My summer reading list.

My summer reading list.

This is my (incomplete) summer reading list, and it comes with a massive disclaimer: I haven’t read any of these titles, and I have no idea whether or not I’ll love them enough to recommend them.

A couple of things you may notice:

1. When it comes to finding good books, I rely heavily on recommendations from other readers. In my opinion, this is the best way to find the good stuff.

2. This list is heavy on nonfiction. I read a ton of novels when I was putting together the 2015 summer reading guide, and kept postponing the more serious nonfiction picks until “later.” Later is now.

This is my list; I can’t wait to hear what’s on yours.

Series: My 2015 Summer Reading List
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania

I've never actually read anything by Erik Larson before (I know!) but my son has been obsessed with the Titanic and Lusitania for so long that his newest book made my must-read list. I'm generally a fan of narratives that read like novels, and the reviews on this one are terrific. (I especially like NPR's, which called it "thrilling, dramatic and powerful.") More info →
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

This book came out on March 31, and it's sparked a great conversation (along with Monica Lewinsky's TED talk) in the public sphere about public shaming, especially as it so often happens with social media. It's been called an important read, especially for those of us who spend time online and on social media. More info →
Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End

Being Mortal: Medicine And What Matters In The End

I've heard amazing things about this book ever since it came out last October, and can't believe I haven't gotten to it yet. The publisher says that it's about "how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending"—not exactly summer reading material, right? That was definitely my first impression, but everyone I know who has read this book gushes about it, calling it riveting, absorbing, paradigm-shifting, life-changing. I'm looking forward to it. More info →
Little Women

Little Women

This is one of those I-can't-believe-I've-never-read-this books: I never read it as a kid (though I have seen the movie a half-dozen times), and now it's been on my to-read list for more than a decade. (I even bought myself the gorgeous Puffin in Bloom edition in the fall to give myself a nudge!) This summer, it's happening: I'm already 150 pages in. Alcott fans have told me I'll want to read Little Men and Rose in Bloom after I finish her best-known classic. More info →
The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

The Cruelest Month: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

This year it felt like every reader I knew was encouraging me to read Louise Penny's Still Life, the first book in her Chief Inspector Gamache mystery series. I loved it, so much that I included it in the minimalist summer reading guide. (I got Will hooked on the series, too, which is always high praise.) I've read the first two books in the series and I'm reading to start book 3 and see how far I can get with the rest of the series: 10 books so far, with an 11th coming on August 25. More info →
Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen

I love a good grammar book (my favorites are On Writing Well, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and Ex Libris), so I have to take a look at this, even though the reviews are all over the place. (I'm currently 47th on the library waiting list, so it's obviously gotten plenty of good buzz.) More info →
The Knockoff: A Novel

The Knockoff: A Novel

This is the fluffiest book on my list, hands down, and sounds like a mashup of The Devil Wears Prada and In Good Company. The story is heavily inspired by All About Eve (which you must watch immediately if you never have): when 42-year-old Glossy magazine editor Imogen Tate returns from a 6-month sabbatical, she finds that her fill-in, a twenty-something Harvard Business School grad, is actively trying to usurp her position—permanently. (And worse—turn the magazine into an app!) I'm hoping for a fresh and funny read: I'll let you know how it goes. More info →
Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free

Ann Patchett called this the best book she read in 2014, a fabulous book club pick, and a moving true story. That's enough for me, and I'm clearly in good company: I'm going to have to buy it because I'm number 300-something on the library waiting list. More info →

What’s on YOUR summer reading list?

P.S. My 2014 summer reading list, my YA summer reading list, and the summer syllabus.

My summer reading list

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82 comments

  1. Heather says:

    Now I have to put some of these books on my reading list! I can’t believe you haven’t read anything by Erik Larson! Devil In the White City was fantastic. He’s one of my husband’s favorite authors and my husband really enjoyed Dead Wake and I still need to read it. Other books that I have planned for the summer are Far From the Tree, Better Than Before, The Bees, Everything I Never Told You, and the rest is up in the air :).

  2. Sarah M says:

    I’ll be curious to know what you think of Little Women. It’s one of my very favorites, but one I feel is best read in the Winter time, savored next to a fire and snuggled up on the couch.

    I love Erik Larson’s books. Dead Wake is one I haven’t read yet, but I just sent it to my best friend for her birthday.

    I’m going to read these this summer (among others that haven’t yet been put on hold!):
    *Wonder by R. J. Palacio
    *The Martian by Andy Weir
    *Missoula by Jon Krakauer
    *The Story of Science by Susan Wise Bauer
    *The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

    That’ll probably leave me in late July. 😉
    Sarah M

    • Bailey says:

      Currently reading The Martian! It’s very smart & scientific, but in a way that makes it a very enjoyable page-turner.

  3. liz n. says:

    “Confessions of a Comma Queen” is one of my favorite reads this year.

    Just finished “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” and am reading “Jane Eyre.” I seem to be in re-read mode! Although I love maritime fiction and non-fiction, I’ll pass on “Dead Wake,” but “Deep Down Dark” is on my list.

    • liz n. says:

      Oh, and I’ve no interest in “The Knockoff.” The moment someone describes a book in any way reminiscent of “The Devil Wears Prada,” the book goes into my Absolutely Never file. “The Devil Wears Prada” left a literary burn from which I may never recover! (Which means, yes, I still despise that book.)

      • Anne says:

        I didn’t like it either, but I did like the movie (or at least I liked it better than the book!), which is what I always picture. Maybe I should say The September Issue instead? I loved that documentary.

  4. Bev says:

    What an interesting list. The only one I’ve read (besides Little Women) is the Gamache series. Loved it. Can’t wait for book 11! Each one seemed to improve, until the last 2 especially – didn’t want them to end. Enjoy

  5. Lee Ann says:

    Yes, do read Jo’s Boys after Little Women and Little Men, and be sure to read Eight Cousins before Rose in Bloom.

    I haven’t read Jon Ronson’s new book, but I enjoyed The Men Who Stare at Goats and Them.

  6. Dana says:

    Currently reading I am Radar by Reif Larson. ( from the library) His first book, The Selected Works of T.S Spivett is one of my favorite reads ever. I am also reading Don Quixote which is slow going for me right now, so I have the Larson book to help me when I hit a wall with the ” knight errant.”

    On my Summer list:
    Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos. Her first 2 books are in my top 5 ever. I will buy this one. It came out today. Heading to the bookstore soon.
    The Buried Giant . Got this at the library today.
    The new Maisie Dobbs book A Most Dangerous Place ( also at the library today.) I have loved this series.

    From The Mixed up Files…by E.L Konigsburg. I have never read this. I know, I can’t believe it. Picked it up today as well.

    Just read Wonder, which I absolutely loved. Everyone should read that.

    The Republic of Imagination by the woman who wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran. Non-fiction about the American literary tradition as seen through 3 books Huck Finn, Babbitt and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

    The Victorian City non-fiction about the London of Charles Dickens.

    • Laura says:

      I’d love to know what you think of The Buried Giant ! i’ve picked it up several times but never ended up buting it. I read From the Mixed Up Files as a child. Absolutely love that story.

  7. Randi says:

    Dead Wake, The Knockoff, and the Louise Penny coming out in August are all on my list. As well as the 6th (and 7th, if I have time) Flavia De Luce, The Rocks by Peter Nichols, and Eating Viet Nam by Graham Holliday.

  8. On my list this summer:
    1. Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”
    2. Lara Casey’s “Make It Happen”
    3. Sally Clarkson’s “Own Your Life”
    4. Annie Dillard’s “The Writing Life” (rereading)

    At least these, and hopefully more. I’m trying to take Rea Berg’s advice to read 1 classic for every 2 modern books.

  9. Laura says:

    Definitely read Eight Cousins before Rose In Bloom. It’s the better of the two (and is the first of the two anyway). I love Eight Cousins just as much if not more than Little Women.

    • Ashley says:

      I was going to say this exact same thing! I liked Rose in Bloom better than Eight Cousins, though (basically because I shipped two characters and wanted to see if they got together). Also, I read Little Men loooooong before I read Little Women, but they’re both good. Little Men was the first book to make me cry, so keep a box of tissues nearby.

  10. Kristina M. says:

    Your list sounds fabulous!! I usually alternate between fiction and non-fiction, unless I’m into a really good series. I’m jealous that your library carries those titles. The public library I haunt mostly only gets new romance novels and murder mysteries. I was however lucky enough to snag a couple of the titles on your summer reading guide. I’m loving Mr. Penumbras 24hr bookstore right now. Please let us know your opinion of the Chilean Mine book and Confessions of a Comma Queen.

  11. Danielle says:

    Excited to find out Erik Larson has a new book out. LOVED “Devil in the White City.” Also, just picked up “Still Life” based on two recommendations by friends who have excellent taste in literature. Excited to give it a try. I don’t read crime drama very much, but loved P. D. James, so would love to find another series.

  12. Terry says:

    Thumbs way,way,way up for Being Mortal. An important book, I think, both personally and societally.

    And any of the Gamache series by Louise Penney are winners in my book.

  13. Ann Powell says:

    I have only recently found your blog but I thoroughly enjoy it. Great summer read list and I would like to add if you enjoy the story of Little Women, look into March by Geraldine Brooks. It is the story of the absent father character in Little Women and what he was going through. My book club and I enjoyed it. I am currently reading about 3 books now and always am undecided which to read at any given time because I want to read them all at once! Creative is a Verb by Patti Digh is holding my interest now. Enjoy your summer and thanks for a great blog.

  14. I finally read Little Women for the first time last year (even though I’m a big fan of the movie and watch it yearly). And I listened to an audiobook of it, I didn’t actually read it. I fell in love with the book, though, so I would like to read it this year. It always makes me think of Christmas, so maybe toward the end of the year I’ll pull it out again. I hope you enjoy it!

    That last book sounds really interesting. I’m adding it to my TBR list.

  15. Alyssa says:

    I’ve just finished reading A Life Intercepted and Water from My Heart, both are by Charles Martin and are excellent. (He’s by far my favorite fiction writer.) I have Persuasion by Jane Austen on my list and A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron (just finished The Butterfly and The Violin and enjoyed it).

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