It’s here: the 2016 Summer Reading Guide.

If you’re anything like me, you think summer is made for reading. But nothing is more frustrating than picking up the latest (and much-hyped) new release to find that even though it’s a bestseller, it’s not the right book for you.

How do you enjoy the hits without wasting time on the misses?

Enter the summer reading guide.

This compact, user-friendly guide whittles the overwhelming array of readerly options down to just 30 titles: that’s 6 unique categories of 5 titles each—because a list of 5 great books is much more useful than a list of thousands.

The 2016 Summer Reading Guide: your free guide to the summer's best books from Modern Mrs Darcy

You all know I love to read, and read a lot. You know where I’m coming from. If you like this blog—and the books I typically recommend here—you’ll find the titles here that are perfect for you.

Every book in there has earned its spot, and I’ve personally read them all, front to back. I can vouch for them, and answer any questions you have. In every description, I give you the information you need to help you decide not just if a book sounds good, but if it sounds good for YOU.

I read hundreds of books for the summer season; this guide contains only the best of the best. I don’t presume to have flawless taste, but know this: if I don’t love a book, I won’t recommend it here—even if I suspect most readers will enjoy it.

About this year’s guide: more than ever before, I’ve chosen new books for this year’s guide: novels and nonfiction published since the last Summer Reading Guide. If I make an exception—and there are a handful—it’s because I couldn’t bear the thought of not sharing a certain title with you.

Happy summer, and happy reading!

Head here to access the guide. (If you love it, share it! I appreciate it so much.)


Leave A Comment
  1. Desiree says:

    Yay!! I’ve been waiting all week 🙂 Now I get to plan another trip to the library and maybe even talk my hubby into the hour drive to s bookstore!!

    • April says:

      Got it! And they’re FABULOUS, Anne! I don’t even know where to start (which is a wonderful problem to have). Thank you for creating this!!

  2. Heather says:

    Really looking forward to seeing the guide!! I love the journal too, so I bought it! Can’t wait to get that in the mail (although I am in Canada so it could take awhile, haha!)

  3. Sara K says:

    I’m so excited that it’s here!! I just browsed through the titles and found several books I have already earmarked to read and quite a few more that look promising! And that’s without even reading the plot synopsis!

    Thank you for spending so much time putting this list together each year. We, your readers, appreciate it!

  4. Melanie says:

    I got my link quickly, so it worked for me!

    I’m a few chapters into The Nest and I’m not loving it. Many of the characters seem unlikable and it’s a bit crude. I’m trying to decide if I should give myself more time to get into it or if I should just write it off as a book not for me. Any thoughts from those who have read it?

      • Melanie says:

        Yes, I guess my real question is does the tone of the novel change at all? If I’m already not liking it do you think I’ll be converted as the characters are developed and the plot unfolds?

        • Anne says:

          That is so hard to answer! In the first half she’s laying out why everybody needs to GROW UP already, and while I wouldn’t say the tone changes, the second half of the book is about the characters recalibrating their lives. I have talked to a half dozen readers who made it to the middle, debated whether to proceed, and ended up loving the second half.

          This should be a book club discussion, not one in a comment box, but I did my best. 🙂

  5. Melissa says:

    I’m so excited to get on over to the reading guide which just popped into my inbox…but first, I must know where you got the fabulous earrings you are wearing in your video about the MMD journal! Will you please share your source?

  6. Amy says:

    My link didn’t work either, but hopefully I’ll get a reply soon with a new link. Thanks so much for the list Anne! I can’t wait to see the books.

  7. Thea says:

    I’m so excited about the books you’ve chosen. I don’t know how you do it!
    Is there a way to print or download just a list of all the books without the descriptions or with a compact description? I want something that is easily accessible when I’m at the bookstore or library. I can create a document myself but why reinvent the wheel if there already is one.
    Thanks a million. You’re awesome!!!

  8. Nichole says:

    Nooooooo! I am so sad that Eligible made the guide. ?

    But, I thank you for doing this every year. I am hopeful that I wil find at least a couple books for the summer.

      • Jaime says:

        I would have thought it was a terrible book in its own right but the fact that it is based on one of my favorite books of all time makes me want to weep.

    • Stacey says:

      Oh good, some other Eligible-haters! Have absolutely nothing against modern takes on Austen – love the movies Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You, but Eligible is just trying too hard.

      • Jess says:

        Trying much, much too hard. And the worst part is that the writing isn’t very good; even if I’d never read Jane Austen this is a horrible book.

  9. Susan says:

    Thank you very much for this guide. I used my same email address that is linked with my subscription to your blog, with no troubles. I cut and pasted the link and it worked perfectly.

    You’ve convinced me, I’m giving J.K. Rowling’s Cuckoo’s Calling a try. After A Casual Vacancy (ew) I was hesitant to try this one. Thanks for the nudge.

    So many books, so little time! Having this list really helps.

  10. Candice Bowns says:

    YAH! Finally I can go grab some library books. Love summertime reading! Thanks for the great recomendations

  11. Kris Schumacher says:

    Are the books pictured in the photo the books we get if we order all 5?
    I already have the nest and love this book, is there a replacement book or a discount we already own it?

    • Anne says:

      Kris, I went back just to make sure and we can’t do replacements or discounts because then we have to pay the publishers full fare. I hope you can gift The Nest to someone you think would LOVE it as much as you did.

      • Kris Schumacher says:

        I placed my order for the 5 books, should i have received a confirmation email? Just want to make sure it was received. Is it possible for you to check. Thanks for offering this club, its going to be so much fun.

  12. Ashleigh Anne Payne says:

    So excited you recommended the Louise Penny series! I love her books and I too would love to live in Three Pines. I have thoroughly enjoyed the added atmosphere provided by the audiobooks…the narrator is superb. (I think he may have recently passed on, and the most recent works may be narrated by someone new). I love your lists and your blog and all the rest…thanks for all you do.

  13. Nancy Smith says:

    Thank you so much for all the work you put into the Summer Reading Guide. This is my first time using it so I am very excited.
    Also can’t wait to get my reading journal. What a great idea!!

  14. Chris says:

    Hello, I go to the summer reading landing and I ordered the journal but I don’t see the Summer Reading Guide? I also sent an email to the address above.

    The suspense is driving me crazy I hope it’s fixed soon. Super excited!

  15. Terri-Lynn Torrez says:

    After looking over the Addictive Series category I was worried that there wouldn’t be anything new for me on here. But there was only one other book outside that category (Flight of Dreams) that I had read. And plenty that I hadn’t even heard of. I don’t know whether to be happy or dismayed by how much my TBR just exploded. 🙂

  16. Katy says:

    Anne, I hate to trouble you again, but I still haven’t received my guide. After I Tweeted to you after lunch, I emailed support as you directed, but still nothing! Help!

  17. Lisamarie says:

    “On the edge” by Theresa Santy is a must read for this summer.=On the Edge is the powerful story of a “girl next door” who struggled to make it out of childhood alive, only to drown daily in shame and fear . . . until she finally dives over the edge and into redemption.

  18. Laura says:

    First I’d like to thank you for all you put into making these summer reading guides, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this summer’s list. I am wondering why you included two books from last years list?

    • Anne says:

      It’s because those books’ respective series have been added on to since last year’s guide was published, and both the early books in the series and the new additions are so fantastic (or, in the case of French and Penny, I have such high hopes for them) that I couldn’t bear to leave them off!

  19. Anne H says:

    Your summer reading guide a few years back was how I first found your site! It looks to be a GREAT list once again! Re: PRINTING IT — I did notice that the ‘printable’ version is 25 pages and not formatted for printing efficiently. I hate to think of all the paper used up if lots of people try to print the guide. (I saved it to Evernote, but I imagine some will want hardcopy) . So I’m just wondering if maybe you could add a link on that webpage to a formatted pdf version that folks could download and print from?

    • Kari Ann says:

      This is what I did. I printed the guide as a pdf. Then I exported the pdf as images. Uploaded to Picasa and put all 20+ pages on one 8 1.2 x 11 collage. Brilliant. I can send it to you if you like. stolijones at gmail dot com

  20. Anne says:

    Thanks for another great list! Like others, I experienced a slight delay between inputting my e-mail address & receiving the list, but it finally arrived!! Thanks as always for your efforts in compiling recommendations for the rest of us.

  21. Annette Juba says:

    I’m another one who loves your blog, but is having trouble getting the summer reading guide. I’ve submitted my email twice, waited several hours, and checked junk mail. Anything else I should do? Thanks!

  22. Colleen says:

    Why can’t I get the list? I keep clicking the link but see the video and order option, have entered my email several times but still haven’t seen it?

  23. Laura says:

    Thanks Anne! I look forward to this list all year! And I’m still trying to finish reading all the titles from the last 2 years 🙂

  24. Carolin says:

    Anne, you have made my reading life so much better! I have discovered the joy of audiobooks thanks to you and would not have dreamed of getting them at my local library either. The more I read, the more I want to read and the more demanding I get, so the recommendations of a trusted fellow book lover are priceless. I have challenged myself to read 50 books this year and I am well on my way!

  25. Mary Kate says:

    One of my favorite things about your blog is that you don’t just recommend brand-new novels. So many book blogs are all “the latest! cover reveal!” etc. But there are so many great books out there that it’s easy to miss an amazing one that came out 5, 10, 20, 30 years ago. Also, older books are generally cheaper 🙂

    And thanks for including The Likeness, my favorite book ever, of all time. (Though I would argue you should definitely read In The Woods first, as so much of that book bleeds into the second one.) And I CAN’T WAIT for the latest Tana French to come out!!!

  26. Lynn says:

    I am not able to get the list either. I tried last night, and got an email, but couldn’t click on the link. I tried again today, but didn’t even get an email. I also emailed the [email protected], but did not hear back. I’m looking forward to it when it does come. Your blog is the first thing that starts my day.

      • Lynn says:

        Hi Anne, I still haven’t heard from support yet. It looks like others finally received it, so I am not giving up hope. Could we please try again?

        • Anne says:

          Hi Lynn,

          Do you have it now? Support is showing they’ve sent it twice and both emails have been opened, but if YOU don’t feel like you’ve seen it with your own eyes that’s still no good. Just making sure!)

  27. Jane says:

    Hi Anne,

    I’m another one who hasn’t been able to get her anxious hands on the link for the guide. I’ve tried a couple of times over the last few days and also sent an email yesterday afternoon to the support link noted in the comments. Still nothing.

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  29. Donna says:

    Did I blow it; seemed to get it but then got another email about it and didn’t get a chance to respond and now can’t find any of them – did you take them away?

  30. Jennifer says:

    I’ve tried three times to get access to the guide and have never received an email (checked my spam as well). Is there any way you could send this to me directly? Thank you.

  31. therese says:

    I have tried three times as well to receive the summer reading guide. Checked spam as well. How can I receive this? I get the daily kindle deals with no problem. Thanks, Therese

  32. Holly says:

    I’m bummed that for whatever reason the website for the Summer Reading Guide is blocked at work (I’m checking it on my lunch break, I swear!). Your normal website isn’t though–so weird!

  33. Leira says:

    Thanks for the summer reading guide–my TBR list is growing!

    Just wondering, though, why is the summer reading guide something that needs to be sent over email? I had to wait a while for mine, and it seems like others have had the same problem…it looks like just a regular webpage, why do we need to wait for email to see it?

    • Anne says:

      I’m sorry you had to wait. That only happens with a teeny tiny percentage of the emails and it’s a known (and obnoxious) problem with email services.

      For the email part: it’s nice to be able to know who actually views the list, but also: by asking readers to take this tiny little extra step (and most people really did get the email instantly), my site didn’t crash this year during Summer Reading Guide week for the first time since 2012. Last year it crashed four times, and nobody could see the guide after each crash until my tech wizards got it up and running again.

  34. Michelle says:

    You might also want to check out the Scary School series by Derek the Ghost. AR points and voted one of the best books for reluctant readers. My kids hated reading and now I can’t get them to stop!

  35. Julie says:

    Hi there-

    I read that you have bookmarks to support your summer reading guide for librarians to use….how can I access these materials?

  36. Amber says:

    Hello! I hate to say this, but I am another someone who has tried to sign up for your lovely summer reading guide and have not recieved it. I have checked my spam folder and emailed support but never found anything or heard back from anyone.
    In the meantime, I have been catching up on other recommendations of yours 🙂 I absolutely love the Inspector Gamache series!

  37. Ginger says:

    Sorry to say I too am one having trouble getting the guide – requested several times, emailed support and checed junk folder. Can you send it to me directly? Heard about you on The Popcast, Knox raved about this list! Can’t wait to see! Appreciate your help 🙂

  38. Maria Horstmann says:

    Wow, you read hundreds of books for a summer session? Over how much time? That’s incredible. You must be a fast reader. Just found your blog….it’s very attractive.

    • Sandeep Sharma says:

      Please accept my apologies to say that I too am the one having trouble getting the guide. May I request you to send it to me directly?
      Thank you for your help.

  39. Katie VanGrootheest says:

    Great choices! I have to say though that The Nest is no where near Rules of Civility in quality of content or writing style! I just felt I needed to get that off my chest….carry on with your lives….

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