Columns > Published on July 7th, 2023

Shark Reads! 5 Books to Satisfy your Beach-Reads-Shark-Week-Summer-Loving Self

Original header image by Brian Jiz

It’s almost mid-July, the absolute peak of summer, and the traditional time to hit the beach with a book in your bag. Whether you’re digging out a paperback sticky with sunscreen or doing your best to keep sand off your e-reader, odds are you’re delving into a "beach read." Just as summer is the time for popcorn blockbusters, a certain type of book tends to lend itself to beating the heat. Usually light-hearted mood boosters or page-turning thrillers. Stories that entertain, but might not need all of your attention, and certainly don’t make you think about all of the sea creatures lurking just beneath the sparkling waves…

That’s reserved for the end of July, when Discovery Channel’s Shark Week airs—another summer tradition that started out as a way to remind us that we’re far more likely to be killed by jellyfish, cows or bees than sharks, and has evolved into an anticipated television extravaganza hosted this year, fittingly, by Jason Momoa. 

To get you ready, and keep a book on your towel, I’m combining the two. Move over beach reads: it’s time for Shark Reads!

Don’t worry, I’m skipping the obvious. And, really, no one wants to see you reading Jaws on the beach. Try one of these instead: 

"The Devil's Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America's Great White Sharks" by Susan Casey

If you’re looking to get up close and with personal with sharks, Casey’s recounting of her adventure with two biologists and a host of great whites just off the coast of San Francisco will both thrill you and teach you—and remind you of why we need to respect and not just blindly fear these incredible animals.

Get The Devil's Teeth at Bookshop or Amazon


"Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks" by Juliet Eilperin

If you’re more of a globetrotter, or armchair adventurer, Eilperin’s investigation into how people from all parts of the world interact with sharks is a fascinating read. From our decimation of shark populations to our adrenaline-junky need to swim with the "demon fish," Eilperin questions the complicated relationship between humans and sharks, and warns of what will happen if we don’t respect that which already owns the sea.

Get Demon Fish at Bookshop or Amazon


"Everything is Teeth" by Evie Wyld, illustrated by Joe Sumner

If a graphic novel is more your style, Wyld and Sumner’s illustrated exploration of an Australian girl who becomes obsessed with sharks is perfect. In soft but spare, mostly black-and-white panels, Everything is Teeth is a contemplative, even comforting look at both sharks and our childhood fears.

Get Everything is Teeth at Bookshop or Amazon


"The Shark Club" by Ann Kidd Taylor

Still in the mood for a summery romance? Taylor’s meet-cute story of a marine biologist returning home to Florida both satisfies the "which man will she choose?" itch and takes a closer look at sharks both in the ocean and in one woman’s heart. With the added suspense of an investigation into illegal shark-finning, The Shark Club ticks all the boxes for a beach read… but with sharks.

Get The Shark Club at Bookshop or Amazon


"MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror" by Steve Alten

And if you’re determined to lose yourself in a gripping tale of pure shark-terror, try MEG, which kicked off an entire series of thrillers and two films, all focused on prehistoric, 70-foot long megalodon whale-eaters, and preys upon our deepest fears of encountering one. 

[You can read LitReactor's MEG Primer here]

Get MEG at Bookshop or Amazon


Happy reading!

About the author

Steph Post is the author of the novels Lightwood and A Tree Born Crooked and her short fiction has most recently appeared in Haunted Waters: From the Depths, Nonbinary Review and the anthology Stephen King’s Contemporary Classics. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling Award and was a semi-finalist for The Big Moose Prize. She is currently the writing coach at Howard W. Blake High School in Tampa, Florida.

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