Grace Metalious (1956)
Chances are you’ve only heard of this book by reputation, or possibly seen the movie or TV series, but never thought to read the book. I had always wanted to read Peyton Place, knowing that when it originally came out it was somewhat scandalous and extremely popular. Part soap-opera and part time capsule, this tale of a seemingly quiet New England town is the perfect mind-candy, beach book. What surprised me most was the intelligent style of the writing (I expected Daniel Steel) and how some of the themes still had the ability to shock.