Summer reading list 2019

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Is it just me or is 2019 turning out to be a FANTASTIC reading year? I’ve read more new releases than ever this year (though I plan to dip into some back lists and classics in the fall), and my To Read stack for the summer (when I do the most reading) is already toppling.

Reminder: I always share what I’m reading on my personal Instagram page, and give the most honest reviews in the Secret Posts. Let’s be friends on Goodreads!

Here is my To Read summer list, and I'll update this post with reviews as I go:

(Click on the image or the title to purchase or read more.)

by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve become an Elizabeth Gilbert fan over the years following her on social media, and I really enjoyed her nonfiction book Big Magic. City of Girls is a novel set in New York City in the 1940’s, and I've already heard so many good things about it.


I LOVED this book. It is fun and fast paced and sexy. I liked the flawed characters and the historical elements. This is just one of the greatest books of the summer. It would make an excellent beach read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Katharine Smyth

I stumbled upon this book in a Paris bookstore last week and the cover and subtitle called to me. I’m really looking forward to this memoir framed around the works of Virginia Woolf.


Smyth’s writing in this grief memoir is really good. I appreciated the intellectual aspects of using To The Lighthouse as a device to cope with her aging parents and ultimately the loss of her father. I do wish that the description had made it more clear that Smyth wasn’t looking Woolf in broad strokes, but very specifically To the Lighthouse. A working knowledge of that novel would have been enormously helpful in understanding All the Lives We Ever Lived. I’m not sure a reader could appreciate the memoir without first reading To the Lighthouse. (Which now I want to reread.) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Mary Beth Keane

This book was filling up my Instagram feed, so of course I couldn’t resist


I really liked this one! It’s a family drama that starts off with a bang and then becomes a quiet look at relationships and marriage and families over decades. It’s about mental illness and fidelity, love and addiction. I never knew where it was going, and I enjoyed the writing and the story so much. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Lisa Damour

I have a lot about Untangled from my fellow mom friends, and since I have a soon-to-be 10-year-old girl, I think this one might be helpful.

by Blake Crouch

I enjoyed Crouch’s novel Dark Matter so much that I preordered this one to download onto my kindle while we were traveling.


Oooooh, this book was so fun to read. This was a five-star summer read for me. Similar in some ways to Dark Matter - with the myriad of ways a life can go - but with a little save-the-world thrown in. 📚 Recursion is a sci-fi thriller (not my normal genre) but there’s enough relational stuff to keep me eagerly turning the pages. It gets a little redundant towards the end, but it pays off by the VERY end. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Maggie O’Farrell

I’m actually not sure how this one came on my radar, I think it might have been a suggested book on amazon from my browsing history. I’ve read less memoir this year than I have in years past, so it immediately appealed to me.


The first essay in I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell blew me away. She is a fantastic writer. I enjoyed this whole memoir, but I think it’s better not to read it all at once. Maybe it’s because I read it in the middle of a fun family weekend, but the somber (and often frightening) tone about her many brushes with death meant that it was better for me in small doses. 📚 This was my first book by O’Farrell, but I definitely want to pick up another. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Joanne Ramos

This was everywhere in the spring, and the premise really appeals to me. It’s gotten really good reviews.

by Casey Cep

This nonfiction book is about the murder trial that Harper Lee spent a year reporting (after helping Truman Capote with In Cold Blood). I’m listening to this on audio.


I listened to Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep and I really enjoyed it! I was a little confused on the structure of the book at the beginning (this might have been because I was doing audio), but it becomes a lot clearer as it goes on.

The first two sections are about the alleged crimes of Reverend Willie Maxwell, who was accused of murdering five family members to collect the insurance money. It wasn’t until part three that Cep delves into Harper Lee’s interest in the case as being the next book she published after the mass popularity of To Kill A Mockingbird.

The Maxwell case is interesting (and shocking, actually) but I really loved the parts about Harper Lee, her life before Mockingbird, her time helping Truman Capote write In Cold Blood, and the decades after those best sellers. There were so many good tidbits I’d never heard.

I don’t love audio books for lots of reasons, but I can do some nonfiction like this. My summer To Read list is so long, it helped to knock this one out while multitasking. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This is the much-anticipated debut novel from journalist Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I really like Taffy’s writing, so I preordered this one on my kindle.

by Lisa Brennan-Jobs

This has been on my list since it came out. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, but it was on a bunch of the Best Of lists at the end of last year, and I do love memoir.

by Claire Lombardo

I bought this on the recommendation of my instagram friend Gail, and I’m really excited about this one.

by Erin Lee Carr

This got great reviews and was my Book of the Month pick a few months back.

by Bryan Washington

Speaking of Book of the Month, this was another pick from that club. I’ve really been into short stories recently (Friday Black is another collection that is excellent), so Lot seems right up my alley right now.

by Lisa Taddeo

I heard about Three Women on a podcast episode, and preordered it (it comes out July 9). Dave Eggers says, “This is one of the most riveting, assured, and scorchingly original debuts I’ve ever read.”

Peter Heller


Women who I trust with good taste highly recommended this one, but it ended up not being for me. ⭐️⭐️

by Lauren Acampora

I read about this novel on one of those clickbait lists about What To Read This Summer. A thriller about two girlfriends in Hollywood? Sounds like a fun summer read.


I was fascinated by this premise and especially the beginning at a 10th high school reunion. And although there were elements to the Hollywood side of this story that I found VERY interesting (and spot-on), by the end I just found that this novel wasn’t for me. ⭐️⭐️

by Colson Whitehead

I loved Colson Whitehead’s previous novel (and Pulitzer Prize winner) The Underground Railroad, so I am definitely interested in his next one. This book doesn’t come out until July 16, but I’ve already preordered it.

WHEW. That’s a lot of reading this summer, but I can’t think of a better way to spend my time. If you want to know more about my reading habits or hear tips on how to read MORE, go listen to Ep. #1 of the 10 Things To Tell You podcast.