The summer of 2011 is finally here and the beach is calling. Or the lake. Whether you prefer hardback or softcover, iPad or Kindle, summer beach reading is often thought of as a thing apart. It's a kind of shorthand for books that are engrossing, sweeping, and transporting, with characters and plot deep enough to lose yourself in. And they've got to be captivating enough to stand up to the occasional sting of sunscreen running into your eyes.

What would you recommend as great summer reading this year? We'd love to hear about new books – though the occasional classic would be just great, too. The best recommendations will be published in The Inquirer. Post your best recommendation – with a short explanation of what makes it such a great summer read.