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Best Beach Reads for a Santa Monica Vacation

Whatever your preference, a good book makes the perfect companion while lounging poolside or oceanside at our Santa Monica hotel.

Spine-tingling thriller or swoon-worthy romance? Whatever your preference, a good book makes the perfect companion while lounging poolside or oceanside at our Santa Monica hotel. 


You’ll find a full range of books in your in-room library at Oceana, personalized to your preferences so you can return to old favorites and discover new ones. And for the ultimate reading retreat, our Day at the Beach package includes personalized beach chair setup service, with gourmet dining and a cooler of beverages delivered to your chair, and complimentary cocktails handcrafted at our rooftop lounge, Sunset Terrace. All you have to think about is what page turner you’ll choose next.


To supplement your reading list, here are some of our favorite recently-released titles.


The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett’s second novel took the world by storm when it was released last year. The bold, compelling story follows two twin sisters whose lives divert when one is raised Black and the other white. Spanning decades and generations, The Vanishing Half is a moving examination of race, sisterhood and the impact of the past; it was lauded as one of 2020’s best books by The New York Times, NPR, Vanity Fair and others. 


The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Hailed as a modern Agatha Christie, mystery maven Lucy Foley delivers a chill-inducing thriller that demands to be read in one sitting. Guests gather for a celebrity-studded wedding held on a remote island in Ireland for what is supposed to be the picture-perfect event of the season. But as past secrets, jealousies and betrayals are revealed, the gathering begins to unravel — and someone is found dead. Part of the fun of Foley’s twisting, unnerving novel is playing detective as new clues and motives are uncovered.


Beach Read by Emily Henry

This is Santa Monica hotel life: a cocktail in one hand, a book in another and nothing but the sea and sun stretching ahead of you. That’s the feeling bestselling Beach Read evokes, a breezy, engaging novel following January, a romance writer who’s staying in her late father’s beach house while working on her next book. Struggling with writer’s block, she encounters surly, but irresistible, literary author Gus living next door — and the two strike up a deal. Gus will write romance and January will write something dark and literary. And, of course, sparks fly.

All you have to think about is what page turner you’ll choose next.

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Selected by numerous publications as the best book of the year, the nonfiction Hidden Valley Road welcomes readers into the life of the Galvin family, where six of the twelve children were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Interweaving narratives of the Galvin offspring with the scientific forays into understanding the disease, Kolker’s book is a searing, fascinating exploration of mental illness. While not a light read, his engaging, compassionate story-telling draws you into the Galvin house while providing a thorough background of scientific and medical development.


All Adults Here by Emma Straub

Set over one summer, All Adults Here is a relatable, captivating and funny look at family. A shocking incident forces Astrid Strick to reconsider her relationship with her three grown children, who are struggling with their own pasts and futures. It’s a book where you’ll recognize memories and characters, and consider how family shapes us. Read it before it’s released as a TV show.


Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Take a step back in time to meet the Bard as only Maggie O’Farrell can portray him. The much-praised historical story introduces readers to a fictionalized account of Shakespeare’s son Hamnet, who died as a child, but whose name was given to one of Shakespeare’s most famous works. With intoxicating, poetic language, O’Farrell paints a portrait of grief, marriage and hope, one that will make you wish you could remain endlessly in her 1600s London.


At Oceana, our staff is delighted to fill your shelves with the books that will most delight and intrigue you when you book our Day at the Beach package. Lazy days reading and new adventures await. Contact us to plan your bespoke stay in Santa Monica today.

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