Readers, 2021 marks TEN YEARS of our annual Summer Reading Guide! I’m excited to get the brand new guide in your hands, but as a reflective reader, I’m also enjoying a look back at how this guide has grown and changed since its first iteration in 2012.
That inaugural guide included timeless classics like Pride and Prejudice and Brideshead Revisited, along with buzzy new releases hitting bookstore shelves. But it wasn’t long before I was reading advance review copies to sift through summer’s most anticipated releases so I could recommend my personal favorites.
Today I’m sharing 20 of those favorites from past Summer Reading Guides—the standout books that have stuck with me years later. I’ve returned to many of the books on this list for a reread (and not just in the summertime!).
In addition to your enthusiasm for our upcoming guide full of brand new releases, I’ve also heard many requests for backlist books to read this summer. “Backlist” simply means “not newly published.” (For example, since Don’t Overthink It is my most recent book, it’s my “frontlist” title. My backlist titles are I’d Rather Be Reading and Reading People.) Because backlist books have been out for awhile, they’re often available in paperback and have shorter wait times at the library.
Your bookish enthusiasm has helped our annual summer reading tradition grow from a blog post to a beautifully published digital magazine—and I can’t thank you enough for your support. If you’re eager to spread the Summer Reading Guide joy (or get it for yourself), we made it simple with shareable graphics and an easy-to-link landing page.
In the meantime, I hope you find a few promising backlist Summer Reading Guide titles to add to your library tote or beach bag.
My Summer Reading Guide favorites
What are your favorite backlist books from past Summer Reading Guides? I can’t wait to see your summer reading favorites in the comments.