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The Summer 2022 Culture Preview: 44 Best New Beach Reads

best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The approach of the summer season always makes us want to pack a tote with a great book and head for the nearest beach, porch, hammock or park bench. If you’re similarly inclined, as part of our Summer 2022 Arts & Culture Preview, we’re sharing some of the most-anticipated books of the new season. Here’s our list of the best new beach books to read in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other new non-fiction.

the summer 2022 culture preview: 44 best new beach reads

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

 

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Here’s our take on the best new beach books to read in summer 2022, including romance, mystery, thriller, general fiction novels and non-fiction. Somewhere on this list, there’s the perfect book (or two, or three . . . ) for your summer vacation.

Novels/General Fiction

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best beach books and novels to read on vacation in summer 2022.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

1. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

 

best beach books to read in summer 2022, including romance, mystery, thriller, fiction and nonfiction books,

In Remarkably Bright Creatures, Tova Sullivan is no stranger to grief, and after her husband’s death, she decides to work the night shift at the aquarium in order to keep herself busy. With the help of a giant octopus named Marcellus, Tova discovers a friendship and reckoning that sets her on a path of healing.

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2. This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books.

One day short of 40 years, in This Time Tomorrow, Alice has very few complaints about her current life, although she can’t help but feel like something is missing. When she wakes in the body of her 16-year-old self, she is able to look at her life, and especially her relationship with her father, from an entirely new perspective.

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3. The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand.

 

When Lizbet is named the new general manager of the eponymous property in the new novel The Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes she can win over the new billionaire owner. She’s also aiming to please an Instagram tastemaker who could put the hotel on the map. But there’s a lot of drama behind closed doors at this property –  including a gleeful resident ghost.

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4. Elektra by Jennifer Saint.

 

New from the author of Ariadne, Elektra follows three women from Greek mythology, each entangled in a curse. Clytemnestra is betrayed by her husband. Princess Cassandra can see prophesies, yet no one will believe her. And Elektra longs for her father to return from war.

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5. The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

When Ruby announces her engagement and imminent wedding date in The Summer Place, her family is thrilled and somewhat overwhelmed at the chance to come together again. When they do, old secrets are revealed, followed by confrontations and more revelations.

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6. Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean.

 

Mika in Real Life is a portrait of a mother-daughter relationship gone slightly sideways. When Mika receives a call from her daughter she put up for adoption 16 years ago, she does everything she can to portray a “perfect picture” of her not-so-perfect life. After a white lie quickly snowballs into something bigger, she must decide whether or not to tell the truth and risk what she’s built with her daughter or continue to live an illusion.

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7. Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

Mustique Island is on the Caribbean island of Mustique in the 1970s, a getaway for Princess Margaret and her celebrity hangers-on (paging Mick and Bianca). Divorcée Willy May Michael, a former Texas beauty queen, has her heart set on designing a home on the island to help rebuild her relationship with her daughters. Caught up in the social scene’s excesses and the politics of an island with a tangled history of colonization, she and her daughters live in a world of wealth but struggle and sacrifice to make the life they want for themselves.

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8. Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson.

 

The first installment of this fantasy trilogy, Her Majesty’s Royal Coven, imagines a Royal Coven established by Queen Elizabeth I to handle supernormal incidences and preserve witchcraft’s legacy. The witches in HMRC, a sort of Harvard-on-the-Thames, are proud of their noble history, but its exclusionary policies foment dissent and inspire a rival coven. Four childhood friends who took oaths together have chosen different paths, but their loyalties are tested when a young warlock appears, threatening destruction.

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9. Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

With Bloomsbury Girls, the author of The Jane Austen Society returns with a compelling and heartwarming story of post-war London, a century-old bookstore, and three women determined to find their way in a fast-changing world.

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10. Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close.

 

The author of Girls in White Dresses has penned a new comedy of manners, Marrying the Ketchups, about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family. The publisher summarizes: “There are three things the Sullivan family knows to be true: the Chicago Cubs will always be the underdogs; historical progress is inevitable; and their grandfather, Bud, founder of JP Sullivan’s, will always make the best burgers in Oak Park. But over the course of three strange months, the Cubs win the World Series, Trump is elected president, and Bud drops dead. And suddenly everyone in the family finds themselves doubting all they hold dear.”

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11. Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan by Liz Michalski.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

Darling Girl is a modern-day reimagining of J. M. Barrie’s classic. To save her daughter’s life, a mother takes on the infamous Peter Pan—who is not the innocent adventurer the fairy tales make him out to be. exploring the dark underpinnings of fairy tales, grief, aging, sacrifice, motherhood, and just how far we will go to protect those we love.

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12. The Change by Kirsten Miller.

 

The Change is billed as “Big Little Lies meets The Witches of Eastwick.” In the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, three different women discover that midlife changes bring a whole new type of empowerment. After experiencing the physical and emotional toll of menopause, a trio of women discover a murder victim – a young teenage girl whose death has been dismissed by the local police as not important enough to spend time on. Their investigation leads to more victims. And once they find the criminals behind this streak of violence, they discover that “the change of life” has given them vast new powers.

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13. Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Clare Pooley.

 

The bestselling author of The Authenticity Project returns with a story of how routine encounters can transform into  deep relationships. Every day Iona, a magazine advice columnist, commutes to work by train. Every day she sees the same people, but she never speaks to them, nor they to her. But when one morning a fellow passenger chokes on a grape and is saved by another “regular,” something new transpires. And an eclectic group with almost nothing in common discovers that a chance encounter can blossom into much more.

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14. The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays.

 

With The Mutual Friend, the co-creator of the hit show How I Met Your Mother has penned a debut novel about life in New York City – and life lived through the screen of a smartphone.

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Romances

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best beach books and romances to read on vacation in summer 2022.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

15. Book Lovers by Emily Henry.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

In the new rom-com Book Lovers, steadfast and cutthroat literary agent Nora Stephens begrudgingly goes on a month-long sister trip where she finds Charlie, a book editor who she’s had a lot of unfortunate dealings with — and is just as stubborn as she is. This small town is not big enough for the two of them.

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16. By the Book (Meant To Be Series) by Jasmine Guillory.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

Next in the series that began with If the Shoe Fits, By the Book is another entry in the “Meant to Be” series of romance novels, in which a beloved romance author retells a classic Disney tale. This one is a reworking of Beauty and the Beast.

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17. The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews.

 

Romance and real estate. No better pairing for a delicious beach read. In The Homewreckers, the latest from the beloved author, a young woman with a large renovation bill and almost no cash flow agrees to star in a beach house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers. Sparks fly between her and her male co-star. Evidence points to the mysterious disappearance of a young wife and mother years before at the site of the show. A detective shows up, as does an arsonist. And the layers of vintage wallpaper? Don’t even ask. Who flips, who flops and who dunnit? Read it and see.

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18. Summer Love by Nancy Thayer.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

In Summer Love, four friends gather on Nantucket for a life-changing reunion 26 years after they first met during a summer stay on the island. And fond memories collide with hard truths. Meanwhile, the younger generation who’s tagging along begins to form their own life-long bonds in this magical place.

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19. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi.

 

The author of The Death of Vivek Oji returns with a very different kind of novel, You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty. A “fun and steamy romance,” to be exact. Set in the art world, it’s the story of Feyi Adekola, a young woman still grieving the loss of her lover in a tragic accident 5 years earlier. After a steamy encounter at a rooftop party that cascades into a whirlwind summer romance, she finds herself dating the perfect man. There’s just one problem: the overwhelming desire Feyi feels when she meets the gaze of the one person in the world who is absolutely off-limits—his father.

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20. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston.

 

The author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue returns with a new romantic comedy perfect for summer: I Kissed Shara Wheeler. Chloe has spent the past four years in high school with just one goal: graduating as class valedictorian. Her only rival is the prom queen, Shara, who is also the principal’s daughter. When Shara kisses Chloe and then vanishes, two others who are also obsessed with Shara join in the hunt for her: her quarterback boyfriend, and her bad boy neighbor.

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21. Something Wilder by Christina Lauren.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

In the romance Something Wilder, Lily Wilder uses her father’s hand-drawn maps from his notorious treasure-hunting days to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts in Utah. On one of them, she runs into an old love. When their trip goes terribly wrong, the pair are left wondering if the past can be righted; if they can confront their history. And if treasure might be real after all.

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22. Circa by Devi S. Laskar.

 

In Circa, seventeen-year-old Heera imagines someday she will marry Marco Grimaldi, her best friend’s older brother. But Heera is expected to wed a suitor chosen by her Indian immigrant parents, not the Italian boy next door. Years after a devastating night that tore them apart, Marco and Heera continue to feel a pull toward each other despite conflicting cultural and familial duties.

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23. Meant to Be Mine by Hannah Orenstein.

 

What happens when the perfect person comes with not-so-perfect timing? In Meant to Be Mine, Edie’s Grandma Gloria predicts when she meets her match, and her words turn out to be true. And yet somehow, things don’t go exactly as planned.

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24. Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

Yerba Buena is the noted YA author’s first foray into adult literary fiction. Sara lands in L.A. as a teenage runaway who eventually establishes herself as a mixologist at the high-end restaurant Yerba Buena, where she’s known for using the eponymous herb as her cocktails’ signature element. While there, she meets Emile, a recently hired floral designer who has a similarly rocky past. As the two women fall in love, their pasts continue to inhibit their presents – and their futures.

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25. Meant to Be by Emily Giffin.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

In Meant to Be, we meet a Kennedyesque family, the Kingsleys. The family is American royalty, beloved for their military heroics, political service, and effortless elegance. In 1967, after Joseph S. Kingsley, Jr. is killed in a tragic accident, his charismatic son inherits the weight of the family’s legacy. Meanwhile, Cate Cooper – having grown up fatherless, abandoned by her mother and discovered by a model scout at age sixteen – is making her way in the world by leveraging her looks. When Joe and Cate unexpectedly cross paths one afternoon, their connection is instant and intense. But can their relationship survive the glare of the spotlight and the so-called Kingsley curse?

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Mysteries and Thrillers

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

26. Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone.

 

Two Nights in Lisbon is the latest from one of our favorite authors of smart, twisty espionage novels. Ariel Pryce accompanied her new husband to Lisbon, but when she awakens on the morning of his important business meeting, he is nowhere to be found. The local police are no help, so she contacts the U.S. Embassy, which alerts the local CIA. A ransom phone call sets in motion a frantic rescue mission that reaches into the top echelons of society and government.

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27. The Maid by Nita Prose.

 

A bit of a mystery, a sweet love story, and a glimpse inside a glittering 5-star hotel in New York. The Maid has all the essential elements of a wonderful beach book, even though it was first published in the dead in the winter.

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28. Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

Take Ocean’s Eleven, but cast it with 5 highly ambitious Chinese-American Ivy League and top 10 college students. And instead of a casino, make the target institution several world-leading art museums. And instead of making mere cash money the prize, make it priceless art objects taken from China, currently on display in the West. That’s the outline of Portrait of a Thief, a new caper-novel-slash-romance that’s the perfect summer read. Come for the serious meditation on the subject of reparations and colonialism. Stay for the glamorous locations, sexy romances and art history lessons all wrapped up in a bow.

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29. Breathless by Amy McCulloch.

 

Breathless is a thriller about a group of mountain climbers whose fate hangs in the balance. Journalist Cecily Wong is in over her head. She’s come to the eighth-highest peak in the world to interview internationally famous mountaineer Charles McVeigh. She’s given up everything for this story. But when one climber dies in what everyone else assumes is a freak accident, she fears their expedition is in danger. And by the time a second climber dies, it’s too late to turn back. Stranded on a mountain in one of the most remote regions of the world, she’ll have to battle more than the elements in a harrowing fight for survival

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30. The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray.

 

The publisher describes the new cozy mystery The Murder of Mr. Wickham as “the Jane Austen/Agatha Christie summer house party mash-up you’ve been dreaming about.” Do you need to know anything more?

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31. The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood.

 

In Book 1 of The Marlow Murder Club series, Judith is a seventy-seven-year-old crossword puzzle author living in a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of Marlow, where nothing ever happens. Until one of her neighbors turns up dead, and Judith assembles a crew of amateur investigators: Suzie the dogwalker and Becks, the vicar’s wife. Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club. And the killer doesn’t stand a chance.

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32. The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian.

 

A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller The Lioness, described as “the best possible combination of Hemingway and Agatha Christie.” Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, everyone expects civilized adventure. What transpires is quite a bit different. And a great deal worse.

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33. Hide by Kiersten White.

 

In Hide, a new thriller with some of the same dark themes as Squid Game, the innocent summer pleasures of roller coasters and merry-go-rounds take a turn. Set in an abandoned amusement park, the rules are simple: survive the night and win the prize.

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34. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill.

 

In the twisty thriller The Woman in the Library, a typical day in the reading room takes a dark turn. When security instructs everyone to stay in place after a woman’s horrified scream shakes the Boston Public Library, four strangers pass the time with light conversation. They’re starting to actually become friends. Unfortunately, one of them is harboring a deadly secret.

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35. Family of Liars by E. Lockhart.

 

The best beach reads and books of summer 2022

Family of Liars is the prequel to the thriller We Were Liars. A past generation of the Sinclair family trigger a series of summer secrets, mistakes, and betrayals that ultimately permeate the lives of their descendants decades later.

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36. An Honest Lie by Tarryn Fisher.

 

An Honest Lie is a new suspenseful thriller with with strong females in the leading roles. Rainy is pulled from her remote life for a girls’ weekend in Vegas. But after her friend doesn’t return from a night out, she receives an ominous text message. And realizes that her disturbing past has finally caught up with her.

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37. The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White.

 

Three stories intertwine in The Lost Summer of Newport, a tale of murder and family lies, offering “three mysteries for the price of one,” as one review notes. Newport, Rhode Island is the summer resort made famous during the Gilded Age for its opulent mansions and the intrigue that they often hid. When the television reality show team in charge of Mansion Makeover arrives for a summer season at the once-glorious Sprague Hall, the boathouse becomes the linchpin for the revelation of a series of deadly secrets.

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38. Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen.

 

best new novels, poetry and essay collections, memoirs and other non-fiction books in May 2022

 

Counterfeit sounds like the perfect summer mash-up of mystery, fashion and shopping. The trifecta! From the author of the Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners, this is the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise. As the jacket copy says:  “Money can’t buy happiness… but it can buy a decent fake.

BUY NOW: $21.99.

39. Reputation by Sarah Vaughan.

 

The best beach reads and books of summer 2022

With Reputation, the bestselling author of Anatomy of a Scandal returns with a psychological thriller about a politician whose less-than-perfect personal life is thrust into the spotlight when a body is discovered in her home.

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Memoirs and Non-Fiction

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

The best new beach books to read on vacation summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other non-fiction.

40. Ali’s Well That Ends Well: Tales of Desperation and a Little Inspiration by Ali Wentworth.

 

In Ali’s Well That Ends Well, a book of comedic vignettes that doubles as a COVID-19 era memoir, the author shares the funny, absurd, and trying episodes that her family endured during the global pandemic. The publisher notes that Wentworth “spent the pandemic seesawing between highs, lows, and baking an unnecessary amount of chocolate cake. Between binging every tv show in existence to conquering TikTok to becoming a (semi) empty-nester.”

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41. Dress Code: Unlocking Fashion from the New Look to Millennial Pink by Véronique Hyland.

 

Dress Code is a collection of essays from a fashion expert who speaks in the voice of the most sophisticated friend you have: knowledgeable, funny and nonjudgmental. She breaks down everything from normcore to politicians’ wardrobes to the ubiquity of leggings. Rich in historical context and cultural criticism, Dress Code unpacks how clothing is both personal and political, and how it deserves serious consideration as a distinctive lens on the world.

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42. She’s Nice Though by Mia Mercado.

 

She’s Nice Though is a new collection of essays allows readers inside Mercado’s life as a Midwestern biracial woman. She uses humor to reveal truths about depression, racism, and societal norms while questioning what it means to be nice (“to shrink or apologize or smile out of obligation”), who benefits from it (“nice girls finish eventually”), and how to “differentiate between the performance of niceness and… true good intentions.” If you loved You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey (and we did) this is a perfect summer read to keep the conversation going.

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43. Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle by Jody Rosen.

 

“The bicycle is a vestige of the Victorian era, seemingly at odds with our age of smartphones and ride-sharing apps and driverless cars. Yet we live on a bicycle planet. Across the world, more people travel by bicycle than any other form of transportation.” That’s the jumping-off point for Two Wheels Good, a fascinating look at the history of the bicycle, an everyday object that most of us have never any real thought to.

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44. The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor–the Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown.

 

The best beach books to read on vacation in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, fiction, memoirs and other non- fiction books

The best-selling author of The Diana Chronicles returns to update the history of Britain’s Royal Family in the years since Diana’s death. The cast of The Palace Papers includes Camilla, Kate and Meghan – Charles, William, Harry and Andrew. And of course, Her Royal Majesty The Queen. They’re all here, and if you have even a passing interest in the Royals, this is a frothy, dishy read that is the perfect way to mark the Queen’s Jubilee this summer.

BUY NOW: $22.50.

the summer 2022 culture preview: best new beach reads

That’s our roundup of  the top best new beach books to read in summer 2022, including romances, mysteries, thrillers, novels, memoirs and other new non-fiction. So many books, so little time! What’s at the top of your list, dear reader? Have a great summer.

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. A Detroit native, she has 3 Harvard degrees and has written 3 mystery novels published by Simon & Schuster. After serving as a senior corporate executive, CEO of CNBC and partner at McKinsey, she now serves on the boards of several tech companies. She loves fashion, Paris, New York, books, contemporary art, running, skiing, coffee, Corgis and violets. 

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