What makes a perfectÂ read for a summer getaway? Page turnability is a must, plus a dash of romance and maybe some mystery or suspense. It needs enoughÂ sultry, scandal, and serious toÂ keep you engaged until the last raysÂ of the dayâs sun. A beach read doesnât necessarilyÂ needÂ to be about the beach, and youâd probably read it anywhere, but ideallyÂ you wonât be able to putÂ a beach-readÂ down until youâre done.
But the best thing about a good novel? It feeds your noggin. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted a brain-scan study and found that when subjectsÂ read about characters in a story,Â parts of the brain usedÂ toÂ process other people's intentions lit up.Â The results suggest that fiction may actuallyÂ makeÂ us more empathetic.
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Here, Health's book reviewer Jen Doll rounds upÂ 11 of her favorite picks forÂ theÂ season ahead.
The Royal We, by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan.Â The wittyÂ bloggers behind Go Fug YourselfÂ weave the not-quite-fairy-tale of a British royal romanceâor, more specifically, the romance between a British prince and the American girl who captures his eye. ($26, amazon.com)
The Daylight Marriage, by Heidi Pitlor. This Stephen King-approved âhypnotically readableâ novel involves a wife whoâs vanished and a husband whoâs trying to understand whatâs happened, but itâs not just another Gone Girl. ($25, amazon.com)
The Ghost Network, by Catie Disabato.Â People are buzzing about this debut novel, in which a famous pop singer goes missing on her way to a performance, and her assistant and a journalist embark on a quest to find her. ($17, amazon.com)
Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll.Â Ani FaNelli has carefully constructed her ostensibly perfect âhaving it allâ life to hide a sordid past. Everything is great. And then the truth rears its ugly head. ($25, amazon.com)
The Knockoff, by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza.Â Think The Devil Wears Prada gone digital combined with a dose of All About Eve. Glossy mag editor Imogen Tate battles her former assistant Eve Morton for control of a magazine, and much more. ($26, amazon.com)
The Rocks, by Peter Nichols. This love-story-plus-mystery involving two honeymooners who split but live on the same island for 60 years, never speakingâand the generations that followâmay be the perfect beach read. Bonus points for most vacation-aspirational cover. ($28, amazon.com)
In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume.Â A much-anticipated adult novel from the beloved Blume, who uses a series of plane crashes remembered from her New Jersey childhood as a jumping-off point to dig into the lives of three generations of families. ($28, amazon.com)
Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave. Who knew? It takes 800 grapes to make a bottle of wine, apparently. But there are many more secrets embedded into this compelling novel about a Sonoma wine-making family and a womanâs discovery a week before her wedding. ($25, amazon.com)
The Book of Speculation, by Erika Swyler. A young librarian receives a book from an antiquarian bookseller that includes the tale of doomed loversâand, possibly, clues to a family curse. ($27, amazon.com)
Killing Monica, by Candace Bushnell. A famous writer has to fake her death to reclaim her life from her own creation. Said to skewer âpop culture, celebrity worship, fame, and even the meaning of life itself,â Bushnellâs latest has already had to cope with the meta-ness of being hacked, and some of its early pages revealed, in 2013. ($27, amazon.com)
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