How to Build an Awesome Summer Reading List

Woman relaxes in a hammock reading a book from her summer reading list
Ahmet Misirlingul/Shutterstock

A book, a beach chair, and a beautiful day. Is there any better place to read than outside in the sun? But what to read? Let’s look at putting together a great summer reading list.

I read, a lot; I read almost 90 books last year, so I’ve gotten pretty good at always having something ready to go next, but it can be a struggle. You get so invested in the book or series that you’re reading that you really don’t think about what you’re going to do with your evenings when you turn that final page. Here’s how I like to find books to read.

Look for New Releases by Authors You Love

Writing a book can take a long time (just ask George R.R. Martin), and the publishing process is far from speedy. It often takes three or four years for an author to write and release a new book after their last one was published. It’s normal for that book you were obsessing over in 2015 to have slipped your mind.

But, while you’ve gone about your life, that author has been typing away at their keyboard. The editors have done their editing, and the printers their printing. There might just be a new book on the shelves this summer.

ggk author page
It takes Guy Gavriel Kay a few years to put together a new book.

If there’s a book or author you loved from a few years ago, hop on Google and see if they’ve released anything new recently. You might be surprised by what escaped your notice if you don’t follow book news. I know people who were shocked to find one of their favorite authors had released an entire trilogy that they’d missed.

If you’re struggling to think of an author to search for, look through your bookshelves (or your Kindle) for inspiration. I’m sure something will jump out at you.

Revisit an Old Favorite

And while we’re talking about looking through bookshelves, another great way to find a book to read is to revisit one you loved before. Even if you remember every plot beat, lots of books reward rereading. The second time through you pick up on all the subtle foreshadowing, hints, and clues that are impossible to spot when you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Rereading books is one of my greatest pleasures. Some characters are like old friends at this stage. When I’m feeling down or homesick or lonely, I often grab a Terry Pratchett novel and immerse myself in that for a few days. Problem solved!

book read twice
I’ve actually read Guards! Guards! At least four times…

If you can’t be bothered going to the effort of learning a whole new set of characters (or world, or magic system, or mythology) grabbing a book you’ve read before is the surest bet. Trust me; you’ll almost always love the book even more the second time through.

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