NPR’s 100 Best Beach Books Ever


NPR released the results of a poll conducted to determine the 100 best beach books.

Books on the list that I’ve already read:

  • The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling (1)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (2)
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (5)
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells (6)
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald (7)
  • The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (10)
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien (14)
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (15)
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (16)
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (18)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (21)
  • The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver (22)
  • The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (28)
  • Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (30)
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole (31)
  • Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier (36)
  • The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough (39)
  • Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice (43)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (47)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (55)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll (57)
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov (58)
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway (71)
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding (74)
  • Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë (76)
  • Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (77)

Books on the list that I want to read:

  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (3)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (8)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg (9)
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger (11)
  • Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen (20)
  • The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith (23)
  • Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel (27)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (35)
  • Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett (41)
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (42)
  • Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier (44)
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (56)
  • Dracula, by Bram Stoker (89)—I’m actually currently reading this one
  • Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger (92)

I’ve never read any Donna Tartt, but I’ve heard good things. Would you recommend the book on the list (93)—The Secret History—or something else by her?

Which books on the list have you read? Which ones do you want to?


5 thoughts on “NPR’s 100 Best Beach Books Ever

  1. Hmm, when I think of beach reads I think of fluff so some of these wouldn't be on my list. well, at least not for the beach!

    I would recommend The Secret History – although it's been ages since I read it that I hardly remember anything of it. Just that I liked it 🙂

    1. I know what you mean. I think there has been a trend on recent lists to try to tackle harder books during the summer. Remember a few years ago when Oprah's summer reading books were William Faulkner?

  2. The Secret History is a good beach read, absorbing but not taxing. Donna Tartt uses a real vocabulary too. Anna Karenina, a beach read? Not on my beach chair! I'm one of those nuts who re-reads the Austen oeuvre every couple of years.

    Do you like mysteries? Elizabeth George is excellent beach reading. Did you read the Thursday Next books by Fforde? Also great fun.


    1. I read the first Thursday Next series, but haven't read First Among Sequels yet. I also read The Big Over Easy and love it, too. Jasper Fforde is a definite favorite.

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