The Best Summer Reads And The Bags To Carry Them

As both word nerds and fashion fanatics, there is little that gets us more excited than shopping for the ultimate summer pairing: beach books and bags. After all, how glorious can a seaside or poolside afternoon be if you don't have the season's must-have novel and an on-point carrier too? 

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  • On that note, we've gathered summer's most buzzed-about new books--and a couple of classics too!--and paired them with equally of-the-moment bags. Whether you’re in the mood for a scandalous novel (Entwined With You), a sci-fi page-turner (The Bone Season), or a cant-put-it-down suspense story (Reconstructing Amelia), keep reading to see our entire list of essentials.

  • The Book: Revenge Wears Prada ($15) by Lauren Weisberger
    The Bag: Joie Louisa Woven Tote ($118) in Purple

    Just in case you've been living under a rock for the last decade, this is the long-awaited sequel to everyone's favorite boss-from-hell book The Devil Wears Prada ($13). Written by Lauren Weisberger--famously a former assistant of Vogue's Anna Wintour--the author revisits her breakout characters (Andy! Emily! Miranda!) in a similarly dishy fashion. And while we didn't see a takedown monologue on the same level as TDWP's "That sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean," rant, it is an unquestionably fun read.

  • The Book: Entwined With You ($8) by Sylvia Day
    The Bag: Forever 21 Retro Lips Canvas Tote ($4)

    Looking for a new version of Fifty Shades of Grey? Try the Crossfire series, including this newest installment, Entwined With You. (The first two books--Bared To You and Reflected In You--are filthy fun.) Modest readers take note: there's a Kindle version available too, if you prefer to be discreet about your reading material.

  • The Book: Crazy Rich Asians ($13) by Kevin Kwan
    The Bag: Michael Kors Gia Large Leather-Trimmed Woven Straw Shopper ($795)

    China is a serious topic these days, but we're not that politically minded or deep. Instead, give us this Singapore-set escapist novel about the Chinese jet set and we're happy. This one fits the bill perfectly and has a bit of a fashion pedigree too: it was excerpted in the June issue of Vogue, so you know it's buzzy.


  • The Book: Infamous ($15) by Lauren Conrad
    The Bag: Nasty Gal Clear Contrast Tote ($58)

    The Fame Game series by New York Times-bestselling author Lauren Conrad is one of our favorite guilty pleasures; we've been known to read each one, packing full of juicy polots, in a single sitting! The fourth and final installment finds Madison Parker and the rest of The Fame Game costars tangled up in a web of tabloid gossip and relationship drama that promises to lead to a gasp-out-loud conclusion. 

  • The Book: Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls ($16) by David Sedaris
    The Bag: Echo Map Of Mexico Tote Bag ($128) 

    In his latest book, Sedaris has returned to his finest form with his signature mix of laugh-out-loud narratives and touching insight into very human moments. The best part? Each chapter is a standalone tale, so dipping in and out of this book is extremely easy.

  • The Book: Reconstructing Amelia ($17) by Kimberly McCreight
    The Bag: Peter Jensen Silhouette Rabbit Tote Bag ($162)

    ​Everyone we know who loves books is reading this right now. Billed as Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl, it's a super fast read and perfect for the mystery lover who likes her suspense violence-free. (Well, there's social violence, but nothing that's technically gory, we swear.) Warning: do not start this book when you have pressing things to do/a schedule to keep.

  • The Book: Shocked ($19) by Patricia Volke
    The Bag: LOFT Colorblocked Straw Beach Tote ($40) in Canary Yellow

    In this charming memoir, Patricia Volke explores womanhood and personal style by weaving together the vastly different lives of her two muses: her own mother (Audrey Morgen Volke) and Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

  • The Book: The Bone Season ($17) Samantha Shannon
    The Bag: Rebecca Minkoff Palm Tree Cherish Tote ($250)

    ​This book--set in London in the year 2059--is the first of seven to come in a futuristic sci-fi fantasy series. Though it's not available until late summer, it's worth noting that the 21-year-old author, allegedly the new J.K. Rowling, has already sold the movie rights for the books. In other words: we have a hunch this series is going to become a worldwide phenomenon, so might as well see what all the fuss is about immediately!

  • The Book: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test ($12) by Tom Wolfe
    The Bag: Baggu Tote ($9) in Ostrich

    ​Lit legend Tom Wolfe ushered in New Journalism with this chronicle of his travels with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters. Join their trip as they ride out the roller coaster of the psychedelic sixties.

  • The Book: The Silver Star ($16) by Jeannette Walls
    The Bag: Zara Shopper Bag with Three Shades of Blue ($169)

    As major fans of Walls' heartbreaking, often hilarious, New York Times-bestselling memoir The Glass Castle, picking up her new novel is a no-brainer. This marks the reporter-turned-author's first true turn at fiction--a previous work, Half Broke Horses, was partially based on her grandmother’s life--and the result definitely deserves a spot on your must-read list.

  • The Book: Play It As It Lays ($12) by Joan Didion
    The Bag: Khoi Le Garten Canvas and Leather Tote ($138)

    ​Prefer a side of soul-searching with your summer sunshine? Put yourself in the hands of lauded author and prose master Joan Didion, as she spins the Hollywood spiral of disenchanted aspiring actress Maria Wyeth.

  • The Book: The Woman Upstairs ($15) by Claire Messud
    The Bag: Mar Y Sol Havana Tote ($110) in Navy

    Full disclosure: we bought this book merely because Entertainment Weekly told us to and we really like their recommendations. The novel, written by Claire Messud, who also wrote the New York Times bestseller Emperor’s Children, centers on a topic we always find compelling--a controlled person coming undone and the chaos that’s unleashed when it happens.

  • The Book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane ($16) by Neil Gaiman
    The Bag: Hotel Americano, New York La Piscine Tote Bag ($35)

    ​In his first adult novel in eight years, Neil Gaiman brings a supernatural thrill back to this all too natural world. Following a bookish protagonist as he winds back through childhood memories, the imaginative tale engulfs you like the titular “ocean,” only letting you up to breathe sparingly.

  • The Book: Sisterland ($16) by Curtis Sittenfeld
    The Bag: Sensi Studio Woven Toquilla Straw Tote ($225)

    As the author of some of our favorite novels--including Prep and American Wife--we know Sittenfeld's new novel is sure to be brilliantly bittersweet and the belle of book clubs all summer long.

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