I've seen so many great suggestions for beach and poolside reading now that summer is here. After looking at several lists, I'd like to make my own recommendation:
My first encounter with this novel was during one of my summer vacations in high school. I got it from a list of 5 "great" summer reads in Seventeen magazine. Back then, I did everything Seventeen suggested. For example, if they proposed that the perfect movie date outfit was a fluffy white sweater, a red plaid skirt, white tights and black Mary Janes, I was all over it, even though denim was de rigueur in 1970s southwest Oklahoma.
I don't remember what the other 4 books were. The Picture of Dorian Gray jumped out at me so I dutifully found a copy at the local library, put it in my bag with my beach towel and suntan oil and went off to the pool. I lay on my towel and read the whole book in one afternoon, pausing only to jump in the water when I got too hot.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was so engrossing, I forgot to reapply the suntan oil after my first couple of trips into the pool, and ended up with a blistery sunburn that stretched my skin painfully tight and turned me the color of Barney for about a week. Nevertheless, I have only fond memories of this novel, and consider The Picture of Dorian Gray quintessential beach read.
If you should make the same mistake I did, the 1945 movie version would be a nice distraction while you're lying around slathered in aloe vera gel and knocking back the ibuprofen.