11 Summer Reads

11 Summer Reads

Roslyn Lifestyle Me Time, Summer

Summer reading: it’s in the air. Beach books! Travel books! Romance! Adventure! How to choose my summer reads? Each year seems to bring more great-sounding books by new-to-me authors, as well as new ones from my favorite writers, and I always appreciate recommendations. When I belonged to book clubs, selecting my vacation reading was easier; my reading lists were partly determined by other people’s choices. Since I created my online business, my free time has dwindled, and I need to begin making my choices way in advance. I do miss the seemingly endless hours I once spent reading a book from cover to cover. Now, I want some of my books straightforward enough so that I can stop reading and pick up later without losing the plot thread or the emotional impact. 

Regardless of recommendations, the decision, of course, is mine. What initially attracts me to a book? The jacket cover, title, blurb? Do I want a mix of genres? Do I want to laugh, be transported to foreign lands, become nostalgic? How many thrillers can I fit in? What does tempt me is a riveting story filled with characters I end up wanting to know, with human interest and a focus on women. I’m also drawn to loosely historical works.

The following list includes books I’ve read this year and highly recommend, as well as some I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Chick Lit

Who Do You Love Jennifer WeinerWho Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
A tale of ‘first love against the odds’. Rachel and Andy meet when they are 8 and 11, and their complex relationship evolves over three decades. Like many of her novels, this love story tugs at your heart with a mix of wit, romance, brutal honesty, and a touch of comedy. Probably will be one of my beach reads.


The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D_A Novel by Nichole BernierThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
Kate inherits her best friend’s journals after her untimely death and discovers surprises about her best friend, Elizabeth. I was drawn to the characters and intricacies of friendship; this was one of those books I couldn’t put down.


The Space Between Sisters_A Butternut Lake Novel by Mary McNearThe Space Between Sisters: A Butternut Lake Novel by Mary McNear
A drama about sisters who share a complex relationship, differences, history, and love. Long kept secrets are revealed during an unforgettable summer at the lake. A “vacation novel” I am looking forward to reading.



Psychological Thrillers

The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
A page turner and soon to be a motion picture. No train ride will ever be the same. It will have you looking at every house, and apartment dweller and every train passenger in an entirely new way. I couldn’t put it down.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Penned under J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym, detective Cormoran Strike is broke. Luckily, he gets a case to investigate why a model, a presumed suicide, fell to her death from a balcony. The first of two in this series, this mystery is for sure a summer escape for me.


Disclaimer_A Novel by Renee KnightDisclaimer: A Novel by Renee Knight
Catherine picks up a bedside novel and is plunged into a nightmare. Her own past, a secret that only a dead person knew, is revealed in these pages, and she must get to the bottom of it, even if the truth destroys her.  Sounds unsettling but also intriguing, I’ll give it a read.


Historical Fiction

 The Nightingale by Kristin HannahThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This award winning author brings us a novel about two French sisters and their hardships to survive during WWII. 
The characters linger long past the last page, and their history should never be forgotten. This riveting story was a favorite of mine.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
It took the author 10 years to write this Pulitzer Prize winner. In this epic novel, the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France where they both try to survive the devastation of WWII. An incredible, beautifully written tale of love, and so much more.


The Paris Architect_A Novel by Charles BelfoureThe Paris Architect: A Novel  by Charles Belfoure
A fascinating tale of an ordinary Frenchman during the Nazi occupation, who carves out ingenious hiding places for Jews. It is the story not only about this talented architect, but the lives of Christians, German officers, women, and children caught up in the choices one must make in wartime. Not classified as suspense, but it had me on the edge of my seat.


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
A true story of nine working-class American boys surviving incredible hardship because they are determined to compete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Reading about their lives, commitment and challenges during the depression was mind blowing.


The Dirty Life_A Memoir of Farming Food and Love by Kristin KimballThe Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball
In this memoir, a restless, single New York City writer in her 30’s meets a farmer during an interview. She moves Upstate to spend a year on his farm to learn about sustainable farming and her entire life changes. Adventurous or reckless?  We shall know upon reading.


I’m looking forward to soaking up the summer with great books I have not yet read. Hopefully you discovered a few here that call to you; we would love to know which ones they are. I still have room on my list for recommendations, so please pass along any you have in the comments.

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I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 43

  1. I’m certainly going to try and find out if Disclaimer is available in the Indian Market, Roslyn. I love a good mystery. 🙂 Other than that, I’ve got a few novels I picked up last year which I haven’t had a chance to read yet and now is a good time, especially with the monsoon season approaching.

    1. Vatsala Shukla, All the listed books are linked to Amazon. Please let me know of books you highly recommend, so I can add to my own list. I am a voracious reader and have already finished one I thought I’d save for the beach, glad I did, and started another.

  2. This sounds like a great list Roslyn. I loved The Girl on the Train – could not put it down. I am going to have to get Disclaimer and The Space Between Sisters and The Paris Architect are calling to me too. I love these kind of book lists as it makes it so much easier to decided where to start.

  3. What a great selection of books! I prefer reading non-fiction. “The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball” Sounds interesting. I will have to add that to my wish list. Thanks for sharing, Roslyn. =)

  4. OK – but what were they wearing? And how did they accessorize? Lol! Just sharing an idea for another post. Great descriptions – I’d love to read them all!

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      I love your suggestion for a future blog, Reba Linker. I will keep it in mind as I wander thru my book travels. A fiction writer fan has indicated she will start using more fashion and jewelry descriptions to her characters since reading our blogs. Always open to new blog topics so keep them coming.

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      Latrelle, thanks for getting interested in our psychological thriller selections. I read one and definitely will be reading the other two. I just took out “The Cuckoo’s Calling’ from my local library. Will start it soon.

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  5. Oh yes…summer is a great time to enjoy books. I love reading while waiting to board a plane, on a plane and on the beach. The only book on this list that I have thus far is “The Cuckoo’s Calling”…but haven’t started it yet.

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  6. Of these, I think “The Paris Architect” and “The Dirty LIfe” sound interesting to me. I generally read non-fiction and think for summer reading, an engrossing book that keeps me on the edge of my seat, might be a fun change. I don’t have any suggestions for you to add to your list, as you know, a lot of books I read are considered self-help. Right now I’m reading Brene Brown’s, “Rising Strong: The Reckoning, the Rumble, the Revolution”. Thanks for your personal picks and for suggestions for taking our reading into territories previously unknown to us.

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      Beverley Golden, ‘The Paris Architect’ was a fascinating story and although a novel, we know it described, unfortunately, the conditions in France during WWII. Worth reading. I had you in mind when I added ‘The Dirty Life’. Years ago I read self- help style books & appreciate the value they provide. If I were to choose one, Brene Brown would be the one.

  7. I’ve got my summer reading list full – but you have what appears to be some truly delightful curl-up-and-get-lost-kinda-books mentioned. I might have to come back to this list and indulge..thanks for sharing Roslyn.

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  8. Roslyn! You have saved me!! I needed a list, I am taking off for a month from the land of the computer and looking forward to doing some good old fashioned reading, I will be getting a few of these, of course “The Dirty Life”, looks right up my alley…as I am a Farm Chick, and “The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D”. Thanks for this

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      Lisa, I can’t wait to hear if you enjoyed these selections and do pop me a line of ones you would recommend to me. Enjoy your computer time away.

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  9. Have you read Redeeming Love by Francis Rivers. Just finished it. Was fantastic. Read several on your list. Kristin Hannah is a favorite fiction author. I love reading and find it to be the thing that really relaxes me. Thanks for your suggestions. Will check out those that I haven’t read. Oh and Girl on the Train. It keeps you reading but yet I just didn’t like the book. Conflicted is the word.

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      Thanks, Karen Grosz for your recommendation. I have added it to my list. Reading relaxes me as well and introduces me to interesting worlds. I do understand about “Girl on a Train. I will see the movie to clear some of it up.

  10. You had me at Chic Lit and I love Jennifer Wiener… I have read a few of hers… good stuff. I have tons on my Kindle and read every morning at the gym while doing my cardio. 😉

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      I’ve read a few of Jennifer Weiner’s books, but not in a while. It is great Kristen Wilson that you can read while doing the treadmill. Wish I could or while someone else was driving. No such luck.

  11. Awesome list of books to read for summer Roz! I definately need to get back to some reading and just sitting down with a good book 🙂 Have not done that in a very long time……Appreciate the reminder how much fun it is to pick up a good book!

  12. Roslyn, your book selections are wonderful. I’ve read a few and one of my favorites is “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah. One of my favorite authors..you should add The Winter Garden by her also. Love her historical fiction. Another favorite of mine is the Butternut Lake series by McNear. Can’t wait to hear how you like the books on list. Enjoy!

  13. Picture me being sarcastic: Thank you, Roz, for making me want to read more books! Presently, I have fourteen books on my “read for pleasure” shelf. I hope to get in two over the summer (I haven’t figured out why college profs don’t just give a “time out” to read whatever we want, lol). I will be looking at your non-fiction books, as well as your psychological thrillers. Hopefully, the number will not be up to nineteen by Christmas, lol. 🙂

  14. Roz, what a wonderful list of books. It’s great when friends recommend their favorites. Summers as a kid were my best time to read. I would haunt the library and bring home an armful of books. Girl on a Train looks good and CI think I will start there. Thanks again for the recommendations.

    1. Joyce Hansen, I just heard 2 smart girlfriends say they weren’t sure they really liked Girl on a Train. They thought it too suspenseful & jarring. I too lived & still do, in the library. I just finished Circling The Sun, a loosely written biography of an amazing woman, set in Africa. It is compared to Out of Africa’. Glad you appreciated a list.

  15. The first two look likes my style! I’ll have to try them. I am an avid reader but am quite selective. I like light reading, but to tell you the truth I enjoy wit more than humor. Nice list!

    1. Joan Poter, since publishing this list, I have read The first book. “Who do you Love’ & truly enjoyed it. I Loved “The Unfinished work Of Elizabeth D. I also really love reading a variety of books and have read many very recently. It’s fun to catch wit woven into a story. Says a lot about an author.

  16. Your taste in books is way more far-ranging than mine. I did read “The Girl on the Train,” which I really enjoyed. I’m mostly a shoot-’em-up, courtroom drama, cop procedural kind of gal. I don’t anything too touchy-feely. I just want to be entertained!

    1. Jackie Harder, I never thought of my reading choices as far ranging as I hardly choose non-fiction, biographies or history. Recently I did include these and found I liked them. I’m a big Patterson & other mystery books. Touchy -feely books are good for an emotional escape. Courtroom drama is great & I love Michael Connerly. Also into the husband & wife- Kellerman books.

  17. Roz – I read your post on the books in June. I’ve now read The Paris Architect and am in the middle of The Nightingale. These are both superb. I knew it was bad in France during the occupation, but these books both bring to life the awful conditions for the people of France at that time. Not only were the Jews hunted down and executed, but the other people in France suffered terribly. I know my father was in Europe fighting with the American army at that time. He never spoke much of the horrors he witnessed, but I know he did. Wish he had shared more about it.

    Thanks for recommending these. I love books where I learn about history and yet read a good story as well.

    1. LeAllyson Meyer, thank you so much for letting me know you have read and appreciated a few books I recommended. I was hesitant to load the list with historical fiction, especially around WWII, Nazi atrocities but I deeply feel it is important to remember and there are some who do not know. Mostly we think about the horror of Jewish lives lost and the concentration camps. These books did present a lesser known evil portraying the difficult lives the French had during the war. “All The Light We Cannot See’ on the list, should be your next choice., beautiful and extraordinary. I also loved “The Boys in the Boat” & an unusual novel was “The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.” by Nichole Bernier. I hope she writes another novel.

  18. Hey Roslyn,

    Great collection of books! I saw the movie, The Girl on the Train, it’s really good, did you see it! If so, how do you think it compares to the book? I really enjoyed both but I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I had not seen the film first.

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