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Alison Gowans
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It is the season of the beach read. We collected recommendations from library staff members for books to distract you on your next summer excursion, whether you're looking for something light and breezy to read by the pool or an engrossing book to help while away a summer afternoon.

"Coral Cottage" and "Summer Beach" series by Jan Moran

I’ve ‘read’ them as audiobooks. They’re all light and uncomplicated with heartwarming stories, a little bit of drama sprinkled here and there, and always a happy ending. The two series follow two separate families – one owns the Seabreeze Inn and the other owns the Coral Cottage. I might equate them to the literary version of Hallmark Christmas movies that people binge during the holidays.

- Charity, Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation Director

"One Italian Summer" by Rebecca Serle

Indulge in an alluring escape to the Amalfi Coast, where Katy takes a soul-searching trip after her beloved mother dies. The enticing foods, the magnificent sights, the charming people … this wistful story pulled me into a book I didn’t want to end. Read this one in your sun lounger or by the water and let your mind travel to beautiful Italy!

- Renee, Programming Librarian

"Legends and Lattes" by Travis Baldree

A cozy fantasy for nerds about an orc fighter who hangs up her blade to open a coffee shop. It feels like a warm hug. Wholesome queer romance, adorable snappy dialogue. Exactly the right length. 

- Kami, Event Specialist

"Remarkably Bright Creatures" by Shelby Van Pelt

The book is about an old woman who befriends the octopus at the aquarium where she cleans, which leads her to uncover some of her family's mysteries. It's interesting as well as heartwarming, and definitely unique from other books I've read!

"Malibu Rising," by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is historical fiction about a family in California, many of whom are surfers. It transports you to high-end 1980s California house parties, includes some family drama and star-studded romance, and has you invested in the four Riva siblings and their futures.

- Alyssa, Public Service Associate

"Jaws" by Peter Benchly

It’s the perfect next-to-water read, literally laying on the beach. It kind of puts you in the moment. It’s also nostalgic. It takes me back to being a scared kid, afraid to get into the local lake. It speaks to my love of horror.

- Eric, Design and Marketing Specialist

"Red, White, and Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

Reading this book is like eating candy, perfectly light and delicious. It is a romance featuring the son of America's first female president falling in love with a British prince. Read it now before the movie adaptation comes to Amazon in August.

- Alison, Content Writer

"Into the Groove: The Story of Sound from Tin Foil to Vinyl" by Jonathan Scott

This wouldn't qualify as the average reader's 'breeezy beach read,' but I would read it at the beach. The story of recorded sound – the behind the scenes lab stories, the inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs that made it all happen; and its impact on society. From the first recorded sounds (on tin-foil) to the "phonograph" to 45's & LPs, and the recent resurgence of vinyl. I couldn't put it down, any more than I could turn off my deck-side (my beach)  'turntable' which was running constantly over the whole Independence Day weekend.

- Curtis, Public Service Associate