30Seconds Summer Reading List: Must-Read Books That Belong in Your Beach Bag by 30Seconds Mom

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30Seconds Summer Reading List: Must-Read Books That Belong in Your Beach Bag

Looking for some books to add to your summer reading list? The book lovers in the 30Seconds tribe have shared some of their favorites or ones they are currently reading. If you know of a book or two that are must-reads, tell us about them in the comments section so we can add them to this ever-growing list! 

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The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey
The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey $20
Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, “Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible.” That journey starts right here. Recommended by Ashley Benton.
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Life of Pi by Yann Martel $20
Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. Recommended by Debra Taylor.
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter $17
What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all? Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we? Currently being read by Elisa All Schmitz.
Becoming by Michelle OBama
Becoming by Michelle OBama $24
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. This book is at the top of Elisa All Schmitz's to-read list.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn $12
For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, published in forty-one languages around the world and in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house. Recommended by Jessica L. Williams.
Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom and Abundance on Your Terms by Denise Duffield Thomas
Chillpreneur: The New Rules for Creating Success, Freedom and Abundance on Your Terms by Denise Duffield Thomas $15
Full of reassuring and practical advice, this book challenges the old, boring assumptions of what it takes to create success in business, so you can create financial independence with ease and grace. Recommended by Jessica L. Williams.
Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Niequist
Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes by Shauna Niequist $11
A collection of essays about family relationships, friendships and the meals that bring us together. This mix of Anne Lamott and Barefoot Contessa is a funny, honest and vulnerable spiritual memoir. Recommended by Erin Musto.
Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Shaefer
Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Shaefer $19
A personal and sociological examination – and ultimately a celebration – of the evolution of female friendship in pop culture and modern society. Currently being read by Jessica Ann Lawrence.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng $10
From the bestselling author of "Everything I Never Told You," a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Recommended by Elisa All Schmitz.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See $17
In 19th-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). This book is a brilliantly realistic journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. Currently being read by Donna John.
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger $11
A delicious sequel to "The Devil Wears Prada," exploring what it’s like to be a woman buffeted by conflicting messages about career, relationships and motherhood. Recommended by a friend to Elisa All Schmitz.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty $16
Could 10 days at a health resort really change you forever? In Liane Moriarty’s latest page-turner, nine perfect strangers are about to find out. Currently being enjoyed by Renee Herren.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover $17
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Recommended by Kim King-Hypes.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate $16
Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals – in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country – Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong. Recommended by Kim King-Hypes.
The Night Visitors by Carole Goodman
The Night Visitors by Carole Goodman $11
Alice gets off a bus in the middle of a snowstorm in Delphi, N.Y. She is fleeing an abusive relationship and desperate to protect. Oren, 10 years old, a major Star Wars fan and wise beyond his years. Though Alice is wary, Oren bonds nearly instantly with. Mattie, a social worker in her 50s who lives in an enormous run-down house in the middle of the woods. Recommended by Kendall Swann Eyerly.
Beartown by Fredrick Backman
Beartown by Fredrick Backman $13
The bestselling author of "A Man Called Ove" returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream — and the price required to make it come true. Recommended by Kimberly Clark Johnson.
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
That Book Woman by Heather Henson $10
A rare and moving tale that honors a special part of American history -- the Pack Horse Librarians, who helped untold numbers of children see the stories amid the chicken scratch, and thus made them into lifetime readers. Recommended by Kim King-Hypes.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager $10
In the latest thriller from the bestselling author of "Final Girls," a young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened there 15 years ago. Recommended by Rainey Niklawski.
Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert
Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert $11
With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Halfpint" Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife and mother. Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis $13
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we’ve told ourselves so often we don’t even hear them anymore. Recommended by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead.
As You Wish by Jude Deveraux
As You Wish by Jude Deveraux $11
One fateful summer, three very different women find themselves together in Summer Hill, Va., where they discover they have much more in common than they realized. A heartfelt, magical tale, this book is a shining example of Jude Deveraux’s enchanting storytelling that will charm longtime fans and delight a new generation of readers. Recommended by Elisa All Schmitz.
Something In the Water by Catherine Steadman
Something In the Water by Catherine Steadman $12
A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut – for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena. Recommended by Elisa All Schmitz.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande $10
Atul Gawande, a practicing surgeon, has fearlessly revealed the struggles of his profession. Now he examines its ultimate limitations and failures-in his own practices as well as others'-as life draws to a close. Riveting, honest, and humane, "Being Mortal" shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life-all the way to the very end. Recommended by Stephanie Cannoe.
The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson $11
Set over the course of three days, "The President Is Missing" sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years. Recommended by Dieter Schmitz.
The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood $12
Provocative, startling, prophetic, "The Handmaid’s Tale" has long been a global phenomenon. With this stunning graphic novel adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s modern classic, beautifully realized by artist Renée Nault, the terrifying reality of Gilead has been brought to vivid life like never before. Recommended by Mindy Hudon.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn $12
In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women – a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947 – are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption. Recommended by Terri Jones.
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon $16
In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything. Terri Jones says this historical fiction book is a "mind-blower."
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving $11
In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys — best friends — are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary. "My favorite book of all time," says Dawn Taylor.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Where the Crawdads Sing $17
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, this book is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps. "It is truly amazing. It makes you pause and think about passing judgement on people. Do yourself a favor and read this book," says Jessica Ann Lawrence.
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell $8
Ellie Mack was the perfect daughter. She was 15, the youngest of three. She was beloved by her parents, friends and teachers. She and her boyfriend made a teenaged golden couple. She was days away from an idyllic post-exams summer vacation, with her whole life ahead of her. And then she was gone. Rainey Niklawski says this book is "well put together and interesting until the very end."
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood $12
An unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake – through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Sheri Doyle loves this book, and "actually the entire MaddAddam trilogy."
Two If By Sea by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Two If By Sea by Jacquelyn Mitchard $12
An epic story of courage and devotion that spans three continents and the entire map of the human heart. This book is about the best and worst in people, and the possibility of heroism and even magic in ordinary life. Sheri Doyle says it's "an incredible look at the life of Syrian refugees."
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom $8
The latest New York Times bestseller from the author of the beloved book club favorite "The Kitchen House" is a heart-racing story about a man’s treacherous journey through the twists and turns of the Underground Railroad on a mission to save the boy he swore to protect. Highly recommended by Donna John if you enjoy historical fiction.
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach $13
A missing woman leads her twin sister on a twisted scavenger hunt in this clever debut novel with eccentric, dysfunctional characters who will keep you guessing until the end.

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Terri Jones
I've heard that's great! Will check it out.
Erin Musto
I need to get this one
Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds
Oh, how I love this! I am always looking for great reading recos, and who better to recommend their faves than our amazing community! Can't wait to read your suggestions, thanks. What do you chicas think? Donna John Meredith Schneider Holly Budde Toni B Andrea Hinckley Jamie-May King Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP melinda Tiffany C
Terri Jones
I'm currently reading "The Alice Network" because I'm a nut for anything about WWII. It has a slow start, but if you hang in there, it's intriguing! I also highly recommend "What the Wind Knows." It's also historical fiction and a real mind blower!
Mindy Hudon, M.S., CCC-SLP
I am hooked on "Handmaid's Tale." I love the show on Hulu and am really into the book now. You can download it for free from Amazon on Kindle!
Donna John
I definitely want to read "Handmaid's Tale." Thanks for the tip about being about to download it.
Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
Great list! I'd probably add Girl, Wash Your Face. I'm reading the Glass Castle now- a great read but not particularly "beachy." :)
Donna John
Just ordered "Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes" by Shauna Niequist. It will be the first of many I order from this list. Thanks for the suggestion, Erin Musto !
Donna John
I am really enjoying this book. Can you tell I started reading it at the deer lease? lol Need to finish it before "Bread and Wine" arrives! :)
Donna John
Finished "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" last night and got "Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table With Recipes" in the mail today. #lifeisgood Terri Jones , I know you like historical fiction. Do you want me to mail it to you? I wouldn't mind at all. Just email me your address.
Sheri B Doyle
One of my favorites was "Oryx & Crake", actually the entire MadAdam trilogy.
Also "Two If By Sea" was an incredible look at the life of Syrian refugees.
Dawn Taylor
Donna John so glad you added “A Prayer for Owen Meany”. Trust me, it is such a powerful read that is funny, heartbreaking and amazing!
Donna John
Love that this just keeps growing!

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