By Stephan Lee
June 30, 2014 at 07:57 PM EDT

No one wants to lug a hardcover to the beach. Luckily, there are some literary gems out in paperback and on e-readers. The best news? Their digital prices dropped, too.

FIRST UP: The Patron Saint of Ugly

The Patron Saint of Ugly

Marie Manilla

This wildly imaginative novel centers on a young woman who becomes an unlikely and reluctant saint believed to be able to heal other people’s skin ailments.

The Astronaut Wives Club

Lily Koppel

The wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts became ’60s icons in their own right. Their true stories make for a lovely, nostalgic summer read.

Claire of the Sea Light

Edwidge Danticat

In glorious prose, Danticat’s novel brings alive the residents of a coastal Haitian town after a spirited young girl disappears on her seventh birthday.

Double Feature

Owen King

Stephen King’s younger son goes for laughs over scares in his first novel, which features a filmmaker struggling to emerge from his father’s shadow.

Book of Ages

Jill Lepore

Lepore’s fascinating bio — about the relationship between Benjamin Franklin and his sister Jane — reveals what life was really like for women in the 18th century.

She Left Me the Gun

Emma Brockes

In this memoir, a journalist delves into her dead mother’s past. What she finds is shocking and unforgettable.


Jo Baker

Pride and Prejudice is retold from the point of view of the servants in this delicious, Downton-y tale.

Red Joan

Jennie Rooney

This absorbing historical novel is inspired by Melita Norwood, the British woman who was outed as a KGB spy at the age of 87.

The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, pray, what? Gilbert’s novel about a peripatetic botanist reminds us that she’s first and foremost a fiction writer—and a good one.

We Need New Names

NoViolet Bulawayo

In her stunning debut novel, Bulawayo tells the story of a young girl immigrating from Zimbabwe to the U.S.