Nothing complements a lazy beach day quite like a good book. Yes, everyone needs an escape while taking in some sunshine, and a well-woven story does just that. Luckily, 2022’s newest books serve as the best beach reads, ever — and they run quite the gamut, too. Yes, this year’s fresh crop caters to every kind of reader, from the non-fiction and memoir enthusiast to the crime and caper lovers.
Take, for instance, the book that was arguably the most anticipated of the year. Amy Odell’s Anna: The Biography is a must for the fashion set who want to learn more about the real Anna Wintour (longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue), the woman behind the signature oversized sunnies and sleek bob haircut. Another winner for those who prefer non-fiction is Left On Tenth, by legendary screenwriter Delia Ephron. While known for her iconic ‘90s rom-coms like You’ve Got Mail, Ephron’s memoir proves the greatest story she’s ever told is her own.
And for those who love a little romance and/or tales of friendship, you’re in luck. Jean Chen Ho’s debut novel Fiona and Jane will help you pass the time beachside with its heartfelt tale of a decades-long female friendship that’s as complex as it is unconditional. And if crime and mystery is more your jam, don’t sleep on Isabel Cañas novel The Hacienda. The gothic novel takes on supernatural forces that threaten a woman’s new love and marriage.
Ahead, 12 worthy summer reads that you’ll be taking in poolside, beachside, or wherever you find respite this season.
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Memoirs & Biographies
Get lost in the book everyone’s talking about and that The New York Times dubbed “A wealth of delightful details…Odell’s insights into how fashion magazines work (or worked) are fascinating….You’ll walk away knowing every step—and misstep—in Wintour’s famous ascent to the heights of magazinedom.”
“In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever,” says Davis in her description of this memoir. Indeed, the Academy Award-winning actor takes readers on an inspirational journey from her humble childhood in a “a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island” to the big screen where she captured hearts around the world.
The queen of romantic comedies (and sister of the late Nora Ephron) is now sharing her story, which is complete with love, loss, and heartbreak. Actor Natasha Lyonne says this of the poignant memoir: “Delia masterfully and hilariously reminds us that there is always more life to be found just around the corner. A powerful, beautiful, life affirming testament to hope and meaning in the darkest hour. Somehow it felt like the answers to all of the big questions were immediately lurking in the text, and like any decent existentialist and searcher, I couldn’t put it down and finished it in one sitting.”
Writer Danielle Friedman takes a deep dive into fitness culture and how women found freedom (and sometimes captivity) in the gym. “Friedman’s engaging stories of the women who created and transformed the fitness industry illustrate an evolution built upon strong female shoulders,” says The Washington Post.
Picking up after the tragic death of Princess Diana The Palace Papers tells the story of how the royal family struggled with damage control over the past 25 years. “Zingers crisscross these pages like tracer fire. . . . [Tina Brown] becomes the ideal tour guide: witty, opinionated and adept at moving us smoothly from bedchamber to belowstairs while offering side trips to the cesspits of the tabloid press, the striving world of second-tier celebrities and the threadbare lodgings of palace supernumeraries,” says The Wall Street Journal.
This fashion deep dive asks all the questions fashion lovers have likely asked themselves over the years, like Why has “French Girl” style persisted as the standard for decades? and How has social media impacted our sense of self? One reviewer raved: “I don't know much about fashion, and this is the first book I've ever read on the topic, but Véronique Hyland's insight and wit make these essays a rich exploration into our culture and society more broadly — I catch myself seeing the world around me differently since picking up this book!”
Love & Relationships
In her debut novel, Jean Chen Ho explores the many facets of female friendship — resentment, loyalty, and unconditional love — through its titular characters Fiona and Jane. Vogue’s Lisa Wong Macabasco reviewed: “Jean Chen Ho’s debut collection . . . evokes a distinctive multi-ethnic Asian American experience coming of age in Los Angeles in the late 20th century: R&B mixtapes, Cool Water cologne, red faces drunk on soju. . . . Through shifting perspectives and evocative milieus (from night markets to seedy Korean bars and exclusive clubs), the assemblage comes as close to a primer on modern L.A. Asian American rites of passage as anything in recent memory.”
This great love story by Serle is between a mother and daughter who become reacquainted in an unexpected and supernatural way — in Positano, no less. “A touching story…the mother-daughter bond is made palpable through Katy’s grief and desire for connection,” says Publishers Weekly.
Emezi’s novel of a young woman seeking healing after the devastating loss of the love of her life addresses self-discovery and healing from deep grief. "Fans of Emezi’s previous work will find comfort in the writer’s striking prose and well-layered characters but will also revel in the author’s bold first attempts at romance. At once a love story and a tale of deep grief, the novel beautifully displays the bravery of choosing love even in times of total despair," reviews Vulture.
Kristin Chen’s fast-paced novel is for the fashion-lover who enjoys a little mystery ... not to mention a designer handbag. “A con artist story, a pop-feminist caper, a fashionable romp . . . Counterfeit is an entertaining, luxurious read — but beneath its glitz and flash, it is also a shrewd deconstruction of the American dream and the myth of the model minority. . . . Chen is up to something innovative and subversive here," says Camille Perri, in her review for The New York Times.
Described as a cross between Mexican Gothic and Rebecca, Cañas’ debut novel tells the story of a woman fighting the supernatural in her new husband’s home, that holds secrets she never could’ve imagines. “A thing of uncanny, chilling beauty. Hauntings, exorcisms, incantations, forbidden love — The Hacienda transports one to a world where love triumphs over demons,” says The New York Times.
May Cobb’s tale of three friends who become equally obsessed with a handsome (and mysterious) new stranger is about as spicy as it gets. "Bold, sultry, and unapologetic, My Summer Darlings is destined to become your next obsession. May Cobb is the queen of complicated female characters, and the ladies of Eden Place won't be ones you'll soon forget. A simmering, sexy read best accompanied by a strong cocktail," says Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here.