As I said in Summer Reading Programs for Kids, reading is one of my favorite things. And summer reading is definitely NOT just for kids! I love crafting my summer reading list every year, trying to find books that are fun, engaging, and keep me turning pages late into the night.
My goal here is to present a Summer Reading List for Moms with something for everyone! If you don’t consider yourself a reader, chances are you just haven’t found the right book yet. Maybe one of these is it! If you’re an avid reader, hopefully there’s something new here that you can add to your list!
The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon: Imagine a world much like ours where digital technology has gone a bit off the rails. People have become so dependent on their smartphone like devices (called memes) that technology is taking over their lives. When a word-flu pandemic breaks out and the creator of the last print dictionary disappears, Anana must try to figure out what’s going on and why, outsmart the bad guys, and avoid getting sick (or worse) herself. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller for word geeks! I know, right?! Great pick for fans of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Library.
The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes: Imogen Tate, the editor of a fashion magazine, returns from a leave of absence to find her position has been usurped by a devious, brash, and much younger woman. Imogen’s struggles as a wife and mom are relatable, her floundering with technology is hilarious (and might hit close to home, if you’re anything like me), and her character is one you will root for. Not being much of a fashionista myself (I own 2 purses and one is really a backpack), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. But Imogen’s story of a woman who overcomes the odds drew me in. Great for fans of Liane Moriarty (What Alice Forgot, Big Little Lies).
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich: This is a distinctly southern tale (though you don’t have to be from below the Mason-Dixon to enjoy it) and a bit dark. The Burroughs have owned the land on Bull Mountain for generations. First, they ran moonshine. Then, they turned to marijuana as a cash crop. Presently, meth is their illegal trade of choice. Panowich’s story follows the Burroughs clan, including the traitor-brother Clayton who gave up the family business to become a lawman, and the federal agent determined to take them down. The characters are simultaneously despicable and heroic, the plot will suck you in and have you reading way past bedtime. Fans of Joshilynn Jackson (gods in Alabama, Someone Else’s Love Story) should give this one a shot.
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: This book is the opposite end of the southern-literature spectrum from Bull Mountain. Allen writes magical realism, so you have to be willing to suspend belief to enter into her stories but I promise, it’s worth it. The Waverley sisters of Bascom, North Carolina have a strange and mysterious legacy. Namely, their garden produces ingredients with magical qualities that affect people in strange ways. This is a story of family, forgiveness, and strong southern women. It is feminine and lovely without being sentimental or trite. If The Secret Life of Bees meets The Little White Horse sounds up your alley, pick this up.
Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin: Goodwin is most well-known for her presidential biographies, but I really enjoyed this one, which is a memoir centered around her childhood as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the 1950’s. Perfect for summer because of it’s baseball back-drop, this book is really a beautiful account of family, loyalty, and community. The sentiment of waiting till next year might also strike a chord with Braves fans this summer. If you loved Seabiscuit or The Boys in the Boat, add this one to your list.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt: My last book pick might seem strange, it being a “middle grades novel” and all, but it is anything but juvenile. The Wednesday Wars is set in 1967-68 and follows Holling Hoodhood through his 7th grade year at Camillo Junior High. It’s a brilliantly told coming-of-age story, as Holling is forced to read Shakespeare with his teacher every Wednesday while his classmates are at Hebrew or Catechism school (it’s tough being Presbyterian). It’s poignant and profound, funny and moving. If you ever loved Judy Blume, give Gary Schmidt a try.