The 2013 summer reading guide is here! (FREE for you!)

Ultimate Beach Reading: A Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs Darcy

Ultimate Beach Reading: A Summer Reading Guide from Modern Mrs Darcy

UPDATE: The 2013 summer reading guide has been archived. To be the first to know about future reading guides (because they’re coming), sign up here for monthly-ish updates from MMD. If you’re desperate for some good book recommendations fast, email me–I’ll also help out a reader in need of a good book!)  

If you’re at all like me, you think beach chairs and pool decks are made for reading. But nothing is more frustrating than taking a much talked-about book on vacation only to realize it’s terrible and you’re stuck with nothing.

Anybody can browse a bestseller list, but just because a book is a best seller doesn’t mean that you will want to read it. (Hello, Fifty Shades of Grey.)

You all know I love to read, and read a lot. You know where I’m coming from. If you like this blog, I think you’ll find something perfect for you in this guide.

I’ve chosen some bestsellers that are actually good. I’ve also tried hard to give you some fabulous reads that you’ve never heard of. I’ve personally read every book on this list (often more than once). I can vouch for them, and answer any questions you have. (Like, how’s the language? Or, Do I really want to read this right now?)

The books are divided by category, so you can flip right to the section that interests you most.

I also share tips I’ve figured out through years of dealing with summer reading’s challenges: sun, water, sand, travel. (Has anyone else ever recommended throwaway books before?)

Praise for the 2012 edition

Sound good? Sign up here to get your free copy. 

Sign Up Here:

(UPDATE: After signing up, you’ll get a confirmation email. Click “subscribe me to this list.” You’ll then get a second email that contains a link to the guide. A small handful of readers are experiencing delays with that second email: their service are holding onto it for hours–or even days! That’s no good. If you don’t have that second email within 15 minutes or so, email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll make sure you don’t have to wait too long for your guide.)

This newsletter will only arrive monthly-ish. To get regular updates from the blog, subscribe here. Or you can follow this blog on bloglovin’.

I’d love to hear your feedback when you’re done reading your guide! Come back and comment on your favorite summer read right here, or follow the hashtag #beachreading on twitter.

Happy summer, and happy reading!

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  1. Danielle says:

    I don’t go to the beach, or on vacation for that matter, or read much besides classics… but this guide is wonderful! It will expand my horizons. I really appreciate the descriptions and categories. One of the main reasons I don’t read any modern fiction is that there are so many books to choose from, I just have no idea where to start or what I might like. There are several books on here that I’d like to check out! I think I’m most excited to read Quiet. Thanks for this!

    • Anne says:

      Oh my goodness, I know exactly what you mean about modern fiction! I’m glad you have some idea of where to go with your reading this summer. (And can I just say again that Quiet is fabulous?)

  2. Jeannie says:

    This looks great; I’m so glad I signed up for it! Thrilled to see several books I have read on this list, and many more that I haven’t. The only problem is … I just bought a new book I haven’t opened yet … and I have 2 library books on my shelf waiting to be read and have 2 more on hold … and our book club’s next book needs to be attended to VERY soon … and I’m also hoping to find some time in there to eat, sleep, and converse with loved ones. Ah, being a voracious reader involves such challenges ….

  3. Jennifer H says:

    I’ve read a few on your list and loved some (What Alice Forgot, Get Lucky), although I abandoned some (Miss Pettigrew and Jayber…just couldn’t get into them, but maybe I’ll try again). I did put a few selections on my library request list. Although I’m mostly a fiction girl, I do appreciate some of your non-fiction recommendations (a couple of the memoirs went on my list). I know I’ll be referring to your list on into the fall when my book stack gets low. Thank you so much for your insightful guide.

    I do have a fiction recommendation for you…I’ll even let you borrow it when my mom finishes it – The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley. I got it for Christmas, and I kept starting and stopping when a new library request would come in, but once I really started, I couldn’t put it down.

  4. Lisa says:

    Great summer guide! I’ve got a huge reading list already, but it is Always great to have opinions and suggestions from a fellow avid reader.

    I have to say that I LOVE the fact that you have “Ex Libris” on your list. I came across this book about 10 years ago and fell deeply in love. I identify myself so often in its pages, and I lend my copy to all my book-loving friends (because saying lend sounds nicer than saying “force upon with great encouragement to read whether they really asked about it or not.”)

  5. Stacey says:

    I am loving this guide! It is filled with books I have read and loved like Daring Greatly, The Fault in our Stars and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but so, so many more that I can’t wait to read! Talking books with you this summer will be so fun! Thanks for all the time that went in to creating this fun resource!

  6. Lyn says:

    I am a subscriber and got the email. But all the links just take me back to the blog posts about the list, but no to the actual list. I resubscribed hoping to get a clearer link, but no luck. What am I doing wrong?

        • Anne says:

          I’m so sorry you’re having trouble! If you’re a subscriber to this blog, THANK YOU!!! But you won’t see the link to the guide in the regular blog post subscription.

          Sign up for the new monthly newsletter above. (If you’re viewing the post in your email or feed reader, you might need to click through to the blog to do so.) You’ll get a confirmation email (routine, to prevent spam). Click “confirm.” Then you’ll get a second confirmation email with a “thank you” and a download link.

          If you have any trouble, email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll make sure you get the guide!

  7. Jenn says:

    The list is fantastic and I can’t wait to start reading. The list also comes at a perfect time as I’m next up for my book club’s next selection. I think the book may be coming from this list… Thanks!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry to post a technical question, but I have subscribed by both email and RSS feed, and I can’t seem o download the 2013 Guide. It just keeps bringing me back to this same main page about the guide. But not the Guide itself! Help! Thanks.

    • Anne says:

      Elizabeth, thank you so much for subscribing! But that’s not where you’re going to find the guide. Fill out the little signup box above (which is for a monthly newsletter). You’ll get a confirmation email. Click “confirm.” You’ll get a second email right away with a link to the guide in it. (If you don’t get these within 15 minutes or so, check your spam filter.)

      If you have any trouble at all, email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll make sure you get your copy!

  9. Susan Kendrick says:


    I saw your link in the Money Saving Mom post – I came over here to get the summer reading list and I subscribed, but I still can’t access the list. What am I doing wrong?


    • Anne says:

      Susan, welcome! (I just love Crystal’s blog!)

      If you subscribed to the blog, THANK YOU! But the guide won’t show up in your inbox automatically. In this post, enter your email address and name under the place where it says “sign up here.” (This is for a monthly newsletter.) You’ll get a confirmation email: click to confirm. You’ll get a second follow-up email that has a link to the guide. It’s easy to see. 🙂

      If you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll make sure you get your copy. 🙂

      • Susan says:

        OK! I got it this time. Thanks for walking me through it. I am reading The Fault In Our Stars right now (ostensibly to make sure it’s appropriate for my 13 yr old daughter to read, but I have been totally sucked in. 🙂

        Gilead I read a long time ago, but I could probably read again. I love the way she writes! I have never read any fiction by Wendell Berry, so I am looking forward to Jayber Crow. I also really enjoyed The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I listened to that one when I had a long car trip by myself. Funny, I tried to read it and couldn’t connect, but listening to the audio book made all of the difference.

        Anyway, great choices! I look forward to reading some of your suggestions! Thanks again for a well-organized and helpful guide!

        • Anne says:

          Susan, I’m so glad it worked for you. 🙂

          Did the author read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks? I would definitely read it (or listen to it, in this case) again if that was the case. I was so impressed by her.

          Enjoy the guide!

        • Jeannie says:

          Susan, you (and Anne) mentioned loving Gilead — maybe you already know that Home, the book Robinson wrote next, covers much of the same storyline but focuses on Glory and Jack and their father. It’s really good too — and it’s SO interesting to compare the 2 books.

          • Anne says:

            No, I didn’t know that! I had heard good things about Home, but I didn’t know the books were connected in any way.

            Thanks for the tip–you just leapfrogged Home ahead on my own summer reading list. 🙂

  10. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Where does one find the summer reading guide? I have tried clicking on everything and all it does is bring me back to this page. 🙁 Looking forward to seeing it.

    • Anne says:

      Robin, this page is a good place to start! Do you see where it says “sign up here”? Enter your email address and name: you’ll get a confirmation email–click to confirm your sign up. Then you’ll get a second email that includes a link to the guide. (If you don’t see these within 15 minutes or so, check your spam filter.)

      Email me if you have any trouble at all–I really want you to get your copy! modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com.

  11. Jessica S says:

    I read Fault in Our Stars, and Miss Pettigrew, and Gilead, and loved them all. Confession: I started Jayber Crow in April and I still can’t get more than 100 pages into it… I’m just having so much trouble getting through it!

    • Anne says:

      Well, maybe it’s not the right book for you. Or maybe the timing’s not right? Thank goodness there are plenty of other good things to read!

      I’m trying to remember if Jayber Crow was the first book in the Port William series I read. I can see how it would be easier to get into if I already knew the cast of characters.

      Let me know if you make it through!

  12. Alana Morgan says:

    HELP….how do I get to the 2013 Guide? I click the appropriate icon but nothing happens. I keep getting re routed back to this same spot. HELP

    Thank you!

    • Anne says:

      I can help! Do you see where it says “sign up here” at the end of the post? Enter your email address and name: you’ll get a confirmation email–click to confirm your sign up. Then you’ll get a second email that includes a link to the guide. (If you don’t see these within 15 minutes or so, check your spam filter.)

      Email me if you have any trouble at all and I’ll make sure you get your copy: modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  14. Amy Miller says:

    I can’t see to access the free reading guide. Everytime I click on it, it just keeps opening up the same page. How do I get it?

    • Anne says:

      Amy, here are the steps to get the guide. If this is what you’re already doing and it’s not working–or if these steps give you trouble–email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll make sure you get your copy. 🙂

      Scroll up to where it says “sign up here” at the end of the post above. Enter your email address and name: you’ll get a confirmation email–click to confirm your sign up. Then you’ll get a second email that includes a link to the guide. (If you don’t see these within 15 minutes or so, check your spam filter.)

  15. Michele D says:

    A friend of mine just gave me her quicky version of Mnyers Briggs and we then discovered I was an INFP. She says, “that’s funny, I’m an INFP too. Did you know that only 1% of the population is INFP?” Now I see you are an INFP. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that percentage is low. However, I do know better and there are not too many people out there like me. Haha. I look forward to reading more about you and perusing your 2013 summer reading list.

  16. AE says:

    Hello Anne,
    I subscribed in order to get the free summer reading guide… and i confirmed using the email sent to me, but i still haven’t received the guide (three days)… wondering if something went wrong?!?

  17. Kelty says:

    Oh man! I’m so excited. What a great varied list! I absolutely loved What Alice Forgot, so I figure the rest should be worth a try. Can you tell us which ones are on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library?

    One of my new favorites is a non-fiction book called Picking Cotton. It’s an amazing true story, set in North Carolina that will just blow you away.

    Thanks for the list! I’m looking forward to digging in!!

    • Anne says:

      That’s a great idea about the lending library….but the offering change too often to keep up with that! Maybe one day when I have a full-time personal assistant… 😉

      Thanks for the tip on Picking Cotton. That’s a new one to me. 🙂

  18. Janet Worthy says:

    I can’t get the Reading Guide. I’ve joined everything and signed up for everything, even been told I already exist, but NO GUIDE?

    • Anne says:

      Janet, I’d love to help. Can you email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what email address you’re signed up with?

  19. Brittany says:

    Hi Anne,

    I am a new (and already devoted!) follower and I absolutely LOVE this list! Your taste in literature is so similar to mine and I can relate to just about everything on your blog.

    Just started reading Quiet and I got chills in the first few pages–I’m hooked! Thanks so much for all the great suggestions. 🙂


  20. Laura says:

    Thank you for the great list. I read What Alice Forgot by liane moriarty and really enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down. I am the slowest reader ever but that one was a fast read.

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  22. Isabelle says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed ‘ the Professor and the Madman, the making of the English Oxford Dictionary’
    I had honestly never thought about how it was complied and was fascinated to read about it. I certainly will not take it for granted ever again, but will now look at it as a piece of literary art.
    I am looking forward to reading more of your recommendations!

  23. PSKarr says:

    I have signed up and am looking forward to the list, especially some authors I may not have read before. Dare we expect to see anything by Jane Austen on the list?

    • Anne says:

      Absolutely. I included the Jane Austen book that’s best suited for the beach (any conjectures?) and a Austen-themed memoir that I just loved.

  24. Kelty says:

    Hello! Thanks so much for this. I flew through and loved “Rules of Civility.” It was a very unexpected, thought-provoking but not heavy, enjoyable. As a tip, our library had the kindle version check out for 7 days.

    I enjoyed “where’d you go Bernadettte” in a Portlandia/It’s fun to make fun of high-income, west coast hippie stereotypes, kind of way.

    Thanks for doing all the hard work for us in compiling this list! 🙂

  25. Kelly says:

    Hello! I don’t know why, but I’m not receiving the link to respond to in my email. I have tried a few different times and it is going to my spam folder either. Any ideas?

    • Anne says:

      Yep: it’s been archived. The 2014 edition will be out in May, but if you want last year’s email me at modern mrs darcy at gmail dot com and I’ll shoot a copy your way. 🙂

  26. I stumbled on your blog today while on the hunt for good vacation reads. I’ve already found some great recommendations, but I can’t wait to check out the full summer beach reading guide. I’m so glad I found your blog!

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