least eight times through, the funniest book I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Come for the puns and killer one-liners, but stay to learn something about yourself and the world around you. – Matt

Buy on Amazon.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower) by Stephen King

I have always turned to King’s novels for an easily digestible, thrilling read. Yes, his stories are often about ghouls and supernatural events, but he’s also a master craftsman at building sympathetic, tangible characters battling their own demons. This series is on my list because not only is it about to make its way to the big screen (starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba) but King considers it his magnum opus. Moreover, I know I’m getting a sprawling epic from one of the best living storytellers we’ve got. – Scott

Buy on Amazon.

Winner of the National Book Award by Jincy Willett

This is a novel I recommend to everyone I know, partly because it seems so few people know it exists but mostly because it is just so f***ing good. The story follows twins Dorcas and Abigail, who could not be more different from one other. Dorcas is a rough-edged librarian who’s spent her life rejecting sex as a way of making a point; Abigail, on the other hand, lives only to experience pleasure. Things become twisted when Abigail meets and marries the sharp-witted and abusive Conrad, who has an unexplainable effect on Dorcas. The humor is biting, satirical, and laugh-out-loud funny. The story, while frothy enough to enjoy at the beach, hits some deeply resonant notes about loneliness, family, abuse, and the absurdity of art and life. – Matt

Buy on Amazon.