I love to read. I am always in the middle of at least 2 or 3 different books.
My nightstand is always littered with a variety of fiction and non-fiction choices. I’m not married to any one genre or author. I enjoy everything from young adult fiction to lengthy biographies and from mysteries to self-help. I’ll read just about anything but lately I’ve been drawn to the classics and those books with a timeless quality.
There’s just something magical about them…the characters, the adventure, the settings….I love it all! And I believe they make the BEST summer reading. In fact, the other day someone was asking me what was on my summer reading list and it got me to thinking….what would be on my “perfect” summer reading list…so I put together a list of what I think are the top 10 best books for summer reading.
(The rest of this post contains affiliate links to buy books. Not that you have to buy anything at all, libraries are fantastic also!)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
“She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind.” —Frances Hodgson Burnett
I read this book for the first time in 5th grade…and then spent the next several years watching every movie ever made from this novel. I love it. It reminds me of being little…and of mystery…and of summers spent reading on the trampoline…and of course for the desire to own my own little “bit of earth”.
A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.” —Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
I can’t put The Secret Garden on my list and leave off A Little Princess….I love them both equally….when I read A Little Princess I am 12 again…and I remember how to pretend. This book is like magic.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne:
“The earth does not want new continents, but new men.” —Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
I read this book for the first time last summer and LOVED every second of it. Really loved it…For some reason I always thought of it as like a “man’s book” but not so…I found myself wanting to board the Nautilus and roam the seas undetected for awhile myself. (Plus when you finish reading it you can watch the old Kirk Douglass version of the movie on Netflix!)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.” —Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
This is another classic that I thought was only for teenage boys and only have fallen in love with recently. (And not just because of the Muppet movie version of the novel :). ) I thoroughly enjoyed following Jim Hawkins on his adventure and loved how Long John Silver exited the novel! It is a totally fun read. (I only wish that I got to read it this summer while laying on the beach!)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie:
“Some of us, in the words of the divine Greta Garbo, want to be alone.” —Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express
Love this book. I have no idea how many times I’ve read it. It’s just plain entertaining. It’s a classic murder mystery that is an easy read that is perfect for summer.
And Then There Were None
by Agatha Christie:
“It had come about exactly in the way things happened in books.” —Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None
I know….two Agatha Christie books on my summer reading list but I love them both. They make perfect pool side reading. Mystery , intrigue, easy to read, not too involved. I read this book for the first time in high school and about a million times since.
by Daphne Du Maurier:
“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.” —Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca
My grandma tried to talk me into reading this book….and I didn’t want to….and then my book club decided to read it…and I didn’t want to. But then I finally started reading it and couldn’t stop! It wasn’t the book I was expecting…I want to tell you more but I can’t…and I want to talk about the ending but don’t want to spoil the book. Just read it! (And then send me an email so we can talk about it!)
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee:
“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”—Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
I actually should have this book as #1 on my summer reading list. This is one of my all time favorite books and a book that just feels like summer to me. I love love love this book. It will always be on any top 10 list of mine.
by Charlotte Bronte:
“Reader, I married him.” —Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
This novel isn’t typical of books that I enjoy reading. At all. But there is something so charming and quietly mysterious about this book that I cant help but love it for a breezy, outdoor, summer read.
by Willa Cather:
“It’s by understanding me, and the boys, and mother, that you have helped me. I except that is the only way one person ever really can help another.”—Willa Cather, O Pioneers
I have no idea why I decided to read this book. None. But I fell in love with it and read the entire book in two sittings. Alexandra may be one of my favorite heroines. The words, the story, the setting and the pace make for excellent August night reading on the porch.
Now, that is my top ten list for summer reading for this summer. Next year I may be on a non-fiction kick and the list will be completely different. But as for me, this year, if I find that quiet minute to read in the backyard while the kids splash in the sprinklers you will find one of the books listed above in my happy little hands.
Oh man, Rebecca is such a great one. A teacher talked me into reading it when I was in high school, and I HATED it. I remember stressing over what to tell the teacher, who was convinced I was going to love it, without offending her. Then I read it again a year or so ago and LOVED it. So fantastic. You’ve got a few on here I haven’t read–I’m adding them to my list!
Rebekah L. says
Rebecca and To Kill a Mockingbird are my all-time favorites. Love this list.
The curriculum I use for homeschooling recommends the Francis Burnett books so I cannot wait to reread these since I haven’t read them for a long time. I have been enjoying many youth books that I never had a chance to read as a child. The Princess and the Goblin, The Back of the North Wind, The Children of the New Forest and on and on. Many of these are available for free online. But, you have inspired me go try Rebecca. I love reading and lately waste too much of my free time reading blogs (about sewing, cooking, homeschooling, my faith, gardening, sand there are many more:) ).
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and Fire of the Covenant: The Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies by Gerald N. Lund are two of my very favorites. Fire of the Covenant may be a little heavy for Summer reading, but I read it every few years around Pioneer Day. And The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is just delightful, Juliet is one of my best imaginary literary friends, I just wish she was real and that we could be friends in real life.
I love books!
I used to teach To Kill A Mockingbird, so I’ve read that one about 12 times-and I love it! I’m going to add some of your suggestions to my list. Thanks!
That is what happened with me and “The Good Earth”…but I haven’t reread it yet…. I think I might this summer…..time changes everything! 🙂
I loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society to! Seriously loved it! -liZ
I always wanted to teach To Kill A Mockingbird but the three years that I got to teach 1 period of English/Reading I had to teach some other books….some of which I didn’t love as much 🙁
So jealous. It is such a great book….and one that just gets better with age.
I love them to…..reading timeless novels is one of my favorite past times…besides sewing of course-liZ
I really enjoy reading young adult novels….and I’ve never read any of the three you mentioned! I need to go and look them up!
These are some of my absolute favorite books! A Little Princess is probably my favorite book. I love Sara Crewe. You said it exactly right. When you read it you are twelve again and you remember how to pretend. I love this book so much that I wrote my AP English Essay about it this year!
Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts says
great list. and I’m just now noticing you switched your blog layout around!
Katie Ann says
Okay, I thought you were cool and all from your sewing… But now you’re AMAZING! Wonderful reading list, you have very good taste! (Especially Jane Eyre!)