This week's edition of BookPageXTRA is all about beach reads. We're also celebrating beach reads in the June and July issues of BookPage. In fact, in the issues, you will see this symbol (at the left) designating which books are vacation-worthy and perfect for your summer reading list.

In my personal opinion, a "beach read" is simply a page-turner—a book with a compelling enough story to keep me interested in the pages under my nose rather than the waves in front of me. :)

However, I thought it would be fun to highlight some book that actually take place near the water. Here are 15 beachy beach reads. They're not all easy-breezy . . . but I can guarantee that they're all worth reading.

Anything to add to the list? What are you reading this summer?

The Art of Keeping Secrets by Patti Callahan Henry
Southern writer Patti Callahan Henry has been compared to Anne Rivers Siddons, Mary Alice Monroe and Dorothea Benton Frank. With a touch as graceful as a twilight breeze, she explores the lives of women—old and young and in-between—in novels like Losing the Moon and Between the Tides. Her fifth book, The Art of Keeping Secrets, is a delicately wrought exploration of the unlikely relationship that forms between two women, Annabelle and Sofie, after the untimely death of Annabelle's husband, Knox Murphy, in a plane crash. Read more>>

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Brooks approaches her latest novel through the character of Bethia Mayfield, a minister’s daughter with a hungry mind who has picked up her learning a piece at a time while eavesdropping on the lessons of her older (and less intellectual) brother Makepeace. Bethia meets Caleb Cheeshahteaumauk while gathering clams on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, near Gay Head. The daughter of a minister and the granddaughter of the island’s governor, both of whom pride themselves on their good relationships and just dealings with the native tribes, Bethia is less intimidated by an Indian boy her own age than the average colonial girl. When she speaks to him in his language, a friendship is born. Read more>>

Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve
Written in a richly wrought style evocative of the age, Fortune's Rocks is set a century ago, in an affluent seaside community in upstate New York. It follows the life of self-possessed Olympia Biddeford. Fifteen years old when the book opens, Olympia has reached the moment when, as a character tells her, "a girl becomes a woman. The bud of a woman, perhaps. And she is never so beautiful as in this period of time, however brief." Read more>>

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
In the Heart of the Sea
by Nathaniel Philbrick details the little-known incident that provided Melville with the foundation of Moby Dick. In 1820, the whaling ship Essex, out of Nantucket, was deliberately hit and sunk in the south Pacific by an enraged sperm whale. The ship's stunned crew of 20 was forced to make their way across 3,000 miles of open ocean to the western coast of South America. It took three months, and along the way they faced death, dehydration, starvation, and ultimately, cannibalism. Read more>>

The Land of Mango Sunsets by Dorothea Benton Frank
Frank's work explores the themes of childhood memories, loss and, above all, the beautiful islands of South Carolina. The Land of Mango Sunsets features Miriam Swanson, a late-40s desperado who is barely clinging to a joyless New York high society lifestyle. Married at 18, Miriam now finds herself bitter and demoralized by a messy divorce. She fought gracelessly against the rift and drove a wedge between herself and her beloved sons, her future daughter-in-law and her grandchildren. With no college degree and no career to buffer the blow, Miriam's days stretch out in a series of desperate, panic-ridden moments. Read more>>

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Maine revolves around the Kelleher family, a large Boston Irish-Catholic clan that has been vacationing for nearly 60 years at the same beachfront cottage, which fell into their laps in a bit of uncharacteristic luck. Weather-worn but packed with years of sun-soaked memories, the cottage was once a uniting force for the Kellehers, but in recent years, it seems to have been little more than a nuisance, and the family matriarch is preparing to make a rash decision about its future. Read more>>

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
The crucial action in On Chesil Beach takes place within just a few hours on the wedding night of a young English couple in 1962. The year is key, for though chronologically part of the decade, 1962 was, culturally, eons away from the Swinging Sixties that would usher in new freedoms and laissez-faire attitudes about sex just a few years later. Newlyweds Edward Mayhew and Florence Ponting, not long out of university, are both still virgins on their wedding night, and the overlapping anticipation and anxiety of what they will encounter in the marriage bed provide the drama of the story. They live, we are told, in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. Read more>>

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
Elizabeth Philpot, a middle-class spinster, has just moved to Lyme Regis, a town on the southern coast of England, with her sisters. She falls in love with scouring the beaches for fossils, and meets a young girl and fellow fossil-hunter, Mary Anning. As Mary grows up and the two follow their shared passion, they find themselves making discoveries that cause a stir in the scientific community and hold implications for science and religion that they could never have foreseen. Read more>>

Siren's Surrender by Devyn Quinn
Devyn Quinn crafts an imaginative romance about mermaids and the human men who love them in Siren’s Surrender. FBI agent Blake Whittaker returns to his hometown of Port Rock, Maine, to investigate an odd undersea earthquake and an archaeologist who went missing as a result. There, Blake comes in contact with Gwen Lonike and her two sisters. His attraction to the innkeeper is immediate, but so is trouble. Read more>>

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen
An unscrupulous marine biologist with "Ken-doll good looks" and "priapic affability," Chaz Perrone was sure he'd seen the last of his wife when he pushed her over the railing of the Sun Duchess cruise ship off the coast of Florida. But Joey Perrone, a former championship swimmer, survived the fall and clung to a bale of Jamaican hashish long enough to be rescued by retired cop Mick Stranahan. Read more>>

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
Susanna Daniel’s Stiltsville is rooted in a community of stilt houses towering above Biscayne Bay, Florida, where the author spent much of her childhood. Daniel masterfully evokes the sticky Miami heat and refreshing ocean breezes, but there is so much more to these pages than fetching seaside images. Read more>>

Swim by Lynn Sherr
Journalist Lynn Sherr, best known for her work as a correspondent on ABC’s “20/20,” describes her interest in swimming as "an obsession, benign but obstinate." In Swim: Why We Love the Water, she chronicles her love of the sport, culminating in her landmark long-distance swim of the Hellespont, the strait that separates Europe from Asia. Along with her personal journey, she offers a quick trip through the history of swimming, with fascinating tidbits about swimmers of old and their modern counterparts. Read more>>

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
Under Holly LeCraw’s spell, what could have been pure pulp is instead a passionate and suspenseful family drama and murder mystery, set during the sultry summertime of Cape Cod. LeCraw skillfully alternates between past and present, allowing the reader to observe Marcella Atkinson’s affair with Cecil McClatchey; the consequences it has on both her family and his; and her later relationship with Jed, Cecil’s son. Read more>

The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Schine
As the world she knows unravels, Betty’s daughters—the passionate Miranda, a famous literary agent, and the more subdued Annie, a sensible library director—rally around her in support. Forced out of her elegant New York apartment by her husband’s mistress, Betty, joined by her girls, takes refuge in her cousin Lou’s cramped, run-down beach cottage in Westport, Connecticut. As they mingle with suburban socialites, they discover love in unexpected places—and truths about themselves and each other. Read more>>

When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle
Trouble is brewing on the Channel Islands, off the coast of Santa Barbara. Here, on America’s version of the Galapagos Islands, many unique species are under assault. Someone has inadvertently introduced a species of rat—rattus rattus—to this fragile and ecologically rich area, and the rats are driving out rare, more exotic animals. The problem creates two warring camps. On one side, crusader Alma Boyd Takesue proposes to kill the rats with a method as humane as possible, so that the Islands’ delicate biological balance can survive. Read more>>

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