We’re in the middle of Shark Week, and it’s prime season for heading to the shore. Beach vacations deserve beach reads. If you read the true story Close to Shore, you may decide to get your excitement sitting under an umbrella with your book and a piña colada, leaving the swimming to others. Even if it’s a staycation this year, these authors will leave you feeling sand in your shoes.
- Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916 by Michael Capuzzo – from before New Jersey’s sharks congregated at the state house—reportedly an inspiration for Jaws
- Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard – a West Palm Beach/Miami stewardess tries to secure her fortune ahead of the Feds and the mob—made into the film Jackie Brown
- Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen – down in the Florida Keys, Hiaasen’s typically hilarious collection of oddballs comes together after a faked auto accident
- The Dogs of Winter by Kem Nunn – northern California surfing legends and an unsolved murder
- Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon – sheer craziness with SoCal beach-dweller and P.I. Doc Sportello, who works in a marijuana haze with a 60s soundtrack—the movie is impenetrable
- The House Without a Key by Earl Derr Biggers – 1920s Hawai`i, Charlie Chan, and the murder of a proper Bostonian—an old-fashioned classic
- The Place of Refuge by Al Tucher – the dangerous assignments for two Hawaiian police detectives converge
- The Beach by Alex Garland – a tourist searches for Thailand’s “perfect” beach in this suspenseful tale; his mistake may be finding it
Or, if you’re into real sharks, you can name a shark, track a tagged shark’s meanderings, and see where tagged sharks have been hanging out recently (orange dots). GPS tags ping when the dorsal fin breaks the ocean’s surface.