No one ever said your summer reading had to be lighter than a melon salad. For a balanced mental diet, sometimes you need to bring a little protein to the beach.

We’ve rounded up several personal finance books — some recent, some coming soon — to tote to the shore this summer. By September, you’ll know some new ways to build your personal wealth.

The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living –
Mark Boyle

Need a good savings role model? How about a man who managed to get through a whole year without spending a dollar? Boyle wanted to try to eke out an existence without cash by relying on seasonal foods, using solar panels, bartering, biking and washing clothes with handmade soap. While you probably don’t want to rough it like Boyle, you might pick up some good tips.

The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable RetirementJohn Graves

Filled with assignments and worksheets, this self-help book urges you to rely less on financial planners (Graves was a financial adviser for three decades) and more on yourself. The 7% Solution helps you design a portfolio and coaches on ways to cut down on finance fees, catch up on retirement savings and achieve a secure retirement.

The Frugal Gourmet: Secrets to Saving Money in the KitchenCharmaine Gerber

Gerber “descends from a long line of frugal homemakers” — a heritage that no doubt helps her save roughly $5,000 a year in the kitchen. In fact, this savings primer (Kindle edition) debuted within a week of her previous book, How I Paid $8 for $170 Worth of Groceries (Confessions of a Coupon Fashionista). The Frugal Gourmet covers grocery planning and shopping, and it shows how proper food selection and storage, and cooking with leftovers, can make cheaper, healthier meals.

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay Frank Partnoy

The act of saving is the delay of gratification to achieve optimal results. Partnoy pinpoints various scenarios celebrating delay: a tennis player returning a serve, a naval officer assessing a threat, a comedian lobbing a punchline. Using hundreds of scientific studies and expert interviews, Wait argues that slow, methodical thinking can help you prevail in today’s lightning-speed society.

The Last Trade James Conway
You can learn a lot from a juicy corporate thriller about what not to do with your money. The author — a hedge-fund insider and advertising executive, writing under a pen name — imagines a trader whose fund tears apart his marriage, sets off a string of murders, and threatens to trigger global economic catastrophe. It’s a surefire lesson on avoiding overly risky investments.

What’s your favorite personal-finance book? What’s the best financial advice you’ve ever gotten from a book?