When you’re a kid, summer reading can feel like punishment — but by the time you’re an adult, beach reads are the stuff dreams are made of.
And, it turns out, reading is a critical part of staving off Alzheimer’s, according to Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai — plus, it can help improve and maintain brain health. In “The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age,” the Sherzais outline five important ways people should aim to maintain brain health. Using the acronym NEURO, which stands for nutrition, exercise, unwind, restore and optimize, the team also places a significant importance on reading.
According to the peer-reviewed journal Neurology, reading boosts brain power and improves memory function by giving your brain a workout, the same way going for a run gives your heart some exercise. And reading can also make you more empathetic, according to a 2014 PLOS One study that suggests reading fiction can improve readers’ ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes.
For author Jo Piazza, reading is an essential part of life. During the summer months, she told Moneyish, “I love a good highbrow beach read. I want my beach reads at the perfect Venn intersection of trashy-scandalous and intellectual. I want to be entertained and feel a little smarter for reading it.” While writing “Charlotte Walsh Likes To Win,” Piazza said, “I wanted to create enough of an escape for people who want to shoot themselves every time they turn on the news, but I also wanted readers to walk away and feel inspired and excited about women running for office.”
It turns out that reading isn’t for everyone: The Huffington Post and YouGov released a poll at the end of 2017 reporting that 28% of adults in the United States hadn’t read a single book that year. But thanks to movies like this month’s “Book Club” and celebs like Emma Watson and Reese Witherspoon curating reading lists for their social media followers, reading stands to gain a rewarding reputation.
“I personally like to read an absorbing story like a great science fiction or mystery novel, but I often read classics when I’m on vacation,” John Evans, co-owner of Diesel, an independent bookstore with locations in northern and southern California, told Moneyish. “Most people ask for something they can just fall deeply into, where the storytelling seizes you and transports you.” Currently, he said, beach reads flying off his shelves include “Tangerine” by Christine Mangan, “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee and “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones.
“We find that people like faster-paced books like thrillers, romances, coming-of-age stories and stories about success in the city. Basically, murder, sex and money,” Donna Garban of Little City Books in Hoboken told Moneyish. Her favorites for the summer include “How Hard Can It Be” by Allison Pearson, “You Will Know Me and Give Me Your Hand” by Megan Abbott and “Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh.
Here are 10 books worth reading this summer:
“Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win” by Jo Piazza
Known for her books “The Knock Off,” “How to Be Married” and “Fitness Junkie,” Piazza in her newest novel follows a woman who wants it all but isn’t sure how much she’s willing to sacrifice for it.
“Unwifeable” by Mandy Stadtmiller
Jenny McCarthy referred to Stadtmiller as a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw” after reading this memoir of a single 30-something writer who is looking for love in all the wrong places. “I knew when I was writing ‘Unwifeable’ that it would be a great beach read because that old adage is true: If you laugh or cry yourself when you are writing, the reader will too,” Stadtmiller told Moneyish.
“The Lido” by Libby Page
Settle into the sand with this feel-good novel that covers love, loss, aging and friendships in Brixton, London.
“When Life Gives you Lululemons” by Lauren Weisberger
Everyone’s favorite former magazine assistant, Emily Charlton, takes to the suburbs to try and make a professional comeback in this “The Devil Wears Prada” sequel.
“A Place for Us” by Fatima Farheen Mirza
In the debut novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s Hogarth, this narrative of an Indian-American Muslim family spans decades as siblings explore the intricacies of cultural traditions and the new world.
“The Favorite Sister” by Jessica Knoll
If you’re all too familiar with society’s pressures to stay young and relevant, this tale of five women starring on a reality television series might hit close to home. In an unexpected twist, there’s a murder and an intense exploration of the barriers women face that prevent them from rising up the ranks.
“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer
This comic love story novel follows Arthur Less on a trip around the world, and it’s such a memorable one, that the book won a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
“The Perfect Couple” by Elin Hilderbrand
Complete with a cover featuring an aerial beach photo, this novel takes place in Nantucket and chronicles a murder in the Harbor just a few hours before a lavish wedding is set to take place.
“Florida” by Lauren Groff
The sunshine state’s landscape, climate, history and state of mind are what make Groff’s novel the perfect accompaniment to the beach.
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
Chronicling four generations of a Korean family, this National Book Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of 2017 follows a teenager at the turn of the century who falls for a wealthy stranger that she soon learns is already married.
“Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan
This multifaceted tale of the first female diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, the mysterious disappearance of her father and the old acquaintance she reunites with will keep you turning the page from sun up to sun down this summer.
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