12 Chilling Reads for Hot Summer Days

The United States in the grips of a heat wave, and now is as good a time as any to stay in and read one of these great summertime horror and suspense titles.

The cover of the book JawsJaws

PETER BENCHLEY

Let’s go ahead and kick off our list with summer’s ultimate anti-beach read: Jaws. A big city cop accepts a job in a sleepy coastal town, only to arrive in time for an unprecedented string of shark attacks. The book and movie are different in a number of different ways. There’s an organized crime subplot, a little adultery, an unexpected death or two … It’s a great, pulpy read. Trust me: You won’t want to get into the water after you finish this thing.

 

The cover of the book The GirlsThe Girls

EMMA CLINE

Summer is a great time to get together with the family for a little fun — so long as that family is Charlie Manson’s. California teenager Evie Boyd joins what she thinks is a group of fun-loving hippies that turn out to be the acolytes of a charismatic criminal mastermind.

 

The cover of the book The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger

SARAH WATERS

How about a not-so-nice trip into the countryside? During the sweltering summer of 1948, a doctor is summoned for a house call at Hundreds Hall: a rambling Georgian mansion slipping into disrepair. The home’s occupants have a dark and tragic history — one hinted at by what might be a restless spirit roaming its halls.

 

The cover of the book Dark TalesDark Tales

SHIRLEY JACKSON

Summer vacation can be nice — just watch out for the locals. In Shirley Jackson’s story “The Summer People,” a couple vacationing at a lakeside cottage learns that lesson the hard way when they try to extend their stay past Labor Day. Nobody has ever lingered that long, and the locals are determined to see that it never happens.

 

The cover of the book The RuinsThe Ruins

SCOTT SMITH

A group of college kids partying away their summer in Mexico take a trip into the countryside to see some authentic Mesoamerican ruins. Their visit awakens an ancient menace — a very hungry one. Talk about a tourist trap!

 

The cover of the book ShadowlandShadowland

PETER STRAUB

Summers can be magical, but that’s not always a good thing. Two boys eager to learn magic decide to spend their summer with a relative who is a master of the art. Unbeknownst to them, he is a master of authentic black magic, and only one of them will live to see summer’s end.

 

The cover of the book Meddling KidsMeddling Kids

EDGAR CANTERO

Summer is for sleuthing, or at least it was until this group of mystery-loving teens had a run-in with real supernatural evil. Decades later, they’re still scarred by the experience, and the last thing they want to do is return to where it all started. Unfortunately, they’ve got no choice.

 

The cover of the book In the Dark of the NightIn the Dark of the Night

JOHN SAUL

It’s always nice to have a place to get away — as long as you have a way to get out. A Chicago family buying what they think is a nice summer home learns that they’re not the only occupants. Something evil lurks within its walls, and it has been waiting for them.

 

The cover of the book We Were LiarsWe Were Liars

E. LOCKHART

Who wouldn’t want their own private island: a place where you can enjoy your summer without worrying about what other people think … or whether they can see all the horrible things you’re  doing to the people who love and trust you? Shhhh!

 

The cover of the book Summer of Night Summer of Night

DAN SIMMONS

Good news: School is out, and it’s time for summer vacation. Bad news: Monsters are out there, and they want you dead. A group of school boys on the trail of a mystery learn that it leads to the doorstep of a supernatural horror in Summer of Night.

 

The cover of the book Summer, Fireworks, and My CorpseSummer, Fireworks, and My Corpse

OTSUICHI

This could be a summer to die for, if you’re not careful. Otsuichi’s “Summer” is the story of a young girl’s murder and her killers’ attempts to hide the body, as told from the perspective of the corpse. Nice and cheerful, right? Read it and two other tales of terror in this single volume.

 

The cover of the book Disappearance at Devil’s RockDisappearance at Devil’s Rock

PAUL TREMBLAY

Three boys having a summer sleepover slip out for a nighttime trip into a nearby national park. Only two of them return. Ghostly visions and frightening folklore add a hint of the supernatural to this already gripping tale of suspense.

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What Is the Perfect Beach Read Anyway?

A beach read is, on the surface, a fairly easy thing to understand. It’s a book you read at the beach…right? Or perhaps it’s a book you’d like to read at the beach. Maybe it’s just a book that takes place near an ocean?

There is no definitive answer. Like beauty, a beach read is in the eye of the beholder. We asked you on Facebook and Twitter to tell us what you think the term means. We’ve got your top responses below, along with some recommendations we think you’ll love!

Books That Draw You In

“I think of a beach read as anything that deeply engrosses me—I can’t put it down. I read Gone Girl while enjoying the beach…and I am thrilled to say I did not know the big twist. I remember when I finished that part of the novel, I put it down and just stared at the ocean for several minutes because I was so stunned,” says Mary.

Gone Girl The Killing Floor Final Girls One of Us Is Lying

Books with Short Chapters

“Something with very short chapters. Nice places to stop and easily restart when distracted,” says Rebecca.

Cat's Cradle The Art of Racing in the Rain Never Let Me Go The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Books That Make Your Heart Race

“My favorite beach reads are paperback gothic romances, the ones with the frightened young woman running away from the scary house on a cliff. I don’t know why, but I have been addicted to these books since I was a kid,” says Beverly.

Wuthering Heights Nine Coaches Waiting Rebecca House of Shadows

Books with Sunny Settings

“A plot associated with sunny weather: beach, water sports, sun, eating,” says Marren.

Barefoot Barbarian Days Along for the Ride The Food Explorer

Books That Make You Laugh

“Something easy and funny so that you can lift your eyes here and there to look at the beauty in front of you,” says Beatrix.

Good Omens The Rosie Project My Man Jeeves Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Books That Transport You

“A light-hearted book full of awesome adventure,” says Romi.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Crocodile on the Sandbank The Princess Bride Treasure Island

 

By Hayley, June 28, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

16 of the Hottest Romance Books of Summer

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the bookstore. This season’s crop of highly anticipated books has something for every reader with love and lust on the mind.

Are you ready for it? Here are the buzziest romances of the season.

All Your Perfects Dr. Strangebeard Between You & Me Dirty Sexy Player
Stygian The Governess Game Matchmaking for Beginners Even Money
The Kiss Quotient The Naked Truth Losing the Field Julien
Tight Quarters Cooper's Charm Blind Kiss Getting Schooled
By Hayley, June 19, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

Books to Film: Summer ’18 Edition

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot by John Callahan

609364DontWorryOfficialPoster.jpegMovie: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
When it comes out: July 13
What the book is about: In 1972, at the age of 21, John Callahan was involved in a car crash that severed his spine and made him a quadriplegic. A heavy drinker since the age of 12 (alcohol had played a role in his crash), the accident could have been the beginning of a downward spiral. Instead, it sparked a personal transformation. After extensive physical therapy, he was eventually able to grasp a pen in his right hand and make rudimentary drawings. By 1978, Callahan had sworn off drinking for good, and begun to draw cartoons. Over the next three decades, until his death in 2010, Callahan would become one of the nation’s most beloved—and at times polarizing—cartoonists.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

394255The Wife (2017 film).pngMovie: The Wife
When it comes out: August 3
What the book is about: “The moment I decided to leave him, the moment I thought, enough, we were thirty-five thousand feet above the ocean, hurtling forward but giving the illusion of stillness and tranquility. Just like our marriage.” So opens Meg Wolitzer’s compelling and provocative novel The Wife, as Joan Castleman sits beside her husband on their flight to Helsinki. Joan’s husband, Joseph Castleman, is “one of those men who own the world…who has no idea how to take care of himself or anyone else, and who derives much of his style from the Dylan Thomas Handbook of Personal Hygiene and Etiquette.” He is also one of America’s preeminent novelists, about to receive a prestigious international award to honor his accomplishments, and Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, has finally decided to stop.

 

Meg by Steve Alten

105744The Meg teaser poster.jpgMovie: The Meg
When it comes out: August 10
What the book is about: On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined.

 

Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

37901607A black man wearing a white hood, holding up a hair pick with his right hand and raising his left fist.Movie: BlacKkKlansman
When it comes out: August 10
What the book is about: In 1978 the community of Colorado Springs, Colorado experienced a growth of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) membership. One man dared to challenge their effort and thwart attempts to take over the city, Police Detective Ron Stallworth. He launched an undercover investigation into the Klan, gained membership into the organization, briefly served as Duke’s bodyguard, and was eventually asked to be the leader of the Colorado Springs chapter. The irony of this investigation was that Stallworth is… A Black man. In the process he battled internal departmental politics to successfully pull off this “sting.” Black Klansman explains how he overcame these obstacles and accomplished this almost unbelievable unique achievement.

 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

18373213Crazy Rich Asians poster.pngMovie: Crazy Rich Asians
When it comes out: 
August 15
What the book is about: 
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry.

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellström

9292518Image result for three seconds movie posterMovie: Three Seconds
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

 

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

184355Image result for little mermaid 2018 movie posterMovie: The Little Mermaid
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: There was once a little mermaid that fell in love with a human… This beloved story has been told and retold (and reworked) time and again, but the original is the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain the love of a prince and a human soul. A deal with a sea witch makes pursuing these dreams possible, but not without enduring a great deal of pain and, ultimately, heartache.

 

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

6224826Juliet, Naked PosterMovie: Juliet, Naked
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Annie loves Duncan — or thinks she does. Duncan loves Annie, but then, all of a sudden, he doesn’t. Duncan really loves Tucker Crowe, a reclusive Dylanish singer-songwriter who stopped making music ten years ago. Annie stops loving Duncan, and starts getting her own life.

 

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

538757Down A Dark Hall Poster.jpgMovie: Down a Dark Hall
When it comes out: August 17
What the book is about: Why does the exclusive boarding school Blackwood have only four students? Kit walks the dark halls and feels a penetrating chill. What terror waits around the next corner?

 

Papillon by Henri Charrière

6882Papillon 2018 poster.pngMovie: Papillon
When it comes out: August 24
What the book is about: Henri Charrière, called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil’s Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

 

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

319388Film poster for La librería, 2017.jpgMovie: The Bookshop
When it comes out: August 24
What the book is about: In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop – the only bookshop – in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town’s less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors’ lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence’s warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn’t always a town that wants one.

 

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

The Little StrangerThe Little Stranger (film).pngMovie: The Little Stranger
When it comes out: August 31
What the book is about: One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Traveler’s Tales of Magic, Terror, and Adventure

Will you be taking a vacation this summer? No? Well, we’ve got the next best thing. Enjoy these ten traveler’s tales of magic, terror, and adventure.

The cover of the book Moontide and Magic RiseMoontide and Magic Rise

SEAN RUSSELL

Magic is very nearly a thing of the past, and what is left of it is being rapidly replaced by science. Tristram Flattery is a naturalist, a practitioner of this new and modern discipline. When the ailing king summons Flattery to his court to nurse a dying plant to health — a plant with what appears to be magical properties — Flattery sets out on a grand voyage of discovery: one that will usher him into a conflict that will determine the course of civilization.

 

The cover of the book The Grand EllipseThe Grand Ellipse

PAULA VOLSKY

The republic of Vonahr is locked into a bitter battle to the death with a fanatical invading army, and their only hope of survival lies with Sentient Fire: a fire that follows the commands of its wielder. Unfortunately, the invention is in the hands of the king of Low Hetz: an eccentric leader intent on keeping his nation out of the conflict. Desperate, Vonahr sends an agent to change his mind. First she’ll have to gain an audience with him, though, and the only way to do that will be to win the Grand Ellipse: a grand journey that will test her strength, endurance, and ability to think on her feet.

 

The cover of the book The OdysseyThe Odyssey

HOMER

The story of a warrior’s long journey home, The Odyssey is the world’s greatest tale of travel and adventure. Follow Odysseus as he bests witches, gods, and magical monsters alike on an epic quest to find his way home and into the arms of the wife he left behind.

 

The cover of the book The RoadThe Road

CORMAC MCCARTHY

The Earth is dying, burned to cinders and plunged into perpetual winter by an unknown catastrophic event. With nothing but a pistol and a little food, a father and son set out on a journey to the coast. Cannibals and thieves, choking ash, and aching cold stand in their way, but the light of civilization must be maintained.

 

The cover of the book Invisible CitiesInvisible Cities

ITALO CALVINO

Marco Polo regales the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan with the tale of his travels to the great cities of the Khan’s empire. These are more than simple urban centers, though: The cities of Polo’s stories are tied inextricably to life’s greatest mysteries: death, desire, memory, and more.

 

The cover of the book A Natural History of DragonsA Natural History of Dragons

MARIE BRENNAN

Isabella, Lady Trent, the world’s preeminent dragon scholar, set out on an epic journey to the mountains of Vystrana to learn all she could about these magnificent creatures. This is her journal. Follow Isabella as she risks life and limb on a journey into dangerous dragon territory.

 

The cover of the book The Land AcrossThe Land Across

GENE WOLFE

A visit to a small Eastern European country turns into an absurdist nightmare for an American travel writer named Grafton. His passport confiscated, Grafton becomes a prisoner of bureaucratic, corrupt, and possibly supernatural forces. Is Grafton simply an innocent victim of a Kafkaesque conspiracy, or is there a very good reason for his detainment?

 

The cover of the book Move Under GroundMove Under Ground

NICK MAMATAS

Jack Kerouac is at the very tail-end of his career, washed-up and drunk in Big Sur when he learns that the city of R’lyeh is rising from the sea, and with it the ancient god Cthulhu. Shaken, Kerouac and his crew of writers and poets set out on a cross-country trip to stave off the Old Ones and save humanity — at least for a little while.

 

The cover of the book InfernoInferno

LARRY NIVEN AND JERRY POURNELLE

Newly deceased science fiction author Allen Carpentier has been sentenced to Hell, but he’s determined not to stay there. With the help of a mysterious guide named Bennie, Carpentier sets out on a journey into the underworld to meet Satan himself. Along the way, they’ll meet some of history’s greatest sinners and witness the tortures devised for them. If he’s lucky, Carpentier won’t join their ranks.

 

The cover of the book American GodsAmerican Gods

NEIL GAIMAN

A newly released con named Shadow accepts a job with a mysterious trickster named Mr. Wednesday. Now his bodyguard and driver, Shadow learns that a war is underway between the old gods of myth and the new ones of the modern era.