Need an easy beach read or a gripping novel to get you through your morning commute? I have a couple of reading goals on my 101 in 1001 list and decided to put together a summer reading list for myself and anyone else who’s looking for a recommendation. And because I thought it would be fun to open it up to a few perspectives, I asked Design Darling’s lovely summer interns, Mary Claire and Taryn, if they’d share a few of their own summer reads. I’m not always good at setting aside time to read so I’m hoping that having a list of ideas will keep it top of mind for me! From beach reads and business advice to classic works and science fiction, here’s what we’re reading and planning to read this summer:
1. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger — Mary Claire’s recommendation and one of my all-time favorite books. If you loved The Catcher in the Rye (or last summer’s movie Salinger, which is now on Netflix!), you’ll tear through these novellas. Recommended for: bedtime reading.
2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson — I’m excited to read this recommendation from Taryn about a man who escapes his nursing home and gets caught up in a police chase, all the while sharing stories of how he altered the course of history throughout his lifetime. The best-selling novel was turned into an independent film released in Europe but you know what they say: the book is almost always better than the movie. Recommended for: a good laugh on your daily commute.
3. The Vacationers by Emma Straub — Currently no. 23 on the New York Times best seller list, The Vacationers is the story of a slightly dysfunctional New York family on a two-week vacation in Spain. It’s equal parts dramatic, relatable, and romantic — also known as the perfect beach read. Recommended for: er, well, your next vacation.
4. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler — Having read The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, and Tender is the Night within the past year, I cannot wait to read this story about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notorious wife Zelda. Written as though from her perspective, it’s supposed to reveal some of Zelda — and her famous husband’s — inner demons, set to the backdrop of the roaring 20s. Recommended for: your next book club pick.
5. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso — I’m a sucker for stories about start-ups and women entrepreneurs so I picked this up at the Strand before heading to Nantucket for the weekend. The founder of Nasty Gal explains how she went from selling clothes on eBay to doing $100 million in online retail sales. She isn’t afraid to tell it like it is but her book is definitely a kick in the butt if you’re interested in running your own business. Recommended for: fans of By Invitation OnlyI Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, or Lessons of a Lipstick Queen.
6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — Read it before you see the movie! An incredible novel about a young cancer patient and the boy she falls in love with. The book and the movie will remind you what’s really important in life (and probably to call your family and tell them you love them). Recommended if: you need a good cry.
7. Why We Buy by Paco Underhill — Taryn read this for one of her fashion merchandising classes at FIT and loved learning about the “science of shopping.” As a blogger and online retailer, I have a feeling I’d love this research-based read on consumer behavior. Recommended for: fans of Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis (that’s me!).
8. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann — A bestseller in the 1960s and, according to Taryn, “Gossip Girl for adults.” …And just like that, I’m sold. Recommended for: a guilty pleasure.
9. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern — A series of short memoirs recommended by Mary Claire about a 28-year-old guy who moves back in with his 73-year-old father. Funny, disarming, and occasionally poignant, it’s a quick read you could finish in one sitting. Recommended if: you follow the Twitter account or you need a good gift for Dad.
10. Divergent by Veronica Roth — Taryn read all three books in this series in less than two weeks last summer and insisted that I give them a try before renting the movie, which came out in March. Written on the author’s winter break from Northwestern University, the science fiction novel tells the story of Tris Prior and her life in Chicago after the apocalypse. Recommended for: fans of The Hunger Games.
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What’s on your list to read this summer? Have you read and loved (or disliked!) any of these? Let’s hear it!
P.S. Pin the image above for easy reference next time you’re in a bookstore or library!

20 thoughts on “10 BOOKS TO READ THIS SUMMER

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  1. I’ve read a lot of these! Currently mid-The Vacationers. Wasn’t a fan of Z (although I might be the only one… I thought it was contrived and not that well written, but I love Zelda so I have high standards!). Just finished Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead and it was amazing–her book Seating Arrangements was wonderful is now inPB and could be perfect for someone just back from ACK!!

  2. I’ve read a lot of these, and they’re all good picks. I’m over halfway through #GIRLBOSS and loving it. And I recently finished Where’d You Go Bernadette? – hilarious, and touching. Highly recommended.

    Amy xx
    Girl for Granted

  3. I’ve read The Vacationers, #GIRLBOSS and Z. If you liked The Great Gatsby, I think you’ll really like Z. I enjoyed knowing more about Zelda and their life together. The Vacationers is a great beach read. GIRLBOSS is a quick and inspiring read, but wasn’t my favorite. I hadn’t heard of Why We Buy but it’s on my list now!

  4. OMG I read “Why We Buy” in middle school and LOVED it! So interesting. I even based a science fair project on it!

    Also, I loved Divergent and if you’re looking for a very fluffy read, I love loved “The Trials of F. Darcy” which is a modern (and somewhat racey) take on Pride and Predjudice.

  5. I have to admit that while fun, the 100 Year Old Man wasn’t quite as entertaining as I’d hoped, but I loved The Rosie Project for a summer read. I’ve been hearing good things about The Vacationers and have it on my list too, but up next are books by Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park and Attachments) as I’ve heard those are great summer books too! Like these non-fiction ideas as well – I don’t read enough of that.

  6. Valley of the Dolls is an all-time fave. It is so good – you will not be able to put it down! #GIRLBOSS is number one on my must-reads, but the Vacationers is up there, too. Thanks for sharing! xo