2017 Summer Reading Guide: Reader Favorites

2017 Summer Reading Guide: Reader Favorites

We’re halfway through the summer season, which means we have collectively already read A TON of books this summer!

One of the best parts after publishing the annual Summer Reading Guide is seeing which books YOU actually read and enjoy. My favorite ways to stay in touch are in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and on Instagram.

On Instagram, you can check out #summerstooshort to see community photos and reactions to this year’s Summer Reading Guide.

To start: the titles in the 2017 Minimalist Summer Reading Guide top the list. Check those out right here.

Based on your online chatter, shares, and MMD Book Club forum posts, it’s been fun to see which titles are rising to the top of your lists. Today I’m sharing the top 7.

This collection of favorite titles is unscientific, and of course it’s weighted towards books that are already released. (Several fantastic summer titles in the Summer Reading Guide just hit shelves yesterday! Those are The Almost Sisters, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, and Hello, Sunshine!)

That all being said, these are the titles you all are loving the most so far this summer.

Series: 2017 Summer Favorites
The Good Widow

The Good Widow

Talk about a great pool-side read: this is exactly the kind of book many of you think of when you think "summer reading." Liz and Lisa's first thriller will suck you in and have you flying through the pages. Jacks's marriage had grown lukewarm, but it was stable—at least she thought so. Her husband was on a business trip to Kansas—or so she thought— when the cops show up to deliver the blow: her husband was killed in a car wreck. In Hawaii. And so was the young blonde with him. Soon Jacks is on a plane to Hawaii for answers, and the more she discovers, the less she understands. More info →
The Lost Book of the Grail

The Lost Book of the Grail

I love a good literary mystery, and it turns out I have plenty of company. This is the newest from the author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions. Arthur is a staid and steady—perhaps a trifle boring?—old-school Brit; Bethany is a techie American who's come to his English library to digitize his beloved ancient manuscripts. Arthur's smitten, yet quite concerned—will she interfere with his personal quest for the Grail? Books, romance, and literary high jinx—what's not to love? More info →
The Alice Network

The Alice Network

You'll probably be seeing this one everywhere now that Reese Witherspoon gave it a big thumbs-up. It's 1947, and society girl Charlie St. Clair is desperate to find her beloved cousin Rose, who mysteriously vanished during the war. Her inquiries lead her to Eve, a cranky old woman, who Charlie soon discovers has intimate ties to the first female spy network, and who may have personal and professional reasons for tracking down Rose—and getting revenge in the process. A little bit The Nightingale, a little bit Girl in Disguise. More info →
Mr. Rochester

Mr. Rochester

Many of you said you were skeptical of anyone messing with the classics ... but found this really well done. In this work of historical fiction, Shoemaker imagines a backstory for Brontë's timeless hero, and it is not what I expected. She begins in his youth, with his education and increasingly complicated family history, then moves onto his troubled coming of age in Jamaica, his father's shady business dealings, and how he became entangled with Bertha Mason. This feels a little like Brontë, but even more like Dickens. More info →
The Jane Austen Project

The Jane Austen Project

I'm not the only one who found this Jane Austen time travel novel a pleasant surprise. Producers, are you paying attention? Readers are clamoring for this to become a good Netflix series. At some unspecified point in the future, the earth's atmosphere has been destroyed, food can no longer be grown, and wormholes to the past are in constant use. So when Rachel is asked to go back in time and retrieve the finished (yes, really!) manuscript of The Watsons, she jumps at the chance. But things do not go as planned... Gentle readers, this does not read like an Austen novel, and Janeite purists will need their smelling salts. But if you love Jane Austen AND Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, give this one a try. More info →
He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said

I loved this one, and have been thrilled to see you all giving it so much love, especially because it just came out on June 27. Kit and Laura first came together because of a common obsession: they're eclipse chasers, who travel the world to experience solar eclipses firsthand. The story opens when the two are married, expecting their first children (twins!), and taking pains to keep any trace of their existence off the internet. We soon learn this is because of an event they witnessed at an eclipse festival in 1999, which, along with the subsequent trial, had devastating consequences for all involved, consequences that still endanger them today—and we're about to find out just how much. A fabulous psychological thriller. More info →
Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

I'm so glad many of you took a chance on this not-quite-traditional summer reading selection. This is still easily one of the best books I've read this year. I wouldn't have "gotten" this at 22 but adored it in my 30s. Time, memory, marriage—things many of us relate to, or can at least imagine—but Shapiro writes about them with such freshness the concepts seem brand new. My favorite line of exploration: the nature of mistakes, near-misses, and time: "The stumbles and falls; the lapses in judgment; the near misses; the could-haves. I’ve become convinced that our lives are shaped less by the mistakes we make than when we make them." If I were to judge my books by how many passages require book darts, this one wins everything. More info →

How’s your summer reading going? What are the best books YOU have read so far this summer?


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  1. Sue says:

    Just finished He Said/She Said last night, and lukewarm about it. It wasn’t as bad as Into The Water, that book was a major disappointment. I’m so happy I checked them out at the library. I did enjoy The Dry, Do Not Become Alarmed, I Found You, I See You, and my favorite so far is probably My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier.

    • Rebekah in Redlands says:

      I just finished He Said/She Said last night. It was too dark and slightly disturbing. It also seemed like the twist in the story happened just because the author fed me bad information early on. Meh. Maybe I’m not the type who should be reading thrillers?

      I did loved The Dry.

  2. Phaedra says:

    My favorite this year? Beartown and The Dry. Loved them. Beartown just went to some heartbreaking places but I never felt that it went ‘after school special’ on me. I also enjoyed He Said/She Said. A nice new perspective and topic to move the plot along- refreshing. Just picked up The Weight of Lies and I’m so digging it. It’s got that gothic feel that I love. Crumbling old hotel, secrets, that sense of foreboding.. it’s super readable.

  3. Donna says:

    My summer reading has been almost nonexistent thanks to school and work. But my favourite read so far is Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson. I devoured Henson’s memoir in 24 hours a few Sundays ago. Henson is 100% real, raw, and apologetic! Her story is inspiring on so many levels. I can’t recommend it enough!
    I am currently reading and loving Elin
    Hilderbrand’s latest, The Identicals. Thanks for the recommendation! Also, started reading The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor and I am fascinated!
    I’ve been hearing good things about Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips. It’s got 125 holds, but I lucked out and found a copy on the ‘Best Bets’ shelf at the library today. I can’t wait to dive in!

  4. Leslie Dupont says:

    Well, I have only read 1 of the top 7, but I have read about 1/3 of the books on the summer reading guide. I was happy to get my new shiny library card today since moving to northern VA just a few weeks ago. I was even happier to see The Stars Are Fire and Lincoln in the Bardo (not on the summer reading guide, but one I’ve been desperate to read!) on the shelves and immediately available! Thus far, my faves have been I Found You, The Jane Austen Project, and The Perfect Stranger. I’m a sucker for suspense! I didn’t care for Anything is Possible. I am simultaneously reading The Hate U Give and The Stars Are Fire. I’ll let you know my end thoughts!

    • Donna says:

      Hey Leslie,

      I am curious about The Perfect Stranger! I will definitely give it a try. I am a sucker for suspense as well! Have you ever read any of Heather Gudenkauf’s novels? Sooooo good! Highly recommended.😃

      • Leslie Dupont says:

        No, I have not read her, but now I’m immediately going to Amazon to check her out!! The Perfect Stranger was an easy read for sure. I finished in a couple days, but it had me going. I kinda guessed who it was about half way through, but I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I liked the main character, but I LOVED the police officer in the book. Just something about him made him desirable! Lol! Thanks for the recommendation:)

  5. Kristen says:

    Beartown, Allie & Bea, Before the Rain Falls & Close Enough to Touch have been my top books of the summer. I cannot say enough how much I love Close Enough to Touch. I didn’t want it to end. I had to pace myself so I didn’t rush though it.

    • Amber says:

      My Cousin Rachel is my favorite fiction read of the summer so far! And I loved Tsh’s book as well!
      I also really enjoyed The Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson!

  6. Melyssa says:

    I’ve got several more of the summer reading selections on my TBR but so far my favorites have been When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hate You Give, and Beartown. I never would’ve read Beartown if it hadn’t been on this guide, and I loved it. It was a tough topic, but I’m really glad to have read it. Before this summer I also read The Dry, which was great.

    A nonfiction book I enjoyed this summer was Radium Girls, about women in the 1920s who worked in a factory using Radium paint and were made very sick by it. It was very readable, and the women’s story was inspiring.

  7. Darlene says:

    I have read The Jane Austen Project which was great! Jane Austen and time travel – loved it!! I did not want The Fall of Marigolds to end. I loved it so much I read Secrets of a Charmed Life which was un-putdownable. A Man Called Ove made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress was so good; I did not see the ending coming. Currently I’m reading The Identicals.

  8. Christine says:

    I have read Beartown, which I loved! I have also read The Dry, which I thought was “meh.” I got the Jane Austen Project from the library, but I was liking it so much that I bought my own copy!
    I am reading The Alice Network now and really enjoying it too.
    I have a bunch more coming from the library, and I can’t wait! My vacation starts in two weeks, and I will be ready.

  9. Andrea says:

    I love this post! I have the summer reading guide printed, on my nightstand, and have read and thoroughly enjoyed The Alice Network, The Dry, and Beartown. But then I started The Luminaries which is awesome, 830 pages, and not on the list! Summer is flying by, I am only on page 380 of The Luminaries, and I want to read more from the MMD Summer Reading List. Now I know where to start!

  10. Dana says:

    I have only read the Good Widow and Dreamland Burning so far! I am surprised Dreamland Burning isn’t here! Such a great book! Happy you recommended it!

  11. angie says:

    My summer favorites have been: The Hate U Give, Beartown, Behold the Dreamers, and Crossing to Safety (not new, but a recommendation I heard on the podcast). My very favorite of my favorites was Behold the Dreamers.

  12. Sherry D says:

    I LOVED THE JANE AUSTEN PROJECT! I was always surprised at the directions it took and how well Ms. Flynn wrote the part where the 2 time travelers first meet Jane Austen. She really managed to build the suspense that you’d feel about actually meeting someone famous from the past whose life is something of a mystery.

    I also read HE SAID SHE SAID and thought Laura made so many stupid mistakes that put her in danger. It makes readers almost wish something bad would happen to idiots who won’t do the right thing to protect themselves when they KNOW who they are in danger from. I don’t like these kinds of contrived ‘Women in Jeopardy’ stories. It makes me want to strangle people that I should feel sympathy for.

  13. Molly says:

    My favorite summer read this year (so far) has been Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. Sadly hilarious is the only way I can describe it.

  14. Shirli mc laughlin says:

    Beartown is now on my all-time favorite list,right after “all the light we cannot see” ‼️ Have you all read one of his .other books…..”Britt Marie was here” She is the female version of ” Ove” 😀 Also,nobody has mentioned “Faithful” by Alice Hoffman. Super good . This is my first visit to this lovely site, so forgive me if I’m going on too long….. just one more title. ” The 12 lives of Samuel Hawley “. Have you the site “amazing librarians ?

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