Summer Reading

Whether you enjoy novels or novellas, fiction or nonfiction, our Summer Reading Collection has you covered. This selection features buzzworthy picks from seasoned editors, so sit back, relax, and soak in some reading fun with a hot Collection that includes Emily Henry, Elin Hilderbrand, and Elizabeth Gilbert.

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Food, Relationships, Politics / Government, Love / Sexuality, American Literature

Publication year 1929Genre Novel, FictionTags The Lost Generation, Modernism, American Literature

A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway and published in 1929, is the story of Frederic Henry, an officer with the Italian army in World War I, and his relationship with Catherine Barkley, a British nurse. Some have noted the similarities between the main character and Hemingway, who also served in the Italian army as an ambulance driver in 1918, and his nurse, Agnes Von Kurowsky, who cared for Hemingway after he was wounded.The... Read A Farewell to Arms Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction, Disability, History: European

All the Light We Cannot See is a historical novel by Anthony Doerr, published by Scribner in 2014. The novel alternates between the lives of its two central characters—Marie-Laure Leblanc, a girl who grows up in Paris and loses her eyesight to cataracts at age six; and Werner Pfennig, a boy from a mining town in Germany who joins the Nazi military to escape working in the mines. As the novel opens, Marie-Laure and Werner... Read All the Light We Cannot See Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Literature, Relationships: FamilyTags Romance

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, Fiction

City of Girls is the third novel by author Elizabeth Gilbert, published in 2019. Gilbert is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels include Stern Men (2000) and The Signature of All Things (2013). A noted writer of nonfiction, she has also written a biography entitled The Last American Man (2002), as well as several memoirs including Eat Pray Love (2006), Committed (2010), and Big Magic (2015). Eat Pray Love became a worldwide bestseller... Read City of Girls Summary


Publication year 2017Genre Novel, Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is a 2017 comic novel about human connection. The title character, Eleanor Oliphant, narrates the story, introducing herself as an office worker with a solitary life in present-day Glasgow, Scotland. Eleanor spends her free time doing crosswords, listening to the radio, drinking vodka, and reading classic literature. She does not socialize with anyone, and her only family is a spiteful mother who calls from prison once a week. One night... Read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: CommunityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Grief / Death, Race / Racism, American Literature

Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: BeautyTags Romance, Realistic Fiction, Relationships

Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags American Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Geek Love is a 1989 novel by Katherine Dunn. The novel is structured as a memoir written by Olympia “Oly” Binewski, an albino hunchback dwarf, as she chronicles the bizarre story of her family of carnival freaks. Her parents, Aloysius “Al” and Lillian “Lil, Lily, or Crystal Lil” Binewski, had sought to prop up their faltering traveling carnival by breeding their own children into freaks through the prenatal use of illicit drugs, poison, and radiation. The eldest living child, Arturo, nicknamed... Read Geek Love Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a psychological thriller: a tale of a marriage gone cold and a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get revenge. Echoing the domestic noir genre, Flynn takes that genre one step further by incorporating several plot twists that subvert the reader’s expectations. Chief among the subverted expectations is the reader’s ability to trust the narrator. The novel consists of alternating chapters: one told by husband, Nick, and the... Read Gone Girl Summary


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Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: War, Relationships: Siblings, Natural World: Place, Identity: Race, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, WWII / World War II, Military / War, Grief / Death, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: Asian, History: U.S., Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Realistic Fiction, Mythology, Immigration / Refugee, Social Justice, Politics / Government, Relationships, American Literature, Latin American Literature

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FamilyTags Romance, Travel Literature, Realistic Fiction, Grief / Death

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Relationships, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Grief / Death, Parenting, American Literature

Publication year 2000Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionTags Creative Nonfiction

David Sedaris’s Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of twenty-seven essays exploring the author’s childhood in North Carolina, his relationship with his family, his time living in France, and observations about American social life. The book is comprised of two sections, Part One and Part Deux in which the latter half focuses primarily on Sedaris’s time in Normandy, France. Told with sardonic humor, each chapter deploys various levels of fantasy, irony, and other... Read Me Talk Pretty One Day Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionTags Italian Literature

My Brilliant Friend is the first book in Italian writer Elena Ferrante’s world-acclaimed quartet of Neapolitan novels, which documents the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo. It was originally published in 2011. Narrated in first person from Elena’s perspective, the novel opens with a present-day Prologue, in which Lila stages the ultimate disappearance. She not only vanishes in body but takes her possessions and cuts out her face from photographs, so as “to eliminate... Read My Brilliant Friend Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Western

In No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell investigates a sudden spate of murders in his typically quiet corner of the Texas borderlands. Llewelyn Moss, a Vietnam vet and hunter, gets caught up in the aftermath of a drug-deal gone wrong, and soon both Sheriff Bell and a mysterious hit-man race to be the first to track Moss down: one with the intention of saving his life and the other... Read No Country for Old Men Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Immigration, Relationships: MothersTags Historical Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, Gender / Feminism, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, American Literature

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: Family

Published in 2008, Olive Kitteridge is an unconventional novel by Elizabeth Strout that interlinks 13 tales about the people of Crosby, Maine. The novel is a collection of short stories tied together by the unifying element of titular character Olive Kitteridge. The novel won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and HBO created a mini-series of the book in 2014. Because of its construction, Strout’s novel is less about its plot than it is about... Read Olive Kitteridge Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Romance, Magical Realism, Travel Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Western, Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Gender / Feminism, Love / Sexuality, American Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Romance, Humor, Gender / Feminism, Relationships, American Literature

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Life/Time: Birth, Relationships: Mothers, Natural World: ClimateTags Gender / Feminism, Natural Disaster, African American Literature, Climate Change

Salvage the Bones tells the story of the Batiste family in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, in the twelve days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Claude Batiste’s wife, mother of Randall, Skeetah (Jason), Esch and Junior, died a few years ago, right after Junior was born. The kids still live with their father, in an area called the Pit. They are a poor, black family, who mainly survive on what Claude can make by salvaging and then... Read Salvage the Bones Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Food, History: European, Arts / Culture

Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Action / Adventure, Latin American Literature

The Alchemist, first published in 1988, is a novel by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho and translated by Alan R. Clarke. It tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusia who dreams of a treasure buried beside the pyramids in Egypt. Heavy with allegory and including many fantastical and magical elements, the novel delivers a strong message of powerful life lessons and encourages the characters (and the reader) to fulfill their own Personal Legend.The novel... Read The Alchemist Summary


Publication year 1899Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Music, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Gender / Feminism, Classic Fiction, American Literature, Depression / Suicide, Naturalism

The Awakening is Kate Chopin’s second novel. It was first published in 1899 and is considered one of the first examples of feminist fiction.The novel opens in the 1890s Louisiana, at Grand Isle, a summer holiday resort popular among wealthy Creoles who live in nearby New Orleans. Edna Pontellier, her husband, Léonce, and their two children are vacationing at the cottages of Madame Lebrun. Léonce is a kind and devoted husband, but he is often... Read The Awakening Summary


Publication year 2000Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Relationships: MarriageTags Historical Fiction, Romance, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Historical Fiction

The Giver of Stars (2019) by JoJo Moyes is a work of women’s fiction that can also be categorized as historical fiction. Not long after its publication, The Giver of Stars became embroiled in controversy when another author, Kim Michele Richardson, noted similarities between her book about the WPA Pack Horse Librarians, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and Moyes’s novel. Moyes is the bestselling author of Me Before You, and The Giver of Stars... Read The Giver of Stars Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Psychological Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Class, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 2010Genre Biography, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Health / Medicine

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is a non-fiction book that tells the story of Lacks and her HeLa cells, or the immortal cell line that doctors retrieved from her cervical cancer cells. Crown Publishing Group published the book in 2010, and it won a National Academies Communication Award the following year. This guide refers to the Crown 2010 first edition. Henrietta Lacks was a black American woman who died of cancer... Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Relationships, Grief / Death, Love / Sexuality, Modernism, American Literature

Publication year 1943Genre Novella, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Children's Literature, Classic Fiction, French Literature

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry drew heavily on his own experiences when writing his 1943 novella, The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince). Like the story's first-person narrator, Saint-Exupéry was a pilot, and the inspiration for the book's central events came from his own 1935 crash-landing in the Sahara Desert. As the story begins, the narrator is still a young child showing off his drawings of boa constrictors eating elephants to the adults around him. The adults react... Read The Little Prince Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Justice & InjusticeTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Publication year 1915Genre Novella, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Classic Fiction

First published in 1915, Franz Kafka’s surrealist novella The Metamorphosis, translated from Die Verwandlung, is widely acclaimed and one of the author’s best-known works. Kafka, a Jewish novelist and short-story writer, is regarded for his exploration of the fantastic. Kafka employs realism to depict his protagonists in bizarre circumstances. In The Metamorphosis, Kafka incorporates themes of alienation and absurdity to convey narratives about isolated and anxious protagonists. The time period in which The Metamorphosis transpires is... Read The Metamorphosis Summary


Publication year -1Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Classic Fiction, Narrative / Epic Poem, Mythology, Ancient Greece

The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer, though “Homer” is now generally believed to refer more to an epic tradition than to a specific or single person. Scholars debate when and how the poem was composed. It seems to have come into existence contemporaneously or shortly after the adaptation of the ancient Greek alphabet, which places it in the late 8th century BC. It was most likely composed orally, and even... Read The Odyssey Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Satire, Race / Racism

Publication year 2010Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Race / Racism, Sociology

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates (2010) is a narrative nonfiction story that chronicles the lives of two young black men who share the same name: Wes Moore. The author was inspired to write this story because of this fact and their similar start in Baltimore, Maryland. While one Wes Moore was sentenced to life in prison, the writer Wes Moore became a Rhodes Scholar and a best-selling author. Moore’s purpose in writing... Read The Other Wes Moore Summary


Publication year 1890Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Classic Fiction, British Literature, Victorian Period, Irish Literature, Arts / Culture

The Picture of Dorian Gray chronicles the life of Dorian Gray, a fictional 19th-century British aristocrat. When the narrative opens, a somewhat successful painter named Basil Hallward is painting Dorian’s portrait. A frivolously provocative aristocrat named Lord Henry Wotton—a friend of Hallward’s—sees Dorian’s almost supernatural beauty in the painting as an example of his devotion to upholding formalized artistic beauty above all else. Later, Dorian, too, begins thinking of beauty in these terms, and when... Read The Picture of Dorian Gray Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Literature, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Arts / Culture, Psychology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Philosophy, American Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: ColonialismTags Drama / Tragedy, Historical Fiction, History: African , Social Justice, Race / Racism, African Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Relationships: MarriageTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: Friendship

The Round House is a harrowing work of fiction evolving around the rape and near murder of Geraldine Coutts, a Native American woman on a North Dakota reservation. The events are told by Joe, Geraldine’s thirteen-year-old son. In the narrative, Joe and his father, Bazil, must piece together a series of flimsy clues to try to make sense of Geraldine’s attack. The story is fast-paced, and the riveting chapters are interspersed with the daily lives... Read The Round House Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Mental Illness, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Relationships, British Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: LoveTags Romance, Humor, Love / Sexuality, Relationships

Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Fantasy, Action / Adventure, Mythology, Ancient Greece, Relationships, Arts / Culture, Military / War, American Literature

The Titan’s Curse (2007) is the third installment in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which centers around the adventures of Percy Jackson, a boy who is the son of the Greek god of the sea Poseidon and a mortal woman named Sally Jackson. Percy learns that he is a demigod—meaning that he is half-human and half-god—and joins with other children of the Greek gods at Camp Half-Blood. There, they complete quests and... Read The Titan's Curse Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Sports, Social Justice, Relationships

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Grief / Death

Publication year 1883Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Classic Fiction, British Literature, Children's Literature

Treasure Island is an adventure novel for young adults written by Robert Louis Stevenson, which was serialized in 1881 and 1882 and published in 1883. It is frequently dramatized in plays, television, and film, and has had an enormous influence on popular culture, particularly on public perceptions of pirate and sea-faring life. It is considered a coming-of-age tale and belongs to a genre of sea novels popular in the 19th century.Plot SummaryTreasure Island is told... Read Treasure Island Summary


Publication year 1854Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Transcendentalism, American Literature

Walden opens with Thoreau’s explanation of his two-year independent living project on Walden Pond, which spanned from 1845 to 1847. He illuminates his desire to live a solitary, simple life outside of civilization. Over the course of these two years, Thoreau describes his experiences including his immersion in nature, the process of growing his own food, and the pleasure he derives from contemplating the beauty of the woods. He also reflects on the most basic elements... Read Walden Summary


Publication year 2000Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Future, Values/Ideas: FateTags British Literature, Humor

White Teeth is an award-winning novel by Zadie Smith, published in 2000. The novel, which was developed into a four-part miniseries for British audiences in 2002, follows two men from different backgrounds who meet and become friends during World War II.Plot SummaryWhite Teeth opens on New Year’s Day, 1975, with the attempted suicide of a middle-aged Englishman named Archie Jones. Following his failed marriage, and in despairing of his generally mundane existence, Archie flipped a... Read White Teeth Summary


Publication year 1974Genre Book, NonfictionTags Philosophy, Action / Adventure, Modern Classic Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was published in 1974. Told through the frame of a long motorcycle trip across America, the book explores life and how to best live it. The world of ideas takes center stage, providing both the conflict and resolution for living such a balanced approach to life. Perspectives from Eastern and Western philosophy and religion are referenced, highlighted, and explored, and through this exploration, the narrator addresses the pivotal... Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Summary