The minimalist summer reading guide.

The minimalist summer reading guide.

The 2015 Summer Reading Guide is here. The guide contains 7 categories of 5 books each, but just for fun (and just like last year) I’m narrowing the choices down to 5 total. (Minimalists and decision haters, rejoice!)

These 5 titles are hugely entertaining, have broad appeal, and are perfect for the beach, pool, or backyard. (That prevented me from choosing The Royal We, a new release that I think many—but by no means all—of you are going to love, and A God in Ruins, which is the most challenging book in the guide, but is also the best book I’ve read in a while.)

This compact, user-friendly guide whittles the overwhelming array of readerly options down to 7 diverse categories of 5 titles each—because a list of 5 great books is The 2015 Summer Reading Guide. Your guide to the season's best books—because a highly curated selection is much more useful than a list of thousands. Includes 7 fun categories of 5 books each, new releases and backlist, with tips on why you should read each one. Happy reading!

My top 5 picks for your summer reading list:

Love Walked In

Love Walked In

Cornelia is a hopeless romantic, obsessed with the epic love stories portrayed in classic films, but floundering in her own life. Everything changes the day a Cary Grant look-alike walks through the door of the coffee shop she manages. Of course she falls for him, and strikes up an unlikely friendship with his 11-year-old daughter. You can’t help but cheer for these characters as they navigate the tricky waters of friendship, heartbreak, and love. De los Santos is a poet by training, and it shows in her prose. If you love this, good news: there’s a sequel. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Author:
In the idyllic small town of Three Pines, Quebec, where people don’t even lock their doors, a beloved local woman is found in the woods with an arrow shot through her heart. The locals believe it must be a hunting accident, but the police inspector senses something is off. The story is constructed as a classic whodunit but it feels like anything but, with its deliberate pacing, dry wit, and lyrical writing. A stunningly good first novel. Still Life is the first in a series (of 11 books to date) that keeps getting better. For fans of Jacqueline Winspear. Great on audio. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

Author:
This Gatsby-esque novel plunges you into the glittering, glamorous streets of Manhattan, circa 1938. Young secretary Katey Kontent and her roommate Evelyn meet handsome Tinker Gray by chance. The girls vie for his affection—until one impulsive decision changes everything. A beautifully drawn story of wealth and class, luck and fate, love and illusion. Warning: this one is hard to put down. A smashing debut. If you love this, try the follow-up novella Eve in Hollywood. More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook

The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter’s Notebook

Author:
What really makes relationships work? Washington Post weddings reporter McCarthy weighs in with this wise, warm, and relatable collection of essays, based on her interviews with more than 200 couples who’ve walked down the aisle. McCarthy dishes on what she’s learned on the beat, and shares her own insights on love and marriage (and breakups, including the one she endured her first day on the job), in essays bearing titles such as “Screw Meeting Cute,” Don’t Look for Lightning,” and “Top Ten Reasons to Call It Off.” Smart, funny, hugely enjoyable—though her sociologist’s approach will make some of you crazy. More info →
Buy from Amazon
Americanah

Americanah

This is Nigerian novelist Adichie’s third novel, but the first I've read. The story centers around a smart, strong-willed Nigerian woman named Ifemelu. After university, she travels to America for postgraduate work, where she endures several years of near-destitution, and a horrific event that upends her world. She finds her way, winning a fellowship at Princeton, and gaining acclaim for her blog, called “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black." A highlight: Adichie seamlessly weaves blog posts—about race, national identity, class, poverty, and hair—into the narrative. The novel grapples with difficult issues without becoming overwrought. I would not have read this based on the flap copy, but I was hooked from page one. Haunting, moving, incredibly well done. Terrific on audio. More info →
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Audible.com

What books are at the top of YOUR summer reading list?

P.S. View the whole guide, and last year’s 5-book summer reading guide.

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665 comments

  1. Vic says:

    Just discovered your blog and truly enjoying it! Taking your top 5 list to the library to see what they have available – I did read Americanah this past spring and really enjoyed it. A good read for anyone!

  2. Camilla says:

    Thanks to this reading list I’ve become a huge fan of Chief Inspector Gamache and just love making my way through the series – THANK YOU!!

  3. Sarah says:

    I haven’t read anything by Marisa de lots Santos yet so I’ll probably try that book but the Louise Penny book is definitely towards the top of my to-read list based on how much you recommend them! Thanks for tripling my to-read list!

  4. Casey says:

    Great post! I picked 5 books to tackle from your larger summer reading list! I may have to add one or two of these. Thank you for another great list.

  5. Ellen S. says:

    There are so many good books to read right now that I’m positively crippled with indecision about where to start. The library usually helps since I’ll pick up whatever books I’ve made to th top of the wait list! I’m gambling on Rules of Civility, I think I’m second on the list. 😊 I do know that this will be a summer of more reading and less social media!!

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