10 Books You Should Have on Your Summer Reading List

It’s almost summer! And, contrary to that exclamation point, I’m not excited. Summer is when it’s hot and loud and sunny. Which is really not my thing. I like quiet and cold and dark. Like a true book dragon. For me, summer isn’t time to read on the beach. It’s time to blast the AC until my room turns into a giant icebox, avoid all other humans, and read some good books. School is almost out, and whether you’re a beach (or park or lake) reader, or an antisocial hermit like me, here are some great books you should add to your reading list this summer:

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. If summer romance is your thing, I highly recommend this one! I’m pretty sure it’s the only contemporary romance novel I’ve ever given five stars. (I don’t read a lot of them, but it’s still a big deal.) I loved this one, and I think it would be the perfect fun, summer read.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. For me, historical fiction is something I tend to gravitate more towards when the weather turns cool and I can curl up with a fuzzy blanket. But the marshes of North Carolina and the ecosystem living there play such a huge role in this book that it just screams summer. It’s a good one.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is another historical fiction novel with a summer vibe. It’s quintessential sixties rock and roll. But don’t let the flowing skirts and cutoff jeans fool you, this book will make you cry.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. I picked this up solely because I love Bill and Melinda Gates (I admire what they’ve done both in the tech world and as humanitarians).

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte. When I was a kid, summer meant going to all of the museums. Back then, I was a bit more into mammoths and saber-toothed cats (might have been all the times I visited the La Brea Tar Pits in LA), but this book has definitely made me appreciate just how cool dinosaurs were. I think, as a kid, I didn’t fully understand the implications of the giant bones. Now I see a jaw that could make bones explode, and a creature we’re really just beginning to fathom.

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller. Historical fiction. Fantasy. Feminist. That was all I needed to know to pick up this book, and I loved it. It’s such a fun light fantasy novel and it is easily one of the best feminist fantasy and/or historical novels I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read the sequel, which is out later this summer!

The Mermaid by Christina Henry. Mermaids = summer, right? This is another historical fiction novel, but with a twist. I love all of Christina Henry’s retellings (Lost Boy would also make a great addition to this list) but I definitely have a thing for stories involving P. T. Barnum. The real mermaid just puts this one over the top.

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang. If you’re interested in a more realistic story about the kind of “curiosities” men like P. T. Barnum were collecting, you need to read this book. It’s about a girl born with two hearts working as a resurrectionist – someone who procures bodies with anomalies. Mainly for medical or academic purposes, but there are a few collectors who want them for other reasons. I like weird history, but I also loved that this book is diverse. It also has a great love story. I loved it.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I know, this list has a lot of fantasy and historical fiction. So we obviously need some sci-fi. This is a brilliant, quick read and I loved it. This proves a book doesn’t have to be long to tell a complete story. I really enjoyed the story, but I also loved how pared-down it is – we don’t need subplots

Plight of the Living Dead by Matt Simon. Want all insects to freak you out? Read about zombifying parasites! Seriously, this book is one of the weirdest and most fascinating nonfiction books I’ve ever read. Bonus: you can impress and creep out your friends with your knowledge of zombifying cockroach wasps. Nature is seriously weird.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have you read any of these books? Are there any on your summer reading list?

18 thoughts

  1. Last night I checked out Bill Gates’recommendations for the summer and Melinda’s book was obviously among them. I really want to read it too, I love them both and I am so curious to see what the book is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a good book! And I always trust Bill Gates’s recommendations. A Gentleman in Moscow is another of my favorites this year, and I just added Presidents of War to my TBR.


        1. That’s definitely a valid excuse to put off reading it. I used to use books as motivation in grad school. “I can read it when I finish this paper…”

          I hope you enjoy it!


    1. Thank you! I loved The Impossible Girl – it’s one of the best examples of incorporating diversity into historical fiction I’ve ever read. Plus, the romantic subplot is perfect.


  2. Great list! Loved Daisy Jones & the Six so much so that I’ve just started reading another TJR this morning – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Where the crawdads sing was amazing also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I LOVED Evelyn Hugo! It was my first TJR book. I also really loved Evidence of the Affair, which is a short epistolary story (with a Daisy Jones mention). Happy reading!


  3. Great post Stephanie. I do love the sunnier days, although it isn’t always easy reading my Kindle in the bright sunlight! Lol! Luckily, here in the UK our summers aren’t always hot and sunny! πŸ˜‰

    So many of your book choices have been popping up around the blogosphere; I’ll have to start thinking about which books I’d have on my summer reading list. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m jealous – I wish it didn’t get so hot and sunny here. We’ve actually had fairly cool weather so far this year in California, and I’m just waiting for it to get unbearable soon.

      I hope you enjoy your summer reading!


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