What I’m Reading This Summer

I’ve noticed a stumbling block in my effort to read more. When I finish a book, I lose some time – days even – while I’m trying to decide what to read next.

It’s not for a lack of ideas: I have plenty of possibilities saved to this Pinterest board, and I have lots of unread books on my real life bookshelves and my Kindle. But I still have a hard time settling down and picking the next book.

Inspired by all the summer reading lists that are floating around (and Eileen’s comment on this post), I decided to create my own personal summer reading list that will (hopefully) guide me from one book to the next with a minimum of reading downtime.

I started the list with the books that my big book club and my smaller book group have picked for the summer (that was the easy part). Then I added in some personal picks to round things out.

Here is what my summer reading list looks like for now through the end of August.

Personal Picks

Faithful Place by Tana French

Tana French is an Irish mystery writer whose books I enjoy, but it’s been a while since I’ve picked one up. This the book that I’m currently reading and it sucked me right in.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

This was my favorite book as a kid and I’m re-reading it in anticipation of a trip to New York. If all goes as planned, I’ll get to check off an item on my places to go and things to do list.

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews

Many of MKA’s books are set in beach towns, including this one, so I’m saving it for a family trip to Florida in July.

Summer of 69 by Elin Hilderbrand

I buy Elin’s latest book every summer. I don’t even think about…I just do it, because she never disappoints. Summer of 69 is being described as her first historical novel. I guess 1969 is historical now?

Big Book Club

You can read more about the big book club here and see our entire reading list for the year here.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

The publisher calls this “an emotionally powerful novel about three people who each lose the one they love most, only to find second chances where they least expect them.”

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

A World War II novel that tells the story of a New York socialite, a Polish teenager, and a German doctor, and how their lives connect. It’s been described as harrowing, compelling, moving, and memorable. It’s also inspired by a true story.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Amazon describes Where the Crawdads Sing as “an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder.” It’s also on everyone’s list of best books of 2018.

Small Book Group

I’m proud of the variety of my small (just four of us) book group’s picks for the summer: there’s non-fiction and memoir (which we read a lot of) but also a novel and even short stories.

The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor

The author spent 12 years at Harvard researching happiness and this book science and principles behind the discovery that happiness fuels success, and not the other way around.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

A collection of short stories by Tom Hanks. (Yes, that Tom Hanks.)

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro

The author sends in her DNA for analysis, like so many of us are doing, and discovers that her father wasn’t her biological father. It sounds like fiction, but it’s a true story. I see this book mentioned everywhere and Dani Shapiro is an excellent writer. I’m looking forward to it.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

A former web designer takes a job at a San Francisco bookstore and soon discovers that everything is not as it seems. Amazon calls it a “literary adventure story” and promises “global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life.”

What are you reading this summer?

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


  1. Good luck with your list! 🙂

    I’m currently reading The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson, so far so good.

    A few on my list for the summer: Re-read Where the Crawdads Sing (my book club selection for Sept), The Salt Line, The Keeper of Lost Things, Evvie Drake Starts Over.

    I saw all my sisters (4 of them) in Florida at Easter and they have all read Outlander and I got so tired of overhearing a conversation that didn’t make sense (until I realized they were talking about the series…again), that I have decided to try book one at least!

    1. Oooh…curious to know what you think of Outlander. Please report back!

  2. Hi Julie… Great list of books. I have Inheritance on my list too. I positively loved Lilac Girls.
    I have already downloaded her new one. Hope you have a great week!!

    1. Thanks, Katie. You too!

  3. Julie, I found the Lilac Girls rather slow starting, bordering on boring, but I stuck with it and it turned out pretty good. Others have found it the same. Tom Hanks’ book was a nice surprise-and pretty enjoyable. Currently, I am finishing the D-Day Girls, about French Resistance and British resistance fighters-fairly interesting. If you haven’t read The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell please do-it is fabulous!!! A mother’s Catholic faith, the life triumphs and losses of the main character and the wonderful ending makes this book such a BIG winner!!! Happy summer, Nancee

    1. Good to know about Lilac Girls, Nancee. I’ll keep that in mind if I struggle at first. D-Day Girls sounds interesting and I think you have mentioned Sam Hell before. Happy summer to you too!

  4. Your list looks great! I admire your sense of planning. Reading used to be a favorite past time, but I’ve lost discipline in sticking with an actual book. I’m always reading short things (and looking things up!) on my iPad. I know that’s “sort of” reading too, but want to get back to real books. Happy summer!

    1. Lori, what you described is the exact reason I set a reading goal for myself this year. I was doing a lot of “reading” but I missed books!

  5. Laurie Bollig says:

    Julie, we just dissected Crawdads at my book club. We loved it. Next month is Daisy Jones and the Six. I finished it today and liked the way it was constructed. I don’t have much knowledge of 1970s rock bands, but now feel like I get the whole Fleetwood Mac thing. Arthur Truluv is another book in my hall of fame. It’s one of the sweetest, simplest books I’ve read and it really moved me. Finished Crazy Rich Asians recently – meh. Now reading Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. I’ve been a fan of Erik Larson’s books and this one seems to be in that same vein. Thanks for more good suggestions. Happy reading!

    1. Laurie, thanks for the reviews! I keep hearing about Daisy Jones and the Six. And now you have me really looking forward to Arthur Truluv. Happy summer to you!

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