Tomorrow is June 1st, which means school is out and the pool is open. It's the perfect time to grab a beach towel and a refreshing beverage...and relax with some fun summer reading!
Need some ideas for books to read this summer? I got you, boo!
Here are my top picks for great summer reads. These are titles that would be perfect for long, hot afternoons—they've got interesting characters, accessible writing, and just the right amount of drama. Plus, every single one of them has been out long enough to be available in paperback!
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
Inspired by the real-life silent film actress Louise Brooks, this is the fictionalized story of the middle-aged woman hired to be the tempestuous Brooks's chaperone when she moved from Kansas (represent!) to New York to become a star. Prohibition! Flappers! Speakeasies!
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Set in the 1980s on a North Dakota reservation, this book is about a woman who suffers a brutal attack and the ways her husband and son seek justice. I realize such heavy themes don't exactly scream “summer,” but I was pulled right into this complicated family drama—and for my money, Erdrich is one of the best writers out there today.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton diSclafani
This one is for anyone who likes their summer reading on the steamy side. Sensual and alluring, this book follows teenage bad girl Thea to a boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where her penchant for troublemaking only intensifies. And what did she do to deserve banishment? You'll have to read to find out!
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
A scientist has disappeared while on a research trip in the Amazon rainforest, and Dr. Marina Singh has been dispatched to find him. I read this one a few years ago, before I started blogging, and I don't recall the details of it nearly so much as how it made me feel. The setting is lush, the characters intimately drawn, and reading it felt like walking around inside a fever dream. In the best possible way, of course.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Three children grow up as friends in an exclusive British boarding school, and now as adults must grapple with why they were set apart. It's best to know as little as possible going into this one, for the surprises to carry their full impact. This is the only book I read in grad school that I would have actually chosen to read on my own.
The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
For fans of ghost stories and haunted houses. A married couple and their young twin daughters move into an old, rambling Victorian in New England, but the house—and the town—hide some shocking secrets. Spooky, supernatural fun.
Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda
One night, two teenage girls decide out of summertime boredom to take a raft out on the bay surrounding their Red Hook neighborhood in Brooklyn. The next morning, one of the girls, Val, is found washed up onshore with a gash in the back of her head. Her friend June is nowhere to be found, and Val claims she remembers nothing of what happened. But this book is more than a great mystery—it captures an entire neighborhood, in all its diversity and bustling, complicated life.
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
File this one under “quirky and offbeat.” Sunny has worked hard to build an outwardly perfect life, but her perfectly styled blonde wig hides a secret—Sunny is bald, and that's only the tip of the imperfection iceberg. Sunny's brilliant husband, Maxon, is scheduled to blast off on a mission to the moon, but their relationship has plenty of earthbound challenges they need to deal with as well.
Happy Summer, and Happy Reading!