What to Read in April

What to Read in June (Summer Reading)

It’s summer! Or it will be this month. Some of you have already moved into summer schedules and others are soon to follow. I have a week left of driving my son to school, but I am beginning summer read #1 tomorrow (finishing up another book today). Personally, I like my summer reads to be lighter than my “winter reads.” I love to throw in some romance, some YA, plenty of genre. But I also associate summer reading with the classics, with the books you “should have” read a long time ago, which might go back to those Book It Pan Pizzas or even the library summer clubs my kids used to join (because I made them, really).

Here are some reading suggestions that span all of what I just mentioned.

First for the classics, which are titles that seem doable for summer and that I have already read and loved:

  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  • Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
  • The Pearl, John Steinbeck

Now for some popular (and some literary) literature that everyone else has read in the past several years, even if you haven’t gotten around to it, yet. I have also read and enjoyed these titles:

  • Where You’d Go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple
  • Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
  • Lessons in Chemistry, Bonnie Garmus
  • All the Light We Can Not See, Anthony Doerr
  • Prophet Song, Paul Lynch
  • Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Great Believers, Rebecca Makkai
  • Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo

Want some genre? Something I have vetted for you?:

  • Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn (mystery/thriller)
  • Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld (romance)
  • The Guernsey Literature and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (historical)
  • Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis (fantasy/myth)
  • The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller (romance, myth)
  • Shadow and Bone trilogy, Leigh Bardugo (YA fantasy)
  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury (sci fi)
  • The Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins (YA dystopian)

There are so many things I would like to read this summer; I won’t be able to read them all. Here are my suggestions for books that I haven’t yet read, some of them new brand-new:

Anticipated books releasing in June:

  • The Midnight Feast, Lucy Foley
  • Children of Anguish and Anarchy, Tomi Adeyemi
  • Lady Macbeth, Ava Reid
  • Fire Exit, Morgan Talty
  • I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, Glynnis Macnicol
  • Cue the Sun!, Emily Nussbaum
  • The Lucky Ones, Zara Chowdhary
  • Liars, Sarah Manguso

Books that I am really looking forward to reading this summer—they’re all over the place, including two books about writing and a book of poetry:

  • Universal Love, Alexander Weinstein
  • If I Had a Lemon We’d Throw It and Call That the Sun, Christopher Citro
  • Open Page, Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing
  • Happy Place, Emily Henry
  • Save the Cat Writes a YA Novel, Jessica Brody

 I am going to miss half of my book clubs this month due to travelling. Here are the books I will be reading for the book clubs I’ll be here for, plus one book I won’t be here to discuss but have wanted to read for forever, so I’ll read it anyhow:

  • Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yaros
  • House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
  • Kairos, Jenny Erpenbeck
  • Destroyer of Light, Jennifer Marie Brissett

My best reads of May, 2024 have been:

The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. LeGuin. LeGuin is a speculative fiction classic but I somehow haven’t read any of hers until now. I really enjoyed The Lathe of Heaven and passed it off to my husband, who also liked it, as did almost everyone at book club.

Trust, by Hernan Diaz won the Pulitzer last year and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. It was already on my imminent TBR, so I was glad to read this for book club. However, I have my reservations and you’ll want to look it up first to see if it’s your kind of book. I struggled through the topics (finance and historical NYC) and committing that hard to a gimmick.

Empty Theatre, Jac Jemc. I also have reservations about recommending this one, but most people at book club enjoyed it. I would have liked it much more if it were shorter. And in third person.

I am almost done reading Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It is an excellent book, but it is a very specific type of book. A large one consisting of individual vignettes, it is nonfiction about ecology and botany and motherhood and Native American history and culture, but it is written thoughtfully and beautifully. I wouldn’t want you to miss it—maybe keep it at your bedside to real slowly.