You may want a relaxing beach day, but that doesn’t mean your beach read has to be a snooze fest. Here are five NYC beach reads that will serve you big city drama while you are lounging beachside.
The Pierre Hotel Affair by Daniel Simone
Goody-two shoes, beware! This is a book that will have you rooting for the bad guys. As the cover succinctly puts it, The Pierre Hotel Affair is about “how eight gentlemen thieves orchestrated the largest jewel heist in history” in New York. A few times while reading this book, I had to put it down to do some Google searches just to make sure that the things being described in the book actually happened — that’s how wild this story is! Also keep in mind that this book takes place in 1972 and some of the language regarding race may not be the most… politically correct. But if you can tolerate that for 336 pages, you’re going to enjoy this book.
Cobble Hill by Cecily von Ziegesar
Now that the revival of Gossip Girl is out on HBO Max, it seems appropriate to read something by the writer who started it all, Cecily von Ziegesar. Cobble Hill is von Ziegesar’s latest book, which centers on the lives of four families living in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Cobble Hill. If you dive into this book with the mindset that it’ll be just like Gossip Girl, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead of reading about the glamorous scandals of the NYC’s upper crust, you’ll be slumming it with some solidly middle class folk in Brooklyn. But that doesn’t mean that their drama isn’t just as much of a page-turner. I think you’ll find these quirky Brooklyn characters to be quite entertaining.
Soledad by Angie Cruz
One of my all-time favorite books is Dominicana by Angie Cruz, but that’s too much for you to handle for a day at the beach. For a somewhat lighter read, I would recommend Soledad instead. It’s about a young woman from Washington Heights confronting her past as well as her mother’s past after her mother falls into an “emotional coma.” If you read it, let me know how you interpreted the ending. I’m still confused.
Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter
As you read the story of the complex, accomplished, ambitious Eunice Carter, you’ll probably be saying the same thing I said as I read this biography: how the heck is this the first time that I’m hearing about this women? Read this book not only because Eunice Carter’s story deserves to be remembered by more people than her grandson (the author of this book), but also because Eunice’s life is just as scandalous as it is inspiring. When you’re done, tell me which factor you think held Eunice back the most during her career: her gender, her race, or her communist brother?
Bad Call: A Summer Job on a New York Ambulance by Mike Scardino
Just like nothing properly prepared the author Mike Scardino for what he witnessed during his four summerslong stints as a Queens EMT in the 1960s, nothing will prepare you for the stories you’re going to hear when you read Bad Call. I won’t lie, there were several times while reading this book (or more accurately, listening to it, as I downloaded the audiobook version) where I seriously considered quitting it: there is a lot of blood, guts, and death in this book. It’s gross and sad and terrifying, but it’s also funny and thoughtful and wise. Scardino’s thought-provoking reflections on life and death make all the squirming you will do worth it.
Which of these NYC beach reads sounds the most exciting to you? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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