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The Best Beach Reads to Toss in Your Tote

July 18, 2019

We love biting into a juicy beach read just as much as we love sinking our teeth into meaty tomes about ancient philosophy. Whether you’re looking to slip a saucy romance into your tote or itching for something a bit more serious this summer, we’ve got a recommendation to suit your tastes. Below are eight staff picks — from a Zen Buddhist CEO’s leadership tips to a bubbly rom-com blockbuster to a thriller about a pint-sized sociopath — all perfect for reading while flossing poolside.

 Sunset on Oahu

“Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic,” by Sandra Kahn & Paul R. Ehrlich

No, it’s not about monster sharks. Written by pioneering orthodontist Sandra Kahn and world-renowned evolutionist Paul R. Ehrlich, “Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic” makes a startling claim: Modern life (soft foods, poor posture, allergens, living in confined spaces) is causing the human jaw to shrink, leading to crooked, overcrowded teeth, and, for many kids, years of braces. 


The authors connect our smaller jaws to a host of health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, hyperactivity, and sleep apnea. But don’t panic. As the publisher notes, the pair also proposes “simple adjustments that can alleviate this developing crisis, as well as a major alternative to orthodontics that promises more significant long-term relief.”  


I bought a dozen copies and I’ve lent them all out! It’s essential reading for every parent.  —Chrystle Cu, co-founder and dentist

“My Brilliant Friend,” by Emily Ferrante

My Brilliant Friend” is the first book in the Neapolitan Novels, a four-part series by the Italian author Elena Ferrante. The internationally beloved book examines an intimate and intense friendship between two girls. Although it’s set in post-World War II Italy, their relationship transports me back to my own childhood. I’m enjoying watching their friendship unfold slowly as they learn and grow together among the hot, gritty, and beautiful streets of Naples. I can’t wait to watch HBO’s new TV adaptation once I finish the book. —Cat Cu, co-founder


“Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen,” by Marc Lesser


Marc Lesser, the author of “Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons from Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen,” is the former director of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in Northern California, the first Zen monastery in the Western world. He then went on to teach mindfulness to business leaders in Silicon Valley, including developing the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program at Google, which aims to help participants integrate “mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and business savvy, to create great corporate cultures, and even a better world.”


I’m always asking myself how Cocofloss can support our teammates and customers in their pursuit of healthy and happy lives. I'm hoping to find some nuggets of wisdom in this book to help us stay focused yet flexible in all that we do! —Cat Cu, co-founder

“Crazy Rich Asians,” by Kevin Kwan

Looking for a great airplane read? Grab a copy of “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first title in Kevin Kwan’s trilogy of the same name. Here’s the publisher’s description of the plot: When protagonist Rachel Chu agrees to accompany her boyfriend on a trip to his family home in Singapore, she doesn’t yet realize that he also happens to be the country’s “most eligible bachelor and likely heir to a massive fortune.” Suddenly, Rachel is thrown into “an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.” In other words, total frothy, glitzy fun for readers.


Inspired by our own blog post about the film’s symbolism, I brought the book with me on my recent trip to Europe. I’d already seen the movie, but the book had enough of its own surprises to still be super entertaining.  —Sammie Yamashita, social media marketing associate

“Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy,” by Sadhguru

Sadhguru, a famed Indian yogi, mystic, and writer, is the founder of Isha, an Indian-based humanitarian and environmental movement. In “Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy,” he shares practical wisdom for everyday life. As he explains in the introduction, “My aim in this book is to help make joy your constant companion. To make that happen, this book offers you not a sermon, but a science; not a teaching, but a technology; not a precept, but a path.” 


I’m having so much fun reading his insights. It’s so joyful — it even makes me laugh out loud!  —Chrystle Cu, co-founder and dentist

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” by Maria Semple

Where’d You Go, Bernadette” has big laughs, emotion, and a twist of mystery that’ll have you wondering just where did Bernadette go? I loved riding along with the 15-year-old narrator, Bee, who shares the story through emails, letters, memos, etc., as she tries to solve the mystery of where her agoraphobic mother disappeared to before their family trip to Antarctica. 


A former TV comedy writer (“Arrested Development,” “Mad About You,” “Ellen”), Maria Semple weaves a fantastic plot, whipsmart satire, complex characters, and a different way of storytelling that had me hooked until the very end. A film adaptation directed by Richard Linklater and starring Cate Blanchett is scheduled to hit theaters on August 16. —Sarah Sitz, fulfillment associate

“The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life,” by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh 


The Path” brings Harvard professor Michael Puett’s wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy to all readers.Based on scholarly Chinese teachings from 2,000 years ago, the book “upends everything we are told about how to lead a good life. Its most radical idea is that there is no path to follow in the first place — just a journey we create anew at every moment by seeing and doing things differently,” says the publisher. It’s not light reading, but it is fascinating. Melissa Cheng, head of product, merchandising, and operations

“Baby Teeth: A Novel,” by Zoje Stage

I stumbled on this twisty family thriller when I was researching dental facts for Cocofloss. As it turns out, “Baby Teeth” has nothing to do with oral care but it certainly has a wicked bite. Framed as a battle of wills between stay-at-home mom Suzette and her seven-year-old daughter, Hanna, a bright little girl who has never spoken a word, the progressively creepy page-turner scrapes at the limits of maternal love. With a budding sociopath on one end of the taut tug of war, the book begs comparison with “The Omen” and other classic tales of menacing munchkins. But by allowing us into Hanna’s head every other chapter, it plays with our sympathies, making for a horrifying and heartrending read.


Last year, the hardcover release landed on a ton of summer reading lists, including Entertainment Weekly, PopSugar, Publishers Weekly, and Bookish. The paperback version, which is much more travel friendly — came out this month. Given the novel’s propulsive plotting, I’m not surprised that a film version is also in the works.  —April Kilcrease, copywriter