Book picks for the beach run the gamut

As the first day of May approaches, I have already started thinking about excellent beach-reads. It occurred to me though, that one person’s beach-read may not another’s, so my recommendations are more wide-ranging than usual.

If you like internal and external drama set in aspirational locations, try “The Golden Hour” by Beatriz Williams and you’ll be transported to 1941 Windsor Court. Try “The Last Book Party” by Karen Dukess to go on a journey of self-discovery on Cape Cod.

If you want to read a book with an appealing female lead who’s trying to figure stuff out, read “Evvie Drake Starts Over” by Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, “In at the Deep End” by Kate Davies about a young woman trying to figure out her sexuality, “The Right Sort of Man” by Allison Montclair which has a nice mix of wit and mystery, and “Star-Crossed” by Minnie Darke which is a charming romantic comedy spiced up by astrological influences.

If a relaxing book is the last thing you want, read “Diary of a Murderer and Other Stories” by Young-Ha Kim which is a collection of stories that begin quietly but morph into turmoil, and “Never Have I Ever” by Joshilyn Jackson which incorporates suspense into her trademark southern family dramas.

If messy family relationships float your boat, read “Honestly, We Meant Well” by Grant Ginder, a story about a family who is struggling to regain connection while simultaneously tearing each other apart, “The Most Fun We Ever Had” by Claire Lombardo, a family saga that explores the challenges of love, and “Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner about two sisters whose closeness changes with the decades as they struggle to find their places in the world.

If you want to be immersed in another time and place and be surrounded by evocative language, read “The Electric Hotel” by Dominic Smith about the making of a mid-century, silent film masterpiece, “Sabrina and Corina” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a series of short stories about Latina and Indigenous American women who long to be seen, and “Swift: New and Selected Poems” by David Baker is for you if you like reading poems about the natural world.

If you like small bites of history, you’ll love “Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen” by Bria Raftery. It is full of pop culture and includes interviews never before seen. “The Cat Men of Gotham: Tales of Feline Friendships in Old New York” by Peggy Gavan uses the unassuming kitty to bring light to historic places in Manhattan, and “Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites” by Mary Giuliani is a memoir in short stories surrounded by recipes.

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Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Monday. Her columns may also be found online at

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