Stack of books by water

‘Tis the Season…for Summer Reading

by Mary Lee Ashford

Stack of books by waterI’m guessing that you all, like me, read no matter the season. But that said, there truly is something special about summertime reading.  Maybe it’s the memory of leisurely warm summer days as a kid where there was plenty of time to sit by the pool, picnic in the park, or enjoy an afternoon indoors with the air-conditioning on and book in hand.

Maybe we no longer get a summer break but the beauty of summer reading lies in the endless possibilities. Whether you’re lounging by the lake, embarking on a trip, or simply enjoying a quite weekend at home, it’s still the perfect time to dive into a great book. But how to you choose the book?

As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, we begin to see those lists of “Best Beach Reads.” I’m always curious enough to check them out and there are often some good suggestions to consider.

BookBub offers this great list of recommendations in their Ultimate Guide to 2024’s Best Beach Reads with a wide variety of choices.

Barnes & Noble has their Top Books for Your 2023 Reading List.

Publisher’s Weekly gives us their Top Ten Summer Read for 2024

Those types of lists are a good place to start.

Books with basket and hat

Here are a few additional tips for choosing your perfect summer read:

  1. Consider what type of read you’re in the mood for. Are you after something light and breezy. Or maybe dark and dangerous with a twisty plot. Or perhaps an emotional page-turner?
  2. Think about exploring something new. Summer is the perfect time to step out of your reading comfort zone and try a new genre.
  3. Browse bestseller lists. Maybe this is the time to try that book everyone’s been talking about.
  4. Sample a few pages. A quick read of the first few pages will give you a taste of the storyline and the style.
  5. Check reviews and ask for recommendations.  Librarians and booksellers are great sources as well as friends and family.

Now I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have any recommendations? What book (or books) are you looking forward to diving into this summer?

Book covers for Sugar and Spice MysteriesMary Lee Ashford is the author of the Sugar & Spice mystery series from Oliver Heber books and also half of the Sparkle Abbey writing team. She is a lifelong bibliophile, an avid reader, and public library champion. Prior to publishing Mary Lee won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa as well as a member of Mystery Writers of America and Novelists, Inc. She lives in the Midwest with her family and her feline coworker.



12 replies
  1. Mark
    Mark says:

    Yes, I read year round. But I do still feel the thrill of getting to read during the summer. Am I reading more? Not really. Has my schedule changed? Not especially. But there is still something magical about it.

  2. Debra H. Goldstein
    Debra H. Goldstein says:

    I read all year round — but if I’m at the beach, I want light bios or stories (cozy mysteries). Because I read quickly, I simply take a stack of books that meet this with me (old ones and new ones that are just coming out).

  3. Saralyn
    Saralyn says:

    Thanks for the nostalgia trip to some of my favorite summer reads, Gone with the Wind, among them. Great ideas for how to choose your next read, too. Happy summer reading, everyone!

    • Mary Lee Ashford
      Mary Lee Ashford says:

      Saralyn – My mom and I did weekly trips to the library when I was a kid and I feel like I can mark the summers by some of those favorite summer reads. 🙂

  4. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    While I write books that would qualify as fun beach reads, when I’m actually at the beach, I’d rather simply experience what the beach has to offer: the salty breeze, the gulls, the shorebirds, and strolling the sand along the shore.

  5. Susan P. Baker
    Susan P. Baker says:

    This takes me back to my teenage years (in the ‘60s) when I’d surf the Galveston waves. Lying on my towel on the sand and reading was one of the ways I’d rest up after wearing myself out. Thanks for posting.

    • Mary Lee Ashford
      Mary Lee Ashford says:

      Susan – By the waves sounds wonderful! My teen years were in the 60s too but without a beach close by, my resting was pool side or a backyard blanket. 🙂

  6. Donnell Ann Bell
    Donnell Ann Bell says:

    I read year round or listen to audio books. I just finished James M. Jackson’s Hijacked Legscy, Matt Goldman’s Still Waters, and I’m about to dive into Annette Dashofy’s What Comes Around. Reading needs no season with me.:) Great post, MaryLee!

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