Summer Reading Guide Roundup: 5 Lists You Won’t Want to Miss

Ah, books! Reading is always in season, but there is something special about picking up that buzzworthy beach read every summer. With so many new titles released each year, I love to use reading guides as a starting place. I wait with anticipation for Modern Miss Darcy or The New York Times to release their summer picks and then build my hold queue on my library account or treat myself to an hour at Prairie Lights to purchase favorite authors that I know I’ll want to keep on my shelf.

If you’re looking for your next great summer read, check out some of my favorite curated lists to get started.

Summer reading guides

Summer Reading Guide Roundup

Modern Miss Darcy

One of my favorite book resources is Anne Bogel of Modern Miss Darcy. Modern Miss Darcy is a great place for all things books, including her annual Summer Reading Guide. I look forward to this guide every year. Anne reads every book she recommends, curating a wide range of genres and a “minimalist guide” with five must-read titles from the larger list. The last page of the guide is a page with all of the book covers so you can spot your favorites at the bookstore or library.

NYT Book Review

The New York Times Book Review offers 73 book recommendations in the 2021 Summer Reading Guide. The interactive list is arranged by category—from cookbooks and literary fiction and sports to the best new audiobooks. Don’t have a subscription to The Times? No problem! Sign in to your Iowa City Public Library account and gain access for free!

Janssen Bradshaw’s Everyday Reading Summer Guide

For family-friendly picks (and some just for you!), I like Janssen Bradshaw’s Everyday Reading Summer Guide. I’ve already added a few of the family titles to my list (how is my child starting junior high having never read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh?). And, while you’re on her blog, check out her “Ten Favorite Workbooks for Kids (and Adults).”

Chicago’s Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery

My favorite media girl crush Katie Couric just re-shared a Top Five from Summer 2020 list from Chicago’s Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery.  Check out this one if you are frustrated by long hold queues for this summer’s hot new titles. Bonus: Iowa Writer’s Workshop alum Kiley Reid has a title on the list! Such a Fun Age was one of my 2020 Top Ten.

The Popcast with Knox and Jamie

This last one is not technically a “summer reading list” but the hosts of one of my favorite podcasts, The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, post a running list of the books they greenlight each week. They have great taste across genres, so you’re sure to find something you love. I can’t wait to get my hands on Jamie’s latest greenlight Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir!

Now that you have plenty of great recs to start your summer reading, be sure to log your titles to help the Iowa City Public Library celebrate 125 years with 125,000 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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