What Should I Read Next? Summer Reading Guide Round-Up

Summer is my favorite reading season. I love poring over summer reading guides, walking through the cool, air-conditioned stacks in the library, reading to pass the time at swim lessons, or just holing up in my favorite chair when it’s too hot to do anything else in the Iowa heat.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of summer reading for kids, but researchers have cited many benefits for grown-up brains, too! Reading can help us to de-stress and keep our brains sharp. (Hello, ‘mommy brain’!) As much as we’ve become a swipe, click, and scroll culture, there’s no substitute for diving into a book and reading the whole thing.

Whether you have a week at the lake or 15 minutes before bed, you have time to read! Here are some of my favorite ways to find good summer reads.

What Should I Read Next? Summer Reading Guide Round-Up

My favorite Summer Reading Guides (with categories!)

Anne Bogel’s Modern Miss Darcy Summer Reading Guide is great because Anne curates the list by reading tons and tons of books cover to cover and narrowing her picks to a Top 25. Categories include themes like, “Easy Reading Novels with Serious Substance” and “Heroines you Can Root For.”

If 25 books is unrealistic for your summer plans, she has a “minimalist guide” with her Top Five. Totally doable!

The New York Times summer reading list includes a hefty 73 titles in categories including cooking, travel, true crime, and romance. There will literally be something for everyone here, and it’s a great list for pushing your reading envelope.

If the thought of wading through 73 books (even in categories) has you thinking, “Nope!” check out Janet Maslin’s 17 Refreshing Books to Read this Summer instead. (I can’t wait to read There There, Social Creature, and Dopesick based on her recommendations in this guide!)

Women-Run Media Sites

The Daily Skimm is one of the first emails I open in the morning—a quick rundown of the news that happened while we slept—but they also have really fun guides, including their latest Summer Weekend Reads. I discovered some of my favorite reads last summer thanks to this guide!

Bustle Media has so many fun summer guides with all sorts of themes! They have one for beach novels, what to read if you’re also a reality tv junkie, and short reads, among others.

The Girly Book Club is a brilliant idea: Readers all over the world read the same book at the same time and meet up to discuss. Iowa City doesn’t have a local chapter (yet…If you want to start one, they can tell you more!), but they have a virtual option that allows you to participate in a webcast with the author! Check out their book selections and sign up to join the Virtual GBC.

Celebrity Crushes

Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine is all about empowering women, and her Book Club has the same goal. She also has great taste in books! She picks a new book each month and focuses on finding a diverse range of voices and experiences. Follow her on Instagram to see her pick for June!

Sarah Jessica Parker (who else is obsessed with her?!) is the Honorary Chair of the American Library Association’s Book Club Central. Book Club Central has reading lists, reviews, and book club resources. My favorite part? Sarah Jessica Parker picks a new book each month! Check out their Summer Reading Challenge and see all of SJP’s picks and a chance to win some swag.

Legit Literary Resources

Prairie Lights is my favorite bookstore in Iowa City, and their staff picks often push me out of my reading comfort zone. They also have free readings year-round with world-class authors, a fabulous coffee shop, and featured new releases at a discounted price.

Kirkus Reviews has been in the book review business since 1933. Their 10 Best Novels for Summer Reading includes a great variety, from beach romance to murder mystery. I also love their regular editors’ picks, with their “buy it or borrow it” recommendations.

Iowa City Public Library (of course!)

The Iowa City Public Library has so many great resources for summer reading (obvi), including an adult option for the Summer Reading Program, Staff Picks, and Lists. I love Kara’s Summer Reads list, but all the lists are really fun to browse. I love fellow ICMB writer and librarian Anne’s Books About Hippies. You can find staff who match your reading taste and then ask them for more recommendations in person the next time you’re at the library.

ICPL is also your go-to for digital reading. My favorites are free access to The New York Times, hundreds of popular magazines to download via RBDigital and read on your next trip, and of course their extensive digital library with Overdrive. Never pay for a hard copy magazine again!

What are you reading this summer? Tell us in the comments or join ICMB Connect and find other moms to talk about books!


Sherri is a transplant from Oregon who came to be a Hawkeye in 2006 and stayed for the sweet corn...and for the Iowa boy she met along the way! She and her husband (Kyle) have a 9 year-old daughter, Aissa. Sherri earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The University of Iowa and works for Ruffalo Noel Levitz as an Enrollment Marketing Consultant for colleges and universities. When she's not working, you can find her with her family, enjoying Iowa City and cheering on the Hawkeyes.


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