With many sunny days spent lounging on East End beaches ahead, you’re surely in need of a good book—or several—to enjoy this season. With a little help from our local Hamptons bookstores, we present summer 2019’s top 19 beach reads.
1. Out East by John Glynn
New York City resident John Glynn’s first book, Out East (Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group, May 2019) is a gripping coming-of-age memoir about his first summer staying at a Montauk share house—an experience that gifted him with his first love, a newfound identity and a group of friends as close as family. For a debut book, it has been incredibly well received, being labeled one of the best books of May 2019 by Entertainment Weekly, TIME and Cosmopolitan and earning a place on Oprah’s O Magazine’s “41 of the Best LGBTQ Books That’ll Change the Literary Landscape in 2019.”
2. Lesser Lights by Sandy McIntosh
In his second collection of memoirs, Lesser Lights (Marsh Hawk Press, February 2019), award-winning author Sandy McIntosh continues his tale of growing up in the Hamptons art colony and sharing adventures with Norman Mailer, Ilya Bolotowsky, Truman Capote, Jean Stafford, P.G. Wodehouse and others. Goosebumps author R.L. Stine raves that the book is full of “wonderful characters, great surprises and a sly sense of humor.”
3. Howard Stern Comes Again by Howard Stern
Southamptonite Howard Stern’s latest book, Howard Stern Comes Again (Simon & Schuster, May 2019), contains many of his greatest interviews and an updated life story, which hasn’t seen a reprint in over two decades.
4. I.M.: A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi
I.M.: A Memoir (Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers, February 2019) provides an intimate look into the Bridgehampton fashion designer’s life—from his Syrian Jewish Orthodox upbringing to his struggles with weight, insomnia, depression and the emotional toll of the AIDS epidemic.
5. I Can, I Will, I Must by Alan Schnurman and Eric Feil
In his many years as an East End real estate broker, Alan Schnurman has learned that the lessons that underpin a successful investing strategy are one and the same as those for a successful life: passion, patience, diligence, flexibility, perseverance, confidence, finding the right partners, overcoming disappointment, a positive outlook. This rags-to-riches story of a Brooklyn boy who became a successful lawyer, broadcasting pioneer and Hamptons broker is sure to amazing and inspire. Editor’s note: Co-author Eric Feil is the COO and Editorial Director of Dan’s Hamptons Media.
6. Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger
Praised as “the most exciting book” of the summer by Taylor Rose Berry, owner of the Harbor Books successor Berry and Co., Girls Like Us (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House, July 2019) forces its main character, FBI Agent Nell Flynn, to consider the possibility of her recently deceased father being a murderer. As she digs into the deaths of two young women in Suffolk County, she becomes increasingly aware that the police may have been covering her father’s tracks, and that he may also have had something to do with her mother’s murder several decades ago. The Quogue author’s thrilling novel is loosely based on the infamous Long Island serial killer (aka the Craigslist Ripper, Gilgo Beach Killer, LISK).
7. Cari Mora by Thomas Harris
Cari Mora (Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group, May 2019) is the latest thriller by Sag Harborite Thomas Harris, author of The New York Times best-seller The Silence of the Lambs. When $25 million in cartel gold is traced to a Miami Beach mansion, Hans-Peter Schneider leads the mission to retrieve it, but finds himself distracted by the beautiful caretaker of the house, Cari Mora. A refugee and American immigrant under Temporary Protected Status, Cari must do whatever it takes to survive this high-stakes situation.
8. Deep Dive by Chris Knopf
The latest installment in Southamptonite Chris Knopf’s Hamptons-centric Sam Acquillo Mysteries series, Deep Dive (The Permanent Press, June 2019), drags the eponymous character into a murder case that will make him analyze the line between working class locals and the top 1%. Co-owner of Southampton Books and the new Sag Harbor Books Greg Harris praises the series for its incredibly “memorable cast of characters” and adds that it’s great for fans of the authors Nelson DeMille and Carl Hiaasen.
9. Montauk by Nicola Harrison
Former Montauker Nicola Harrison’s debut novel, Montauk (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan Publishers, June 2019), takes place in 1938 Montauk, where the modest Beatrice Bordeaux is tasked with spending 12 weeks with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor to further her husband’s investment interest in the resort village. As her husband grows increasingly distant, she becomes enamored with the spirit of Montauk and—eventually—a stoic, enigmatic suitor.
10. Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner
The first beach read on BookHampton store manager Jesse Bartel’s list is Drawing Home (Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group, May 2019), written by The Forever Summer author Jamie Brenner. Set at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, the story follows the restaurant’s host Emma Mapson as she learns that famous artist Henry Wyatt left the deed to his waterfront home to her daughter after his sudden passing. Henry’s former business partner is outraged when she learns of the development, and will stop at nothing to reclaim the house.
11. The East End: A Novel by Jason Allen
In Jason Allen’s debut novel, The East End (Park Row / Harlequin, May 2019), Corey Halpern, a troubled high school senior living in the Hamptons, finds solace from his life in the mansions of the 1%, which he sneaks into under the cover of night. That is, until he sneaks into the home of a billionaire CEO that he and his mother work for and sees something he shouldn’t, leading to explosive consequences.
12. The Better Sister by Alafair Burke
Nicky and Chloe Taylor may be sisters, but they have few things in common, save for being married to the same man at different times. When he is mysteriously murdered at his and Chloe’s East Hampton home, with his and Nicky’s son as one of the suspects, the estranged siblings must reunite to find the truth buried in the family’s secretive past. The Better Sister (Harper / HarperCollins Publishers, April 2019) is a psychological thriller you won’t soon forget after reading.
13. Split-Level by Sande Boritz Berger
Bridgehamptonite Sande Boritz Berger’s critically acclaimed second novel, Split-Level (She Writes Press, May 2019), analyzes the benefits and pitfalls of attempting an open marriage in the 1970s. The book paints a picture of female empowerment as Alex Pearl evaluates the effects of raising a nuclear family on her personal identity.
14. Summer of ’69 by Todd Strasser
Drawing inspiration from his teenage years, Montauker and best-selling author Todd Strasser revisits the tumultuous Woodstock era in Summer of ’69 (Candlewick Press, April 2019). The main character, Lucas Baker, is an easygoing 18-year-old whose life veers wildly off track when he learns he’s in danger of being drafted for the Vietnam War and his parents are moving rapidly toward divorce.
15. Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker
In Man of the Year (Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster, June 2019), Sag Harbor’s newly crowned Man of the Year, Dr. Robert Hart, generously offers to let his son’s troubled friend stay with the family for the summer, but when he discovers the boy is getting a bit too friendly with his wife, the cracks in his benevolent façade begin to show. Before long, his dark heart is revealed and he begins spiraling down a path of destruction.
16. It’s Hot in the Hamptons by Holly Peterson
From the author of the 2017 summer hit It Happens in The Hamptons comes a brilliant novel, It’s Hot in the Hamptons (William Morrow Paperbacks / HarperCollins Publishers, May 2019), about two women who decide to pay back their husbands’ infidelity with their own summer affairs in the Hamptons.
17. Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Sag Harbor (Anchor / Penguin Random House, June 2010) may be the oldest book on this list, but it’s just as funny and relevant today, and it’s certainly worth a re-read. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Colson Whitehead’s satirical novel tells of the fictional Benji Cooper’s epic ’80s summer in Sag Harbor’s historically African American communities.
18. One Little Secret: A Novel by Cate Holahan
In USA Today Bestselling author Cate Holahan’s One Little Secret (Crooked Lane Books, July 2019) three couples rent a glass beach house in the Hamptons and spend the first night sipping wine and spilling tea until someone says something they can’t take back. The next morning they’re found dead on the beach, and a detective uncovers that each of the remaining roommates is hiding something.
19. Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell
Candace Bushnell, author of the pop culture phenomenon Sex and the City, debuts her follow-up tome two decades after its predecessor. Is There Still Sex in the City? (Grove Press, August 6, 2019) follows a group of women as they face the challenges of dating in the 21st century—from clubbing to Tinder dates to Middle Age Madness. This satirical story takes a hard look at love from many angles, including marriage, divorce, bereavement and family.
Find these books and more at Hamptons bookstores: BookHampton (bookhampton.com), Canio’s Books (caniosbooks.com), Berry and Co. (berryandcosagharbor.com) and Sag Harbor Books / Southampton Books (southamptonsagharborbooks.com).