1st July 1964: Bank Holiday crowds relaxing on the beach at Margate, Kent

I am heading to the beach for two weeks and need to choose what books to pack in my luggage.

I am bringing “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, “How Fiction Works” by James Woods, and “An Officer and a Spy” by Robert Harris.

I need one more.

For inspiration, I checked out various “Beach Read” lists.

GQ suggests leaving the Piketty at home and picking up one of 20 “fool-proof, cast iron, sun cream-smudged, guaranteed page turners” including “The Last Grain Race” by Eric Newby.

Newby’s early work is the filament in the lightbulb that lit up travel writing, pioneering the sort of self-deprecating comedy that Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, and Will Ferguson trade on. His first book charts his time aboard a ship in the last commercial sailing fleet running grain from Europe to Australia. The boat ended up as a restaurant in Philadelphia. He ended up as one of this century’s greatest authors.

Head House books in Philadelphia had a brief 3-book list that includes “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers” by Tom Rachman:

By the author of The Imperfectionists, Rachman has crafted a brilliant story that insightfully critiques the perils of our perhaps too-connected completely digitized world. He does this by following Tooly Zylerberg, an unconventional young woman traveling the globe to all the great cities desperately trying to make sense of her disturbing,convoluted, ​and largely ​unknown past. A keenly observed, suspenseful story with that keeps one thoroughly engaged until the book is devoured.

Elle’s Beach Read list suggests books from around the globe. Including a book I love, “The Last Life” by Claire Messud.

The Last Life is a coming of age story that’s not to be missed. It follows the summer frolic of a teenage girl named Sagesse LaBasse, whose French-Algerian family owns a hotel on the coast of the Mediterranean. Messud also goes back two generations to cover her grandparents’ exile from Algiers during political turmoil in the 1950s, making this a more complicated endeavor than most books with teen protagonists.

Who better to look to for a beach read list than Coastal Living? The book that leaps out at me from the list was “Delancey” by Molly Wizenberg:

You will cheer for Wizenberg, writer of the popular food blog Orangette, and her husband as they navigate the exciting and some-times treacherous task of opening a Seattle pizza shop—and try to build a marriage, too, in this honest, sprightly memoir.

I asked around the MPR newsroom for history book recommendations. Here are what some of our biggest readers think you should pick up.

Assistant Producer Marcheta Fornoff: “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela’s autobiography provides a social context to the apartheid in South Africa in a way that could only be surpassed by experiencing the movement firsthand. Mandela’s writing is frank, effortless and makes the reader feel like a fly on a very important wall.

A military fly-past takes place above a statue of former South African president Nelson Mandela shortly after its unveiling at the Union Buildings on December 16, 2013 in Pretoria, South Africa.(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Editor Hart Van Denberg: Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

A vivid portrait of the man, the modern political landscape he willed into existence, and the way his candidacies and presidency became the training ground for a small army of operatives whose names we see almost daily now on cable news shows, op-ed columns and the halls of Republican power.

nixonland bloodlands

Associate Producer Kryssy Pease: “Bloodlands” by Timothy Snyder

As the daughter of a WW2 historian, I can’t recommend “Bloodlands” highly enough. Snyder’s conceptualization of how to regard the era of mass murder by Nazi Germany and Stalinist USSR as an ongoing, interrelated phenomenon beginning in 1933 and extending through end of war can change one’s whole idea of the meaning of the history of Europe in early 20th century.

And my recommendation: “The Proud Tower” by Barbara Tuchman

Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” is the most famous of her books about World War One, but my favorite is this history of the decades that lead to the conflict. Some countries, cities, and people were hurtling toward modernity, while others were still mired in an agrarian past. Tuchman brings them to life in a series of essays rather than a linear history.