10 Books on My Personal Summer Reading List / by Madeleine Riley

Readers, summer reading season is here!

There are so many summer reading lists out there, and getting caught up in those lists can be both easy and overwhelming. I love a good challenge, but recently I've realized that my reading life isn't the right space for challenging myself to achieve perfection. So instead of trying to check off every title on a specific list this year, I'm pulling my summer reads from a few sources: my own unread shelves, the shelves of my local public library, The Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide, and the Diverse Books Club Summer Reading Guide. I have a stack of reads picked out and put aside already, but if I'm honest with myself, I know that I'm a mood reader and will stray from the list whenever it feels right. That's why, today, I'm sharing just ten of the titles on my ever-growing list of books to read this summer. 

Summer is an unpredictable season for me (in terms of schedule), but Amy and I are hoping to get together at the end of June, July, and August for Instagram Live discussions about the books we've read and loved! Stay tuned for specifics on that. In the meantime, if we're reading the same title or you just want to gush about your own picks, you can always reach me via Instagram and via email at topshelftext@gmail.com!

From The Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

I'm an avid fan of Fredrik Backman already. A Man Called Ove is one of my favorite books of all time -- if you haven't read it already, I highly recommend it in audiobook form. I chose Us Against You as my first official book of the summer reading season. At first, I was hesitant to read this. I picked up Beartown during a particularly hard season last year, and I was worried that returning to this world would bring back tough memories. It turned out to be another hard read, but also the best book I've read in a long time. A blurb on the back calls Backman the Dickens of our time, and I couldn't agree more. He writes about the human experience in a way that leaves me raw with heartbreak, but also full of hope.


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This was a very popular pick when it first came out in February of this year, and I've had it sitting on my shelf for a few months already. I'm also reading Hannah's The Nightingale for my book club in June, which has been recommended to me by so many TST readers!


Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano

A mystery in a beautiful setting and a spunky protagonist -- this novel has everything I want in a summer read. (Bonus: that cover.) Though I have a bunch of other books circled on my MMD Summer Reading Guide, this wasn't even on my radar prior to Anne's release, and I am so excited to dive in.

From the Diverse Books Club Summer Reading Guide


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Jordan's hosting our very first summer discussion on this new YA fantasy and I am so looking forward to it! Children of Blood and Bone has already been picked up for a movie adaptation, so now is a really good time to read it with us! (That discussion is happening on June 16th at 2pm EST!)

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Chelsey has been raving about this one for months now, and it's been recommended quite often for readers who enjoyed The Hate U GiveI'm dedicating most of my summer reading to lighter reads, but this is one of those books that I know I need to read, and that I'll be a better human because of it.

New Releases

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

This novel releases on June 5th. Thank you to Harper Books for my free copy!

I recently listened to Horowitz's Magpie Murders on audiobook and absolutely loved it. Mystery is one of my go-to genres, and I'm really looking forward to this one, with a puzzling premise (a woman enters a funeral parlor to plan her own service, then is found dead just six hours later) and a "brilliant, eccentric" detective.


The Lido by Libby Page

This novel releases on July 10th. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for my free copy!

Already, The Lido has been hailed as one of the best releases of the summer, and it's being recommended to fans of A Man Called Ove. An unexpected friendship blossoms between an octogenarian and a twenty-something as they navigate hard changes in life.

From My Unread Shelf

Lucy's Little Village Book Club by Emma Davies

I picked this title up after discovering that I am actually a fan of the romance genre! Here's what I know about my preference in this genre so far: I like serendipity, charming settings, and sweet (not sultry) vibes. This one looks just right for me. (P.S. As I type this, it's only $0.99 on Kindle!)

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon

I read Outlander a few summers ago and fell head-over-heels for Claire and Jamie's love story. I've started (and abandoned) this second installment multiple times, solely because it's heft intimidates me. I'm determined to finally spend some quality time with it this summer.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was one super popular novel from last summer that left me feeling like I missed out! I wasn't sure the premise was right for my reading tastes, but after seeing so many readers love it, I picked up a copy to catch up with this year.

Share some of your own summer reading picks below! I'm so curious to hear what other readers are picking up this season!