Our Picks for Your Summer Reads

Liz and I became friends while working for our university’s admissions blog, so we share a nostalgic love for list blogs and reading lists. I don’t have solid proof, but it’s likely that a list of book suggestions was one of the first things we ever collaborated on. Anyways, as lovers of books and lover of book recommendations, we decided (again) to offer you seasonal book recs. Because, let’s get real, there’s a difference in the kind of book you want to read in the winter than the kind of book you’ll pack in your beach bag.

Here’s what we think you should read this summer (click on the title to order from one of our favorite indie bookstores!):

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Tiny, quick, and snappy. Perfect for an afternoon by the pool. It’s darkly funny, about murder and falling in love and a sister’s loyalty. You can easily read in one sitting!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Pack this one in your beach bag! Easy to get into and a delight to pick up where you left off, Bernadette is a zany character who you’ll both love and not understand. Plus the movie comes out this August, so it’s a perfect summer book/movie pairing.

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
Truly one of my favorite books of all time (hello nostalgia). A book to have on hand and read in coffee shops throughout the summer. A sunny day feels like the perfect pairing for Shauna’s short essays on life, joy, and celebration.

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Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Read this one with a beer on your back porch at dusk. I’m reading it now and falling in love with the South and summer all over again.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Another must-have for your beach bag. This story will captivate your whole heart. Set in the South in the summer, it feels right to read this on a beach or poolside, sweating and immersing yourself in these beautiful characters’ lives.

Devotions by Mary Oliver
I’ve started reading poetry in the quiet of the mornings and it’s one of my new favorite things. Mary Oliver (rest her sweet soul) wrote brilliant, beautiful, timely things that are perfect for slowing down in the midst of summer chaos.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I think most people read this novel in high school, but I wasn’t so lucky. This is a book to read slowly and take in for the richness that it is. Ideally, on a slow summer Saturday. You know the ones where you never really change out of your pajamas and enjoy the air conditioning all day to hide from the heat? Let this novel weigh you down in the best way it can.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Let this book take over your summer. Americanah is one of the best books I’ve ever read; if you only read one book on this list, let it be this one. From your beach bag to bed to waiting for your friends before dinner, Americanah is a story of belonging and love, and is more than worth your time.

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren 
This, my friends, is the certified beach read from your certified beach local. Christina Lauren has become one of my favorite authors and I think any of their work would be ideal for the summer (especially since I’m making my way through their work this summer). Love and Other Words is a beautiful love story dripped in nostalgia and longing.t

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez 
I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is the novel to grab on family vacation, to absorb amidst the chaos and fall in love with the world rocking power of a good Young Adult novel. This novel follows the life of a teenage girl who’s trying to find where she fits in the world after her sister’s death. A story of mental illness, resilience, and family, it’ll leave you with a heavy heart in the best way.

To see more of what we’re reading, subscribe to our newsletter for our monthly reading lists! And tell us what you’re reading in the comments below! We believe that the best way to become better writers is through reading, so we want to be a community that writes together and reads together.

Ashton Ray