My Summer Reading List

I have been thinking a lot over the past week or two about how I really want something to mark the transition into summertime. Admittedly, I feel like I’m still getting used to spring here in Michigan; it’s everything I can do to not walk into people’s yards and start clipping myself bouquets of peonies. So, I’ve felt a little hesitant to fully embrace summer. But then I went to the grocery store, and I saw summer everywhere I turned. Displays of mustard, ketchup, and relish for barbecues. Paper plates patterned like watermelon and American flags. Pool noodles in every color of the rainbow. I was instantly wishing for childhood afternoons on the porch by my parent’s pool, my mother-in-law’s well-stocked cooler of snacks on the beach, the smell of chlorine and hot dogs and macaroni salad, and afternoon thunderstorms. (Here in Michigan, I know I am going to miss Florida’s afternoon thunderstorms.)

Summer feels like a funny thing for me this year. I spent eighteen years as a student, with clear delineations between summer and the rest of the year, and then I kept that trend going as a teacher. Even when I was working in children’s ministry, summer was a little different: we welcomed in a new team of volunteers, a more flexible schedule, and an emptier calendar.

But because I’m not working now and Ian isn’t school-aged, I have nothing concrete to mark my transition into summertime–no shifts in my job or responsibility, no changes to our schedule. Still, it feels important to mark the change somehow, to gear up for the transition. I think it will help me truly savor each season as it comes and enjoy each day as it comes, even if it’s an unremarkable Tuesday.

Inspired by Ali, Elise, and Natalie, I’ve written up a Summer Manifesto, which I’ll share later. But the other thing I want to do this summer is read, read, and read some more. Anne Bogel (whose blog is my favorite right now) just shared her summer reading list, so I thought I would share mine as well. It’s flexible; I reserve the right to change it up however I feel like it because, hello, it’s summer. When I thought about how many books to include, I ended up with 12. It works out to about 1 per week (June-September), but I realize that I probably won’t read them all. This will at least give me lots of options, depending on my mood. My bookshelf and “to read” lists are bursting with non-fiction I want to read, but I’ve been more in the mood for fiction lately, so I tried to honor both sides of that by alternating between fiction and non-fiction picks. I’m also going to try to read only one or two books at a time this summer; it just seems like the slow, easy, summery thing to do.

So, here it is: my summer reading list!

summer reading list

1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin: I am in the middle of this one now and loving it. My cousin Meaghan mailed it to me awhile back, and I’m so glad because I probably wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. I hope to write a little more about it later, because it’s given me lots to think about.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry: I instagrammed about this the other day; it’s a classic that I missed out on somehow. I saw it on a shelf at the library the other day and just grabbed it.

3. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: I bought this awhile back, but it got packed up towards the beginning of our move and I didn’t get a chance to start it. It will be my first foray into Brene Brown’s work, and I’m excited about it.

4. State of Wonder by Anne Patchett: I have wanted to read something by Anne Patchett for awhile now, and again, I just saw this on a shelf in the library, so I grabbed it.

5. The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson: Emily Freeman talks about this book a lot, and it came in the same Amazon shipment as Daring Greatly. It’s sitting at the end of one of our bookshelves right now, so I feel like it’s constantly staring me down. I wanted to work some meditative, faith-focused work into the list somewhere–reading books like this is one of my biggest ways my faith tends to grow, which is especially important to me while we’re still looking for a church home.

6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer: I’ve heard this book talked about and recommended so often, and I’ve been dying to pick it up. I’m always game for anything set during WWII.

7. Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair: I imagine this will be a light and easy and practical summer read. (Maybe a good one to flip through slowly across the summer.) I’ve wanted to read this because we’re in the middle of decorating and setting up a brand new (to us) place, and with Ian running around like a crazy person and a new little one on the way, it seems like a logical choice.

8. Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis: I have been (very slowly) working my way through the Chronicles of Narnia series. I got stuck here before we moved, and it’s time to pick it back up again.

9. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls: My friend Missy has been telling me to read this book for forever, and I even grabbed a copy from a friend who was giving it away last year, but I haven’t picked it up yet. Now seems like as good a time as any.

10. First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett: Modern Mrs. Darcy included this in her summer reading guide as a “Book you can’t put down,” and I thought it sounded immediately interesting.

11. Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily Freeman: This book doesn’t release until August, so it will be something I can look forward to all summer long. If you’ve ever talked to me about books and writing, you know I love Emily and her work. I can’t wait to dive into this one, too.

12. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Ok, so this book feel like it’s a bit outside of what I would normally like–apocalyptic flu and all that. But when I first heard it reviewed on Books on the Nightstand forever ago, it sounded so interesting! I expected there to be a long wait for it at the library, but it doesn’t actually look like the wait list is too bad! So I will try to get my hands on it this summer.

And there you have it! I’d love to work in a few more pieces of children’s lit (which I love even more in the summertime for some reason) and maybe a book about writing…but I’m trying to be honest about how much I’ll get accomplished. We’ll see how it goes; I’ll keep you updated.

What are you planning on reading this summer??

4 thoughts on “My Summer Reading List

  1. I found “Station Eleven” to be an interesting read and it really sticks with you. I recommend it to people and even got a teacher where I worked to use it for English I class. I also posted my summer list too (along with my daughters!)

  2. I LOVE that your daughter is so excited about her own summer reading list! I can’t wait until my little guy is big enough to enjoy that more. And you’ve got lots of books on your list that haven’t been on my radar…more to add to the “to be read” pile!

  3. I just started ‘A Prayer For Owen Meany’- first 100+ pages have been really promising!

  4. That’s another classic I somehow skipped over!! I’ll have to get around to that soon.

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