5 Wisco-Connected Beach Reads and Where to Read Them

Enjoy these books with local hooks while relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan.

WHAT’S A TRIP to the beach without the company of an enthralling book? We talked to Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. (and did a little digging ourselves) to find the best Milwaukee- and Wisconsin-connected books to take to the beach this summer. Here are five to pack in your bag.

For a sexy thriller… 

The Spare Room by Andrea Bartz

After Kelly and her now ex-fiance decide to take a break, she moves in with her childhood friend and her husband. Quickly, she falls for both of them, making her question everything she knows about love and her sexuality. When a steamy night leads the couple to open their marriage for her, she falls even harder into their dazzling and complicated world – then she finds out the last woman they were with before her disappeared. Out June 20

“The Spare Room” by Andrea Bartz; Photo courtesy of Publisher

For the adventurer… 

America the Beautiful? One Woman in a Prius on the Road Most Traveled by Blythe Roberson 

Blythe Roberson, famed author of How to Date Men When You Hate Men, starts her journey in this travel memoir by borrowing a Prius in Milwaukee. From there, she hits the open road, traveling to America’s national parks. She takes readers along for the journey as she wrestles with ecotourism, sexism, freedom, climate change and more. 

“America the Beautiful” by Blythe Roberson; Photo courtesy of publisher



Nominations are open for the 2024 Unity Awards! 

Know an individual or group committed to bridging divides in our community? Nominate them for a Unity Award by Oct. 31.

For the feline friendly…

Sit in the Sun: And Other Lessons in the Spiritual Wisdom of Cats by Jon M. Sweeney

Learn from the cats and relax! Sweeney has written about and practiced alongside teachers of many different religions over the years. Now, he looks to his feline friends to share their wisdom for a balanced life. The illustrated meditation guide shares how we can live with that sense of playfulness, independence, trust and unconditional love.

“Sit in the Sun: And Other Lessons in the Spiritual Wisdom of Cats” by Jon M. Sweeney; Photo courtesy of a publisher

For the suspense seeker… 

Breakfall by Zhanna Slor

Mina is 32 and recently divorced with a toddler when Chicago detectives show up at her door. They’re looking for a friend from her former jiu-jitsu gym who’s a recovering addict and felon – and the van she let him register in her name. He’s missing. Everyone at the gym is either a suspect or a potential victim. And Mina must face the scandal that made her leave the gym in the first place.

“Breakfall” by Zhanna Slor; Photo courtesy of publisher

For a throwback…

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

It’s 1981, and 19-year-old Sherri leaves her simple life in East Troy to be a bunny at the glamorous Playboy resort in Lake Geneva. She finds friendship and sisterhood living in the “bunny-hutch” (dorms at the resort), feels the thrill of young love and grows up quickly among the rock ’n’ roll, drugs and sex all around her. Between the too-tight stilettos and an unexpected tragedy, the summer stays with her long after her time there. 

“Shoulder Seaso”n by Christina Clancy; Photo courtesy of publisher

Illustration by Getty Images

Sandy Shores

Try these five sunny reading destinations.

1. South Shore Beach

2900 S. SHORE DR. 

Enjoy a brew from the park’s beer garden and one of the best views of the city while you lounge in the sand.

2. Grant Park Beach


Grab a treat from this park’s new concessions facility to snack on while you sink into a book.

3. Doctors Beach


Enjoy a hike through the beautiful wooded area at this park before settling down to flip some pages in the sand

4. Atwater Beach


Tucked below the bluffs and away from city noise, this is a great spot to read until sunset.

5. Bradford Beach


While this beach is often busy, it’s big too! So there’s lots of space to lay out in the sun and read.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s June issue.

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Brianna Schubert is the associate digital editor and writes about art, culture and more at Milwaukee Magazine. When she’s not writing/editing, she’s likely reading (follow her book reviews on Instagram at @read_with_bee), cooking or listening to Taylor Swift.