JawsRead about another novel on the list.
by Peter Benchley
If the idea of relaxing by the shore seems a little too ho-hum, then pick up Peter Benchley's first novel, published in 1974 and famously adapted for the big screen by Steven Spielberg. The book spent 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and why not? The author combines the stories of three men's lives with a gripping tale of a summer resort thrown into panic by the arrival of a hungry...well, you've probably heard. Wildly inaccurate when it comes to chondrichthyan behavior, it's the worst PR sharks ever had -- and yet a frightfully fun read. Staring out at the waves will acquire a whole new frisson.
Jaws is one of six hugely popular books that accidentally screwed the world.
Also see: John Mullan's list of ten of the best beaches in literature.