4 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List + Share Your Recommendations!

I’m sad to admit that I haven’t been dedicating much time to reading lately. 

But with the summer months ahead and the promise of lazy weekends swimming and lounging outside, I plan on getting back into it.  I’ve compiled a short list of a few recent book purchases that I plan on reading this summer, but I’d love for you to share your recommendations as well!

First on my list is the J.D. Salinger classic Franny and Zooey.  I’ve always wanted to read this, as I love his work, but there’s also a bit of a story behind it that I wanted to share.  

I lost my mom a little over ten years ago.  It’s something I’ve come to terms with, but I still miss her every day and sometimes I think she sends me messages or signs. If I’m going through a particularly rough time, or grappling with a difficult decision, sometimes something will happen that I like to think is a sign from her. I know it sounds strange and it’s a little tough to explain, but here’s one example: I have one of her rings, and it’s probably my most cherished possession. I rarely take it off, but I guess I did at some point and I couldn’t find it for a few weeks. On the tenth anniversary of her passing, I happened to be looking for something in the trunk of my car and something silver and turquoise tucked in a nook on the side of the trunk caught my eye. It was her ring, and I felt like it was her way of telling me she was there with me that day.

Back to the present. I was at Austin’s antique mall a few weeks ago… it’s a massive space, one that you can get lost in for hours digging through fabric bins, vintage home goods, clothing, and so much more.  One booth is full of used books, and it’s a favorite of mine. I love old books (something I’ve written about on this blog before), and I especially love finding one and opening it up to reveal notes in the margin or a name and date on the inside. When I spotted Franny and Zooey I didn’t even open it, I knew it was coming home with me. 

As I was preparing to write this post, I picked up the book and cracked it open. On the inside flap was a paperclip attaching a hand-written note that has been yellowed with time. It reads:

Dear J—- (name not discernible) dear – 

I found this book rad – as much of his stuff has a rad thread through it – 

Will read “Travels with Charley” when I finish – 

I love you,


Now, obviously this is a note written from someone else’s mom… but still.  It tugged at my heart, especially with Mother’s Day having just passed.  I like to believe this book, and the note, found their way to me for a reason, and I’m so glad they did.

summer reads 2

summer reads 4

summer reads 5

Second on my list was a gift from my Dad that I’m excited to read this summer. I love books about music, and Greil Marcus is a noted music critic and journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, Cream, and more. I’m excited to delve into his mind and find out why he thinks the ten chosen songs are so iconic. For someone who also likes to write about music, it’s always fascinating to me to understand how others interpret music and translate it via the written word.

summer reads 6

Another old classic, The Stranger by Albert Camus is one of my all time favorite books. I love revisiting books that I’ve read before, and this one is a pretty quick read but has a ton of depth to it.  If you haven’t read it, I highly, highly recommend it – it really makes you think.  When I spotted this version at Farewell Books I couldn’t resist picking it up, how amazing is the cover?

summer reads 7

Speaking of Farewell Books, the final book on my list was a recommendation from shop owner Mikaylah. When it comes to buying new books, I’m always a little bit stuck and love getting recommendations from people who are much more knowledgeable than I am.  I definitely suggest stopping by your local bookstore and doing the same! Mikaylah recommended a few books, but I’m taking her up on one called Satantango by Laszlo Krasznahorkai first. Described (briefly) as “proof that the devil has more fun,” I’m highly intrigued by this post-apocalyptic style tale.

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

Now it’s your turn! What’s on your reading list this summer?

Follow Julia on Instagram and Twitter.


  1. The mother found the book sad, not rad! And I agree, it is a sad book, as is much of Salinger’s work, but quite wonderful nonetheless.

  2. What a great post!!!! My loves are: Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. And I want to read more Toni Morrison!

  3. A reading post!!! Makes my English degree heart sing. My loves are: Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. And I want to read more Toni Morrison this summer.

  4. I just finished The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion. I really loved this book because it is written through a very unique perspective and tells an adorable and rather unexpected love story.

  5. Lol, the note says ‘sad’ and the catcher in the rye is another sad book as well but really good!! My favorite book of all time is the glass castle. Best book ever, life changing

  6. The Stranger thuds and echoes in my head when I read it. So, so good. This summer, I want to reread Play it as it Lays, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, as well as first time read Beautiful and the Damned by Fitzgerald. Going to add Frank and Zooey to that list as well. I think Beautiful and the Damned is the only Fitzgerald piece I haven’t read yet. Anything by him is a recommendation. :)

  7. Skin Cleanse by A Grigore is perfect for a summer read! So inspiring, you’ll be craving to create fresh and beautiful diy’s for glowing summer skin :)

  8. Love reading recommendations! I think I’m going to add Satantango to my list. Also, I would highly recommend House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski to anyone who wants a reading experience like no other.

  9. Lovely recommendations – I’d go with ‘The Lover’, by Marguerite Duras (I’m reading it now) – a beautifully-written confession of a lady who need not confess anything. Reading it broke my heart.

  10. Love this post and all of the comments. I am making my list and going to the library & bookstore this week to get started, goal is to finish about 3 or 4 of the recommend books (either from post or comments) by the start of my next college semester!

  11. Okay that note gave me chills! So beautiful, and oh great suggestions. I know it blew up in popularity this winter but i seriously suggest the girl on the train, and in that line of books, before i go to sleep is great as well. I read gone girl and loved it, and i want to read the other books by the same author!


  12. I love Franny and Zooey, such a beautiful story about family and love and growing up. It’s great to hear everyone else’s suggestions. I’m planning on reading more modern poetry this summer, taking a break from the school grind.

  13. Another great read to add to your summer is Water for Elephants. I haven’t seen the movie, but I heard it was underwhelming. As for the book, speaking from experience, it was an easy read and a real page turner. It had elements of mystery, energy, and romance. I loved the book, was a really great story and I finished it in less than a week if anyone is pressed for time. Would really recommend!

  14. I recently read ‘The Flamethrowers’ by Rachel Kushner and it was one of the most interesting and beautiful books I have read in a while. Definitely worth picking up!

  15. I finished The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath in just 1 day! It’s a great classic and a must read :)

  16. I know a few great reads to add to your summer reading.. Al thought they are YA they are still definitely worth a good read… Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Crosby … Vanishing Girls By:Lauren Oliver…….The Girl with all the gifts By : M.R Carey.. .. The Mistborn Series By: Brandon Sanderson — this book is for all you High Fantasy book readers out there…

  17. my friend was looking for SC DoR C-245 several days ago and was informed about a website that hosts an online forms database . If others require SC DoR C-245 as well , here’s a http://goo.gl/Si7Qmw

  18. I dⲟn’t know whetҺer it’ѕ јust mе or if everybody else experiencing proƄlems wіth
    your blog. It appears аѕ thouɡh some of the wгitten text оn youг posts aгe running
    off the screen. Can someone еlse pⅼease сomment and let mе know if this is
    happening tߋ them as ѡell? This coulԀ be a problem աith my web browser ƅecause Ӏ’ve had thіs Һappen рreviously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.