8 Steps to Building the Perfect Summer Reading List

Happy Memorial Day! While this may not be, technically, the first day of summer, it’s the day we all think of as the REAL beginning to the season of warmth! And with that season comes a renewed desire to read! Get tan, take it easy, and devour your bookshelves!

But how do you decide which books to read this summer? How to narrow down that gigantic list, get something out of it, and not get bogged down in a bunch of bad books? Here are some easy tricks to help you sort out your shelves, add to them, and gain a meaningful experience from the written word!

Step 1: 3 books on your ‘to read’ list

You know those books you’ve been wanting to read for forever? We all have them, and they’re usually really, really long, which is why they are STILL on our lists. I don’t recommend putting all the long ones on your list for the summer. Maybe just one – or two, if you’re feeling adventurous. But you know, I’ll bet some of those on the list aren’t so bad. Maybe you saw a film you loved and have been dying to read the original novel; or maybe a friend recommended a nice, short, easy book that you couldn’t find at the library, but now you can track down; or even better, maybe there’s a collection of poetry you’ve been wanting to read! Go through your list, sort through your memory, or ask your friends, and compile 3 books that you’ve been dying to read!

Step 2: 2 books you read as a child and LOVED

Ah, for those long, idle, quiet summer days, curled up on the porch or a tree limb, devouring American Girl novels, the Anne of Green Gables series, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Little House books. I yearned, at that time, to grow up and understand the world better, but what I wouldn’t give now, sometimes, to be that little girl again! Now you can relive the beautiful days of your childhood – rediscover that innocence and wonder – by reading two books you used to LOVE!

Step 3: 1 book you never finished in college

We all did it. We had a book that was sort of nice, but of course there was too much to do, too much to study, and we never finished it. So take advantage of the summer to pick it up now and find out what you’ve been missing!

Step 4: 1 classic

It can be an old favorite, one you’ve never read before, or maybe one you’ve never even heard of before; but if it’s a classic, you know it’s guaranteed to be a meaningful experience!

Step 5: 1 mystery novel

These are always fun and fly by in a single afternoon! Just try to start a good mystery novel and then put it down – you’ll think of nothing else until you solve that mystery!

Step 6: 1 romance novel

Curl up with a glass of cold lemonade on the veranda; rock away under the apple blossoms in a hammock; stretch out on a towel and listen to the ocean; thus comfortably situated, immerse yourself in hope, beauty, and romance this summer with a deeply satisfying love story.

Step 7: 1 book of poetry

Poetry soothes the soul, arouses the passions, and instills catharsis – anger, death, despair; hope, life, love; youth, age, joy – this summer, glory in the miracle that is the human experience in a collection of poetry!

Step 8: 1 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novel

Put the world away for awhile and journey across time or through the stars. Let your imagination run wild with a Sci-Fi or Fantasy novel!

There you are! You’ve got a complete and diverse list for the summer. 11 books to keep you entertained, broaden your horizons, and take you to new worlds!

To keep track of your list, you can download your own summer reading plan template here:

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