Summer reading

After writing the post this morning about reading,  “Sleeping with Schubert”, I had an idea.

I don’t know if it is a phenomenon shared only by women or not (any men out there who have experience with this, feel free to let me know) but the other day, I was finishing up a really good book and a friend said, “Oh let me borrow it will you? I need some good summer books. I knew exactly what she meant but I thought, “I’ve never heard a guy say that he needed a good summer book.”

So, I thought we could share our favorites here. In my mind, a “summer book” is one that is fun to read; engaging but on the light side (always with a happy/good) ending. If you would like to contribute your favorite/s please do!

36 thoughts on “Summer reading

  1. Just finished reading Dave Barry turns 50. Talk about laugh out loud funny…and since I just turned 50 myself, it was a great trip down memory lane but also a poignant read.

  2. Oh man. You’ve hit on one of my passions, books and reading. Since I am sitting at my “day job,” I would love to refer your readers to my blog:, and the full list (about 200 books) on my Shelfari shelf,

    This list started in 2003 as a response to all the very dark books Oprah was finding for her book club, and also not wanting to read anything heavy after 9/11, so there is plenty of light but intelligent reading there, and some of the heavier stuff too as the years went on.


  3. The book The Shack was probably the most intriging book I’ve read…maybe ever. Not exactly lighthearted, but definately makes you think. The writer takes God out of the religous box we’ve put him in. Being raised Catholic and later changing to nondenominational churches, I had put God in a box for sure. Have you read it?

  4. Anything written by Adrianna Trigiani.
    The Ellie Haskell Mystery series by Dorothy Cannell.
    The Goldy Schulz culinary mystery series by Diane Mott Davisidson – a good mystery and recipes, too.

  5. The Maisie Dobbs series (currently 8 books total) by Jacqueline Spears has been a favorite of mine this past year. My sister recommended them to me and I’ve since recommended them to many others. They should be available in the mystery section of most libraries, but I wouldn’t categorize them as typical mystery books. They do need to be read in order so make sure you start witht the first book and go from there. Happy reading!

  6. I am a voracious reader, visit my local library once a week, and take out 3 or 4 books at a time. I always review them on my Facebook page. Am currently reading (concurrently too!) Scribble, Scribble, Scribble by Simon Schama, and Wait for Me by Deborah Mitford, the Duchess of Devonshire. A serendipitous pairing I must say!

  7. Two summers ago I read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski – and it is really one of THE best books I have ever read – and I read a lot too! It has been called a modern day Othello – hmm, not sure about that but there is suspense, incredibly beautiful prose – and a relationship between a little boy who is deaf and mute and his dog who intuits him from the time he was in his mother’s womb – and an ‘evil’ uncle, – it is just an incredible book and will keep you glued – I read it (it is long everyone!) in just two days – I simply could not put it down. Happy Summer Reading – what a great idea Mary to share our favorite reads!

    • Susan has listed the book I was going to share. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is TRULY a remarkable book. It is not easily laid down, and although it is by no means a “flowers and rainbows” read, it will grab you from the first sentence and you will never forget it.


  8. Some of my all time favorites are:
    “1000 White Women” by Jim Fergus
    “The Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingslover
    “Time Travelers Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger
    “Colony” by Anne Rivers Siddons
    “Rose in a Storm” by Jon Katz
    “Night Road” by Kristin Hannah
    “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett
    “The Walk” by Richard Paul Evans and it’s sequel, “Miles to Go”

  9. I loved One Day by David Nicholls. It’s a modern romance tracing one day in the life of a couple over 20 years. It’s a perfect summer read.

  10. What a great idea! I am working my way through the Ellie Quicke series – cozy mysteries by Veronica Heley – suggested by my good friend Hope. I love a series with over-arching stories and characters you meet again in new situations – especially when the characters learn and grow and evolve.

    Question: Do you use a QR code generator to create the QR codes?

  11. I’ve recently enjoyed reading:
    The Help – Kathryn Stockett
    Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
    Secret Daughter – Shilpi Somaya Gowda
    The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom

    This post is great! I’m getting a great list for future reading. Thanks!

  12. I too love to read. I feel a little out of sorts when I don’t have a book to read. I absolutely love the books of Elizabeth Berg. She writes women so well, I think. She has written many,and they are short, so great for summer. Another favorite author of mine is Stephanie Kallos, she wrote “Broken for You” which was excellent! Can’t wait to try out some of these suggestions, thanks Mary for another great idea!

  13. i’, reading ‘assisted loving’ by bob morris about a son doublr-dating with his 80 year old widowed father. very sweet and funny.

  14. Great idea, Mary! I am happy to join Mary Muncil’s Blogging Book Club.

    Last Summer, I read 4 books by Adrianna Trigianni and enjoyed each of them. Titles: Very Valentine; Brava Valentina; Lucia, Lucia; and her Family Cookbook Memoir – non-fiction – 100 years of Italian Ancestry through recipes.

    And how serendipitous & synchronous, I am reading my first Maisie Dobbs novel right now. Please note correction: author’s name is Jacqueline Winspear.

  15. P.S. for Wendy – if you have not read Adrianna Trigianni’s : 100 Years of Italian Cooking ( non-fiction ) – please do. I checked it out at my local library and then bought copies for myself & my 3 sisters for Cristmas presents.

  16. I feel like I did such a poor job of hyping “my” fave, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, I’d like to offer this link to the author’s website where you can read reviews of it, etc.
    Holly mentioned Louise Erdrich’s Painted Drum – she is a marvelous writer (her bday was a couple of days ago – learned that on Writer’s Almanac!) – I loved her book, The Master Butcher’s Singing Club. We are in for a summer of reading fun I can see!

  17. One summer years and years ago I read Six of One by Rita Mae Brown and it turned out to be my all time favorite book. I think it was the first book I ever read that make me laugh out loud. Love the discussion

  18. The local library is going to have a boatload of requests from me, I can see! Thanks for all of the terrific ideas!

    Here are two additions: “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” and its sequel, “The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag”, by Alan Bradley. This is a mystery series with an eleven year old female protagonist. Flavia de Luce is a charming, bright, diabolical heroine. You can read more about the series at

    One more suggestion is “Snowdance” by Gary Paulsen, a former resident of Northern Michigan, about his Iditarod efforts with his dogs. He is humane, error-prone,and laugh-out-loud funny. It is a great book.

  19. Great idea Mary, thank you. I am reading “The Chicken Chronicles” by Alice Walker which I got at my local library. I love the book and think you will too if you get a chance to pick it up.

  20. So many great ones to choose from! But one of my all time favorites, it’s an old one though, is Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”…it is always on my night table and one of the few I’ve read more than once…it’s a true story and very funny and educational about the Appalachian Trail as well…thanks for all the sharing…my summer reading list is now very long!

  21. I too get twitchy if I don’t have a stack of books by the bed at all times. I especially enjoy reading memoirs. My current book is Breaking Night by Liz Murray. Not exactly a light summer read, rather dark and heavy at times, but it does have an amazing ending. Quoting Robert Redford: “….the human spirit has infinite ability to grow and can never be limited by circumstance.” Ms Murray truly portrays the worst and the best in people.

  22. Earlier this year my husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday. I’ve been enjoying some of the old classics: Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, True Grit and Dacula. The first snow storm we had back in January I took a snow day and read “Rose In A Storm.” That was a great story for a snowy day. Also might cool you off on a hot summer one. Pillars of the Earth and World Without End were like soap operas that took place in days of old England and cathedral building. I am just starting Edgar Sawtelle. Looking forward to more books and will checkout some of the titles that you all have shared here. Thanks and Happy Reading!

  23. I used to read Science Fiction and Fantasy exclusively, but now I read thrillers.

    I’m reading Sandstorm – A sigma Force Novel by James Rollins.
    Then two more James Rollins books: Black Order, Map of Bones (in talking book format, also hard copy). I like to have the talking book format so I can be doing something like quilt at the same time. Then I have Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive. Plus some books about Special Forces.

  24. Great idea Mary! Some books I loved for summer reading are One Day by David Nichols, Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner and Can You Keep A Secret by Sophie Kinsella…these books have humor and great characters that you will miss when you close the books. I love all the book ideas I’m getting. I’m also in a book club and we are reading Long Drive Home. Also, not always light reading but any books by Lisa Gardner are excellent…very suspensful! By the way, I love your skin balm and its really helping my hands heal, thanks again.

  25. Thank you everyone who contributed to this blog! I am going to have such a good time going through these and picking books for the summer! (and beyond!)

  26. Don’t know if it’s too late to leave a note here . . . I love this idea. I am always looking for new things to read. If you like mysteries you might enjoy Dorothy Gilman books, I enjoyed her Mrs. Pollifax series. Thanks for all the suggestions . . . I’ve got my list going!

    • Hi JoAnne, It is never too late! I hope people do keep posting. Thanks! Mary

  27. As a man, I never really look for summer books. As many others in teh comments have said, reading is a passion and a constant part of my life. I am seldom without a book in some form. To me, designating books as summer books or winter books diminishes the value of the books raec during the hot months. They are all vaulable and all have their place — when we read them shouldn’t matter. Somehow, after 33 years as a librarian, I have come to understand that a summer read is a light read. Just my 2 cents.

  28. Homer Hickman is my favorite author and I read anything by him. His first Coalwood, WV, book, is my favorite: “Rocket Boys”.

  29. Diana Gabaldon books! The Jamie and Claire series starts with “Outlander”.
    They are historical romance with the time traveler twist thrown in. Not the run of the mill by any means! Wonderful writer!

    Susan Toth’s books on England are also wonderful. Travel England and never leave your armchair!

  30. I am a voracious reader, and my list would be endless, but if you want to be tickled, read the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde. Not only do you have mystery and intrigue and laughs, but you finally find out what is happening in Bookworld when the characters aren’t in the “scene”. SO MUCH FUN!

  31. “Breakfast with Budda” of course! But, being a man, I have to also recommend, “City of Thieves” a truly amazing book, a great read any time of the year. Light, in a heavy kind of way!

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