Dipsea's 2021 summer reading list


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The term "beach read" is a complicated moniker. Colloquially, it refers to the big blockbuster books publishing houses put out, typically in late spring, that are expected to be consumed en masse during the following season. Saying something is a beach read is meant to imply the book has wide appeal, which is a good thing. However, it has also been used to describe books that are easily consumed, or to put it another way, mindless reading.

To that, we say, shut up! Bingable books make wonderful vacation companions, but so do any books you might choose to throw in your beach bag. In the same way that the perfect beach body is any body on the beach, a beach read is any book that's got some sand in its pages and a little sea spray on the cover. Super digestible, breezy books that are light and fun? Beach read! Dense theory where you might have to read each line twice? Also, beach read! And both are equally wonderful.

We love to challenge convention at Dipsea, so it's no surprise that our team's summer beach reads run the gamut from fresh and new to older classics that deserve a second look. Check out our picks below, and consider picking up a copy (or two!) from the library or a local bookstore before you head out!

“Breasts and Eggs” by Mieko Kawakami

There's so much to say about this book, but I figured I'd just let it speak for itself. This is one of my favorite passages:

“Well, we use words to communicate, right? Still, most of our words don’t actually get across. You know what I mean? Well, our words might, but not what we’re actually trying to say. That’s what we’re always dealing with. We live in this place, in this world, where we can share our words but not our thoughts.”

  • Liz Sommerville, Customer Experience Specialist

"Luster" by Raven Leilani

This is the book that you will finish and then immediately recommend to every single one of your friends and coworkers so that you can have someone new to talk about it with. Small internal moments shine in this book that has a whoooole lot to say about race, and sex, and age, and class, and growing up, and what it means to be a ~ millennial ~ uninterested (but maybe interested?) in conventional romance. You will read devour this in a weekend and be so incredibly sad that it’s over, and that you’ll never be able to read it for the first time again.

  • Kara Hart, Audio Producer

"Big Friendship" by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Do yourself (and all of your Big Friends) a favor and read this book. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman use their multifaceted friendship—the ups & downs, the plateaus, and the almost ending of it—to explore how to stay close to our most important people. After reading this, you will feel more equipped to do the hard, rewarding, juicy work of growing your Big Friendships.

  • Kara Hart, again! I couldn't pick just one!

"Mona" by Pola Oloixarac

“She ingests more Valium than food, wears blood-red Chanel lipstick, pseudonymously trolls her critics online, masturbates to fantasies of terror, and worries about an unfinished novel.” When the New Yorker describes the main character of a book this way, you’ve gotta read it. Gasping out loud and then looking around to see if the people around you are staring is part of reading this short (like >200 pages) and incredibly fulfilling book.

  • Kara Hart, ok this was the last one I promise!

"Conversation's With Friends" by Sally Rooney

I was late to the game, by like four years, but my god, I'm glad I finally picked this book up. I devoured its 336 pages on a sun-soaked porch, which is basically like reading on the beach, over the course of three days. I couldn't put it down, and when I absolutely had to, I actually missed the characters. I'd be making dinner, thinking to myself, "I wonder what Frances is up to right now," as if she was my long lost bff. If you're looking for a more vulnerable, modern take on Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," this book is it, and it will absolutely break your heart.

  • Liz Levitch, Senior Brand Manager

"Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo

I’m a slow, distracted reader and this is the only book I couldn’t put down this year. It’s a polyphonic novel, packed with interconnected stories of a group of Black British women across time and generations. Each character has a chapter, within the chapters their lives overlap, but their experiences, backgrounds and choices could not be more different. I loved how the author, with each storyline, brings the reader round to a position of empathy. The characters are flawed and complex, you might not like some of them in the beginning, but you’ll understand them all in the end.

  • Chiara Castagnini, Engagement Marketing Manager

The Selected Works of Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde is the perfect example of a writer who doesn't hold anything back. She's vulnerable, sensual, and unapologetic. This book includes her poetry and her prose so it's easy to change gears if you'd rather read an essay or switch to a poem. Lorde celebrates herself and bodies in all forms. She doesn't shy away from speaking openly about identity. Every time I read her work I feel empowered.

  • Jade Jones, Staff Writer

"A Field Guide to Getting Lost" by Rebecca Solnit

A collection of essays that ponders what it means to get lost. I’ve had this one on my bedside for a while, and every time I pick it up I end up copying down a quote or two. It’s a perfect companion for a summer of adventuring, hiking, and deep thinking.

  • Olivia Taylor, Senior Content Editor

"Detransition, Baby" by Torrey Peters

Listen, just read this freaking book. Torrey Peters is brilliant and her novel is literally just stunning. It’s simultaniously heartbreaking and searingly funny, all while remaining incredibly grounded in the present moment. Usually when I read fiction I am looking to escape the world, but Peters' novel sets you so squarely in it it's almost like you're seeing everything around you with new eyes. It's unapologetically queer and makes no concessions to a straight audience that may or may not understand exactly what's happening. And that's part of what makes it so great!

  • Garrett Schlichte, Brand Copywriter

“Sarahland” by Sam Cohen

A collection of short stories all tied together because the characters are named Sarah? Absolutely sign me up! Cohen’s stories are both bizarre and also very, very real. A personal favorite is one where two lesbians both decide that they will become trees. Do they pull it off? You’ll just have to read it and find out!

  • Garrett Schlichte, sorry I had two, too!

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