Our Top 10 Fave Summer Reading List

July 19, 2022


Let’s set the scene: It’s almost a month into summer and you still haven’t found a great book to read. Maybe you’re looking for a passage so perfect it will transport you from the living room to the luxe vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Maybe that vacation is actually coming up and you need a new read to get lost in as you soak up the sun. 

Whether your preferred reading nook is the patio or the public park, the bedroom or the beach—get ready to dive in, delve deep, and dream on with our Top Ten Summer Reads sourced from the HandsDown community of readers. We hope these real-life recommendations spark your reading journey this season and beyond.

For those looking for a witchy, enchanting escape (and/or a conclusion to the popular Practical Magic saga)

The Book Of Magic: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman
Recommended by Ashley, who says: Alice Hoffman is my favorite author and a wonderful storyteller. If you love fantasy and strong female leads – you will love her.

For when you find yourself struggling with a lack of motivation (don’t worry—we’ve all been there)

I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt, by Madeleine Dore

Recommended by Nicky, who says: the ideas [explored in this book] will be something that I think about for years to come. Year whatever into the pandemic, I’m finding motivation hard to come by. Maybe you too? I love how Madeleine deconstructs the thinking that there is a perfect morning routine out there that will make every day a great day. Deconstructing hustle culture and disentangling productivity from self worth feel like really valuable lessons atm.

For the sentimental foodie looking for a powerful read (and a tug on the ole heartstrings)

Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, by Michelle Zauner

Recommended by Lauren, who says: One of the best books I’ve read all year. I laughed and I cried as I zoomed through this beautifully raw and charming memoir.

For the one seeking a taut thriller with tense mystery (and some mind games to boot)

Northern Spy: A Novel, by Flynn Berry

Recommended by Kelley, who says: I stayed up so late reading this Northern Ireland conflict with a realistic and powerful female protagonist. Harrowing story—so good.

For when you need a reminder to stop and smell the roses (think of it as a Redbull for your mental and emotional health)

The Book of Delights: Essays, By Ross Gay
Recommended by Anne, who says: This book is talked about in my house at least once a day. It also has added this wonderful ritual where we ask each other to share a delight of the day, which I have found delivers such a different answer than “something you’re grateful for” or “one happy thing”. Ross Gay has a wonderful voice so this book is great on audiobook as well as print form.

For philosophically-minded folks looking for something new and different (future-tech and AI enthusiasts, look no further)

Klara and the Sun: A Novel, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Recommended by Katherine, who says: Simply told, sort of sci-fi but also social critique and philosophical. This one I read in a sitting or 2 but it has stayed with me.

For some incredibly relevant social commentary (did you order a side of laughter with that?)

Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus
Recommended by Lisa, who says: The character, her challenges and triumphs spoke to me. I read this book in two days and couldn’t put it down. A reminder of how far we have come and just how far we have to go as professional women.

For the ones seeking some calming and meaningful perspective (aka Xanax in paper form)

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day, by Jay Shetty

Recommended by Paige, who says: There are a few books that I reread every year and now I’m adding this one to my list. It’s insightful and inspiring. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For a series of personal reflections bound to comfort, delight and inspire (and make you feel all the feels)

These Precious Days, by Ann Patchett

Recommended by Emily, who says: Ann Patchett is a queen. Every sentence in this book is pure gold.

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

Recommended by Anne, who says: Just a great story, engaging, heartbreaking and heartwarming.

Also recommended by HandsDown founder, Jenna, who raves: Just read it. Trust me. It’s an adventurous, dream-like novel that makes you think about your life in a way you never have before. Thanks Mom for recommending it!

There you have it! We think this is a great starter list with something for everyone. We hope you find one that immerses and amazes you. If you’re already knee-deep in another book, add it to your own list and let others know what makes it a winner. Enjoy the weather and wherever these books find you. Or better yet—wherever they take you!