When it comes to summer reading for adults, it’s important to make it fun. Because adults don’t really get a summer break, you gotta take that break in your reading.

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A woman laying on a bench while reading a book with the text "summer reading for adults."

Original photo by Micah Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Now, I’m not telling anyone to take a break FROM reading. Rather, make sure you get that summer vacation in the form of a good book or 7. Summer reading doesn’t have to be all about professional development. It doesn’t have to be all about the important books.

So, when it comes to making that summer reading for adults book list, I want to encourage you to think long and hard about what it is you want in a story.

I want you to have fun. I want you to make it nice and chill.

So embrace the beach reach, gang. I know that for some of you, it seems shameful or a waste of time to not read the big-deal culturally important or nonfiction stuff..

But instead, I want you to think more about finishing some good titles, and just enjoying yourself for once.

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The personal development books will be there when you’re done.

So, it’s with that in mind that I thought I would share my summer reading lists. These are the places I’m culling for the books I’m reading, as well as some suggestions for titles.

Summer Reading for Adults

001: Tackle that TBR.

I was born with a to be read pile taller than me, and I know I will never finish it.

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But that’s okay.

So, this summer, I’m making my way through the books that have been piling up. Some of them are nonfiction, some are fiction. Some are books that have been sitting on my shelf for so long that I’ve forgotten their provenance.

I’ll be reading Save the Cat Writes a Novel, because my friend Zac loaned it to me and I know I’ll love it.

I’ll be diving into Educated by Tara Westover because I keep seeing it everywhere, and everyone says it’s amazing.

And on my Kindle, I have the Lois McKendrick Omnibus that I need to tackle, as well as Initiated by Amanda Yates Garcia, a memoir of witchy goodness.

002: Pick books from a place you want to visit.

Right now, with a global pandemic still wreaking havoc on the planet, I don’t have much of an urge to travel. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do so in books.

I’ll be grabbing the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy by Nora Roberts from my mom the next time I pop into her house, because it’s all about witchy goodness in Ireland. (And y’all know I stan Nora.)

And I know that they’re both kind of over suggested at this point, but now would be a great time to dive into Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or Wild by Cheryl Strayed. And if you need a fantastical journey, you could always go with The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien or you could dive into The Chronicles in Amber by Robert Zelazny.

Basically, I recommend thinking about all the types of trips you wish you were taking, and then googling that type of trip + book.

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003: Know the time and effort you can put in.

Look. Not everything has to be super hard or arduous. Just enjoy reading when you want.

There are tons of novellas and short story collections out there for you to enjoy, and if you don’t have  a ton of time, you can always pick up one of those.

I recommend Deep Water by Kathryn Trattner, or one of the Eerie Okie short reads like Jaws, The Girl, or The Fairchild Wolf. And Collette Carmon’s In the Garden is only 32 pages and can be downloaded to the Kindle app on your phone.

So don’t keep thinking you need to read War and Peace over the summer. Because I think for the majority of us, that ain’t gonna happen.

004: Check your local library!

Libraries are great for finding summer reading recommendations.

And while some of them may not be open during this time, know that many are offering curbside pick up, and you can still chat with a librarian on the phone about some book recommendations.

And while I never worked as a librarian, I’d like to put that MLIS degree to good use and offer some reader advisory here.

I think some of the books that are going to take off this summer are going to be Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, Our Time is Now by Stacey Abrams, and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

005: Start your own book club.

If you are one of the lovely souls who has invited me to your book club and I’ve never shown up, I’m sorry. And I know that it’s very silly that I would recommend that you start a book club when I, myself, can’t be arsed to even attend one.

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But I know there are some people out there that can handle the responsibility.

Also, I love the idea of starting a book club based on a topic. Like, what if you created a cook book club?

And so, everyone in the club could read a memoiry cookbook, and for the meeting, everyone could bring a dish from the book. That would be a lot of fun, but it may not be possible where you are if the virus cases are spiking. If it’s safe for you to try this, I recommend picking Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish.

But you could also do books about a specific topic. Like a tarot book club. You could check out any of the books on this list, or this one, and discuss the books and do some reading together.

There are a lot of possibilities here, so make sure you pick a topic that everyone enjoys.

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What are your summer reading for adults tips?

How do you pick a good summer read? What do you look for in a book club? What book do you think is going to blow up over the summer? What book would you recommend that I read this summer?

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