2018 Best Beach Bag Books! Plus, an interview with Jenna Blum, our Summer Read author

It’s time to get reading, Satellite Sisterhood. Below you’ll find the Satellite Sisters Best Beach Bag Books List for 2018. We’ve got some books perfect for a day in the sun and some books that may be better savored on a rainy afternoon at the cabin. We have books that will take you to distant shores while you stay at home and books about bookstores, because that’s a whole category we love. And even a couple of non-fiction titles to keep it real this summer. Plus, we have our interview with writer Jenna Blum, author of our Satellite Sister Summer Read for 2018:  The Lost Family

It was wonderful to talk to Jenna about her writing process, her love of research and what she’s working on next.  

I’ve tried to read as many of the books as I can on the list. Julie and Liz have contributed their favorites as well. If I haven’t read it myself, I rely on a trusted circle of booklovers to point me in the right direction. We hope that you’ll find a couple of books on this list you’ll really connect with– from blockbusters to debut novels to literary gems. Looks for them at your local bookstore (yeah!) or your library. I’ve included the Amazon link in each description for convenience.

We encourage you to share this list with your own Satellite Sisters and your book club. Speaking as a novelist myself, word of mouth is the best marketing. Support these authors by passing along a link to this list with your book loving friends…



Our Official Satellite Sisters Best Beach Bag Books 2018 


The Lost Family by Jenna Blum

A moving tale of the deep scars of the Holocaust. Inspired by a true story, writer Jenna Blum tells the saga of a survivor trying to forget his past in New York City of the 1960’s. Historical, cultural and pop references are seamlessly woven throughout the book. The sense of time and place is striking—and fun to revisit despite the serious subject manner. We follow the family saga along through the next two decades. His wife June narrates the story in the 70’s, complete with women’s lib, consciousness-raising and the bored housewife syndrome of a certain class of woman in suburban New jersey. Finally, we hear from daughter Elsbeth, caught up in the art scene of the 80’s in NYC.  We loved talking to Jenna Blum about her inspiration, her process and her love of Tab.

Find out more about Jenna and her extensive appearance schedule here. Buy the book here. Listen to the Satellite Sisters Interview by clicking here


Another World War II Recommendation


Beneath a Scarlet Sky

By Mark Sullivan

Julie’s Pick. Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, an epic tale of one young man’s courage and resilience during WWII. It’s the story of an Italian teenager who joins the underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps.  He also ends up as the personal driver for Hitler’s top general in Italy and works as a spy for the Allies.  There’s a lot to like in this book:  a good story, drama, suspense, romance and lots of Italian food. Soon to be a major TV series.  Buy the book in Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audio here. 


Absolutely Beach Ready. Sunscreen Not Included.

Don’t sweat these titles. Fun, fast-paced, all ready to toss in your beach bag for afternoons on the sand or by the shore.


Anything by Joanna Trollope

I’m often asked at book events who my favorite writers are and I always put Joanna Trollope on the list. Often, there are some blank stares, so let’s fix that. Joanna Trollope is a bestselling British author who mines the same territory as the late Irish writer Maeve Binchey, even Jane Austen. And because she’s British, her books are tight and tidy plotwise but sharp and well-observed. Summer is the perfect time to discover Trollope, a wonderful storyteller and a master of the contemporary domestic novel. She’s written a million books so you can find them at libraries, bookstores, yard sales, that lending library at your B&B. Here’s one of her latest  picked for the Satellite Sisterhood.

City of Friends

A group of University friends, together through thick and thin, until life actually gets pretty thin for one of them. Then the secrets begin to unravel.  Female friendship that rings true. Buy here.



The High Season

By Judy Blundell

Can’t make it out to the Hamptons this summer? No need. Just tuck into this Pure Beach Fare about Art, Money and Celebrity. Set in a charming beach town on Long Island and involving a woman, a house and summer residents. Some great lines and memorable characters. Easy, Breezy and Witty. Buy in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audible here. 


Crazy Rich Asians

By Kevin Kwan

The title says it all. Read it and then go see the movie for a perfect summer double header of Lives We Can Only Read About. New Money, Old Money, Scheming Relatives and Labels, Labels, Labels.  It’s hoot and cultural journey. (An interesting companion piece to our Satellite Sisters Book Club pick Where the Peacocks Sing by Allison Singh Gee.  In Crazy Rich Asians, the palace is still standing and the money still exists! ) Book 1 of a trilogy. Find it in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook here





Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

by Gail Honeyman

Julie’s Pick. A Book Club Favorite now out in papaerback. A quirky tale of a woman who is the hero of her own life.  This book works well on a plane, train or bus. Also suitable for middle-of-the-night reads. Words like wacky, warm and uplifting describe this book. In Paperback, Hardback, Kindle and Audible here.




Something On The Water

by Katherine Steadman

Liz’s pick. Sexy scary crime story gone way way wrong. The worst honeymoon ever!!!  According to publisher: A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut—for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena. Buy in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook here. 



Books about Bookstores

Why do readers love books about books and books about bookstores? I think it’s because we couldn’t have become adult readers if we didn’t love that one cozy store where we bought our books as kids. Mine was Klein’s Bookstore in Westport, Connecticut. My kids will always think of Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena as a Happy Safe Place. Don’t overthink it, just keep books about bookstores coming.



The Bookshop of Yesterdays

By Amy Meyerson

A debut novel set in Prospero Books, a beloved, but struggling independent book store in a quirky LA neighborhood. Filled with literary references and clues, this gem of a book not technically a mystery, but more of a scavenger hunt of self-discovery. Miranda, the well-crafted main character searches for clues to her family history in this love letter to books and bookstores.  Loved all the local Eastside LA references, too. Buy in Kindle, Hardback or Audiobook here


Paris by the Book

Liam Callanan

 I didn’t write this book, but I wish I did. It’s about Paris and it’s about books—seriously, what more could you want in novel. Throw in wonderful details about “The Red Balloon” and “Madeleine,” this pick is like a trip to Paris with your smart but slightly sad friend who needs a little pep talk every once in a while. A delight but also a tender story about love, loss and finding yourself in midlife against the backdrop of the City of Lights. Buy in Hardback, Kindle or Audible here. 



Immersive Arm Chair Traveling

Staycationing this summer? What’s better than a book with a true sense of place to let you ‘see’ the world.  Here are two novels that take you away to places and cultures that you may never get to see in person. Or even knew existed.


The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

By Lisa See

The New York Times Bestseller, now out in paperback. You know and love Lisa See’s writing from book club favorites, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Shanghai Girls. In her latest, See takes us to a remote Chinese farming village known for its tea and removed from modern life . (Believe me, after reading this book, you will never drink at tea the same way.) It’s the tea that connects two women—a mother and daughter separated by continents and culture—in this beautifully written novel that is both well-researched and well-paced. Buy in Hardback, Paperback, Kindle or Audiobook here. 


Welcome to Lagos

By Chibundu Onuzo

I’ve never been to Lagos but I plan to make the trip to Nigeria this summer with this novel that several highbrow literary friends have recommended.  Love the work of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?  Onuzo follows in this literary tradition. A rich tapestry of stories from this teeming city, told from seven points of view. From the publisher’s note: Welcome to Lagos is a high-spirited novel about aspirations and escape, innocence and corruption. Full of humor and heart, it offers a provocative portrait of contemporary Nigeria that marks the arrival in the United States of an extraordinary young writer. In Hardback, Kindle and Audiobook


Sometimes the Summer is Right for Reality

A couple of non-fiction titles for those of you that want a dose of real life on your road trip or layover at Denver International.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary UnderbellyBy Anthony Bourdain

Liz recommends the audio book of this ground-breaking memoir by the late Anthony Bourdain, just to remind yourself of the magic of the man. Written in 2000, then updated in 2007. Voiced by Bourdain himself. Find the Audiobook here. 


Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words

By Kimberly Harrington

For new moms who want to view the road ahead. And ‘been there, done that’ moms who want to nod in agreement and laugh out loud at Harrington’s perfect observations. Harrington is a copywriter and creative director. The first essay from this book  I Am The One Who has It All was posted at thenewyorker.com and went viral. It’s essays, New Moms, you can handle a few pages a night! Find in Paperback, Kindle or Audio here.