My Summer Reading List

Even though it is still another month or so until the official start of summer, now that Memorial Day has passed it feels like everyone is in summertime mode. I’ll admit that I am too. It is finally consistently warm in Chicago. We have gotten some truly gorgeous sunny days that just exude summery vibes. All of that got me thinking about my summer reading for this year. Not gonna lie, I was totally that kid all throughout elementary, middle, and high school who looked forward to summer reading. Granted, I didn’t always care for the assigned summer books, but I always looked forward to a trip to the bookstore early in the summer time to stock up. Most summer days, I could be found with my nose in a book from the time I woke up until way after it was time to go to bed. I also spent over $500 at Borders over the course of one summer. I can remember many trips to the library to bring home a stack of books that I’d devour in a few days time, and many hours spent pouring over Amazon’s extensive list of books, writing down the ones I wanted to get. I just love reading, and for some reason some of my fondest memories of reading and discovering some of my favorite books have come during the summer. I am well past the time of assigned reading, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped making lists of all the books I want to read!


Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg // I admit I was hesitant to grab for this book at first. I have heard many people talk about it for a while now, but I’m typically not into books that skew towards self-help and empowerment. I typically find them overdone and cheesy. I am so glad I gave this book a chance. I have just begun reading it, and it certainly is defying my expectations so far. It is interesting, informative, and relatable. It is the perfect mix of research and personal anecdotes. I anticipate finishing this book very quickly.


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr // This book won the Pulitzer Prize this year, and I have been wanting to read it for a while now. This is a period novel, set during World War II, and tells the story of a young French girl and a young German boy, and how their lives intersect and are affected by the war. It is a long one, at nearly 600 pages, but from everything I’ve heard, it is impossible to put down once you start reading it.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins // Ever since reading Gone Girl a year ago, I have been all about the literary thriller, and I have heard that this novel does not disappoint. My mom actually turned me on to after she began reading it, and it has been at the top of the bestseller’s list for months. Definitely looking forward to this one.


Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso // This is actually 1 of 2 books by Sarah Manguso on my list. My thesis advisor has been constantly recommending her as an essayist I should read, and it is finally time to heed that recommendation. This is her latest book, which examines her relationship to time, living in the present, and fear of forgetting the past through a diary Manguso kept for 25 years.


The Guardians by Sarah Manguso // This is the second book by Sarah Manguso that I want to read. The book centers around a friend of Manguso’s who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train, and grapples with his death and reflects on friendship.


Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs // The “Bones” series of books is definitely on of my guilty pleasures. I love the thriller genre and fast-paced, all action books. When it comes out on July 21st, this will be the 18th book in the series, and I have enjoyed every single one.


The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer // This is a holdover from last summer’s reading list. I have wanted to read this novel for a long time, so I am definitely making it a priority to read this summer. The novel centers around a group of friends and examines how creativity, friendship, and talent interact.


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King // Stephen King was my first introduction to the horror / thriller genre, as I’m sure is true for many people. This novel came out last year (and actually has a sequel that was recently released). This one is a bit of a departure from the typical horror genre for King, who describes the novel as a “hard-boiled detective novel.” Stephen King’s novels are always fast-paced, immersive reads.


Dietland by Sarai Walker // I became interested in this book honestly about a week ago, when I listened to a review on NPR. The story centers around an overweight woman who writes an advice column for a teen magazine and dreams of the day she’ll be thin. She eventually stumbles into a sort of “fight club” for the overweight. It seemed like a quirky, fun read, but also one that challenges some of the beauty standards of the real world.


The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson // I actually had the great pleasure of e-mailing back and forth with Maggie Nelson and seeing her read at Northwestern this month. This is a nonfiction book that takes a look at love, family, and language. It is part memoir, part theory, and I cannot wait to dig in to it.


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll // This book was recommended to me, and falls into the category of literary thriller. It centers around a 20-something named Ani whose life seems perfect, but who is also harboring a big secret. Like I said earlier, I am all about the literary thriller, so I hope this one lives up to expectations.


Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot // This is a bit of a nostalgic pick. As a teenager, I devoured Meg Cabot novels. I seriously could not put them down and it would be fair to say she was the author that defined my reading life between the ages of 12-15. I read a few of her adult novels, but I haven’t kept up with her much as an adult. This, however, changes all that. Royal Wedding is the latest book in the Princess Diaries series, and is the first adult novel in the series. It focuses on, of course, Princess Mia’s wedding. I am greatly looking forward to this book being released on June 2nd and diving back into a world that was so familiar as a teen.


In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume // My final pick for summer is also nostalgic. Judy Blume used to rule my reading life. I am almost positive that I checked out every single one of her books from the public library at least two times. This is her first adult novel in quite some time, and is set against the backdrop of a series of plane crashes that occurred in her home town in the 1950s. Again, I seriously can’t wait to stay up reading this all night once it is released June 2nd, the same way I stayed up all night reading her middle grade and young adult books.

So those are my picks for summer reading this year! What books are you excited for?

All book cover photos taken from


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