Whether you’re a hardcore reader who is always looking for a new book to add to your TBR list or someone who picks up a magazine maybe twice a year, you can’t deny the allure of summertime reading. When it feels wrong to spend all day inside watching Netflix when the sun’s out (not that I’ve never done this), and it’s just too hot to be active, reading becomes the ideal summer activity. As we’re well into peak summer (HOW can it possibly be late July??), I’m sharing my favorite reading recommendations for every type of reader.
For the person who needs to escape:
- Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon – these books are a no-brainer for anyone who is feeling bored and restless. Time-traveling lovers with a side of fantastical plot points and Scottish accents? If it’s wrong that it doesn’t make sense, then I don’t want to be right. Plus, there’s a binge-worthy TV series and MANY books, including companion novels, so you’re promised entertainment for the rest of the year.
- The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton – really any of Morton’s mysterious family sagas are good escapist reads, but this one is my favorite. If you like complex, cross-generational family secrets and the English countryside then you’re bound to love Morton’s novels. This is not a casual read – every time I dive into one I need to set aside afternoons just for reading because I know I won’t be able to stop once I’ve started.
- Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter – this book is one of my all-time favorites, and holds the record as the only book that has ever made me cry from happiness instead of sadness. Spanning countries and decades, this one is a great beach/pool read with substance, but honestly can be enjoyed anywhere. I highly recommend reading it if you’re not traveling this summer – the descriptions of the Italian coast will make up for it.
For the person who always needs to be learning something new:
- If Our Bodies Could Talk, by James Hamblin – finally, an interesting book about health! I’ve been trying for years to find good reading material on the body, but everything I’ve picked up has felt more like a textbook than an accessible read. Hamblin, who writes for The Atlantic, has written a nonfiction book that both educates and entertains.
- Designing Your Life, by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans – since graduating college I’ve been on a real self-help kick, picking up anything and everything that could help me get my life together. This book is one of the few that truly helped me assess my goals and future plans, plus gave me the tools I need to make that vision a reality.
- Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert – essential reading for anyone who wants to live a more creative life. Reading this book provided endless inspiration for me to stay motivated and keep doing the things that make me happy. My copy is filled with notes and underlined passages that I still go back to and read when I need some magic.
For the person who just wants to read a book without thinking too hard about it:
- The Assistants, by Camille Perri – this novel came out last summer and it was one of my favorites of the year. Following a group of underpaid and underappreciated assistants at a large corporation who steal from their bosses to pay off their student loans, this book is actually funny and a breeze to read. Drink with Moscow Mule in hand.
- I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron – a perfect memoir from your favorite screenwriter. Ephron makes writing look so easy that you forget you’re reading essays from one of the best; rather, you feel like you’re listening to one of your best friends tell a witty, very relatable, story.
- The Vacationers, by Emma Straub – your classic dysfunctional family saga, but on a beautiful Spanish island. Straub’s other novels are great too, but I love this one for its sun-soaked setting and first love side plot. Must be read outdoors, preferably on a lazy day, even more favorably on a beach.
For the person who can’t commit to anything:
- Darling Magazine – a gorgeous publication that has great content and no gossip. Who says books are the only path to being a well-read person? Darling operates on an empowering and genuine platform, and the women they highlight are smart, successful, and badass.
- The Sunday Styles section of the New York Times – I wish I could be the type of person who religiously reads the entire NY Times every day, but alas. The Sunday Styles section is my go-to for updates on culture, short and sweet profiles/interviews, and, of course, the Modern Love column (which inspired my favorite podcast of the same name). Also the Vows section, for occasionally being so very laughable (one time a bride was described as “a direct descendent of Davy Crockett”).
- Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed – this book is a compilation of letters sent to Cheryl Strayed of Dear Sugar, an advice column-turned-podcast. You may recognize Strayed as the writer of the hugely popular memoir-turned-movie Wild. With no pressure to read every single letter and answer (even though you’ll probably want to), this one is a perfect choice for someone who can only commit to a few minutes of reading a day.
Time to ~get lit~ friends.