It’s not only the seemingly endless miles of beach or the fresh air that makes the Hamptons such a special place. Look closer and you’ll find something you see less and less of in other communities: bookstores! You won’t get far without coming across one. So, before you head to the ocean, visit your local bookstore where the experts are happy to recommend your next beach read.
The staff at Books & Books Westhampton Beach (130 Main Street, Westhampton Beach) are recommending the Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (Penguin, $17). They agree with The New York Times Magazine, which said “Without a doubt, the finest surf book I’ve ever read…But on a more fundamental level, Barbarian Days offers a clear-eyed vision of American boyhood.”
In fiction, Books & Books is recommending Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (Grand Central, $26). The author is the award-winning creator of the television show Fargo. On a foggy summer night, 11 people depart Martha’s Vineyard for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: their plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs and a four-year-old boy, now the last remaining member of a wealthy media mogul’s family.
One of the perks of working at a bookstore is having access to hot new books before they’re officially released. Southampton Books (16 Hampton Road, Southampton) is recommending two books slated for July release.
Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff (Viking, $25, July 5th): This charming summer read follows Jonathan Trefoil as his life slowly unravels. Forced to look after his brother’s two dogs, Jonathan comes to realize that the answers he has been searching for all along may be in the hands, or paws, of the unwanted border collie and cocker spaniel in his reluctant care.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Crown, $26.99, July 26th): A breakneck thriller that asks the question of what it truly means to know yourself. When scientist Jason Dessens is thrust out of our world into a parallel universe, he meets a version of himself that is both familiar and a stranger to him. As he tries to find his way back “home,” he passes through many different worlds, some like ours and some vastly different.
BookHampton (41 Main Street, East Hampton), under new ownership and with a sleek new modern design, is still recommending great summer reads. They like Modern Lovers by Emma Straub (Riverhead, $26): A group of friends try to tackle adulthood as ghosts from the past surge back into their lives. Relationships are strained and true love is identified. A great read for anyone who used to be in a band and now doesn’t know where that part of them disappeared to!
This one has a local flare: If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton (Mariner, $14.95). A sexy, dark, and electric read for the summer that not only takes place in the Hamptons but features BookHampton as a locale. Norton weaves together depression, motherhood, and living in the Hamptons in a tight novel that feels real.
Maryann and the staff at Canio’s Books (290 Main Street Sag Harbor) recommend two authors who will be speaking at Canio’s in July. First, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris (W.W. Norton, $15.95). It’s a hilariously funny look behind the scenes at the venerable New Yorker magazine by a long-time copy editor. Pick up tips about comma use and learn why the hyphen appears in the title of Moby-Dick, but most of all, enjoy a great literary read along the way.
Next, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, by Carl Safina (Picador, $18) a part-time Montauk resident and world-renowned ecologist. Safina looks at wolves, elephants and whales with a scientist’s and a humanist’s eye. These field notes fashioned into heartfelt prose help us understand from the animal’s point of view. A must-read for animal lovers everywhere.
Visit Harbor Books (20 Main Street, Sag Harbor) for Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight (Scribner, $29) the story of unparalleled determination, grit, know-how and a little bit (or a lot) of luck. A riveting memoir about the man behind the swoosh.
Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday by Christine Reilly (Touchstone, $25), a debut novel that tells the love story of a family dealing with all of the twists and turns of life. A gorgeous telling of the things that threaten to tear us apart and the things that keep us tightly bound together. For people who loved The Family Fang, The Middlesteins and The Virgin Suicides.