This is the time of year when everyone starts talking about “Beach Reads”. So what exactly is a beach read? First of all, you don’t have to be at the beach, or even on vacation to read one. The term simply implies you’re relaxing and don’t want a book that is too challenging or slow. It’s sort of like tasty junk food for your mind.

HoSTwo genres that are often touted as beach reads are thrillers and women’s fiction. Not surprisingly, these genres account Scandalousfor a good share of the books on the best seller lists. The current list includes titles by thriller writers James Patterson, David Baldacci, Brad Meltzer, Brad Thor and Stuart Woods. Women’s fiction authors on the list are Elin Hilderbrand, Mary Kay Andrews, Dorothea Benton Frank and Jojo Moyes. Although there’s a good chance their current bestsellers are checked out or on hold, all these authors have other books, so it’s likely one of their other titles is available for check-out.

DarkestOther popular thriller writers with fast-paced, gripping plots that are perfect for summer reading are John Sandford, James Grippando and Jonathan Kellerman. Women’s fiction authors known for their escapist summer stories are Nancy Thayer, Jennifer Weiner, Kristin Hannah and Emily Giffin.

Every year there seems to be a book that is the “it book” of the season, and for the past couple of years that book has been a thriller. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn two years ago and last year’s Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins captivated readers with their twisty-turny plots. Authors who write similar stories include Rosemary Lupton, Elizabeth Haynes, S. J. Watson, Lisa Unger and Tana French.

BeachAfterYouThis year, it’s not just a hot book, but a hot author. Jojo Moyes is riding high on the bestseller list with After You, even as readers clamor for the prequel, Me before You, which came out as a movie this spring. Authors who write emotionally intense stories similar to Moyes’s include Nicholas Sparks, LIane Moriarty, Jane Green and Penny Vincenzi.

summerlandI recently read two new books that qualify as “beach reads”. One was a thriller, Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry. The other was a women’s fiction story, The Space Between Sisters by Mary McNear. The thriller was tense and gripping, while the women’s fiction book was lighter but still dealt with serious themes. And they both kept me up late reading, which is sort of what a beach read is all about.

Fast and furious , or emotionally compelling, whatever your reading taste, we can help you find the perfect beach read. Just ask for reader’s advisory advice at the 1st Floor Ask Here Desk.

~Mary Gillgannon