Long live the summer reading list.

With Memorial Day approaching, I'm revisiting one of my favorite hot weather traditions - the summer reading list. I love pausing to revel in the bounty of good literature, to reflect on the ideas that excite me most, and to nominate a slate of books for the sunny season. I hope the bibliophile in you finds some inspiration here, whether it's specific titles, reading tips, or just the kick in the pants you need to exit social media for a while. ;) 



Set a goal. It should be a reasonable stretch from your regular pace.

Page-turners are fine. Sometimes they are just the ticket to jump-start your stalled reading.

Still, don’t limit yourself to brain candy. Once your engine is purring, you will be ready for reading that takes more effort. Include some challenges on your list: literary novels, classics, poetry, short stories, and nonfiction. You can do it.

Incorporate professional development. Add a book or two that will sharpen your skills or make you think differently at work.

But not too much. If you limit your reading to professional development, you will miss the benefits of other genres. You may also start to resent “having” to read, and stop reading altogether…which is just sad.

Include diverse voices. Do all the authors on your list look a lot like you? Revise to pull in perspectives from other cultures, regions, ethnicities, and genders.

Be flexible. Stick to your list, or branch out. Just keep reading!

There is no shame in abandoning a book. I use a loose version of the 50-page rule: if a book doesn’t draw me in after 50 pages, I move on without shame. There are too many books in the world—too many masterpieces—to worry about this.

Give Goodreads a try. This is a pro-tip for folks who really love to read. Use it to track books, make lists, find reviews, see what your friends are reading, and follow your favorite authors. Best of all? It’s a low-noise social media that adds value without becoming a time-suck. 





*With the exception of "religious studies nerd alert," I did not write the summaries above. They come from Goodreads/Amazon and book jackets.



    I rated all of these 5 of 5 stars in recent years.  BTW, you should follow me on Goodreads!

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Fiction

    1. The Power, Naomi Alderman
    2. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
    3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler
    4. Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson 
    5. The Nix, Nathan Hill
    6. Circe, Madeline Miller
    7. 1984, George Orwell 
    8. Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
    9. Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
    10. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Nonfiction

    1. What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia, Elizabeth Catte
    2. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    3. The Liberal Redneck Manifesto, Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester, and Drew Morgan
    4. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory, Caitlin Doughty
    5. On LivingKerry Egan
    6. Betterness: Economics for Humans, Umair Haque 
    7. Why We Can't Wait, Martin Luther King, Jr.
    8. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
    9. The March Trilogy, John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
    10. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Carlo Rovelli




    * All lists are alphabetical, by author.