Everything good, everything magical, happens between the months of June and August.Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty
Summertime. The livin’ is easy, breezy, and beautiful. In my opinion, this is the most wonderful time of the year.
There are so many ways to soak up the sun, some of which we’ve already explored (see: Road Trips & Strawberry Recipes). However, my ultimate summer pastime is kicking back with a scintillating beach read.
Whether you’re poolside or airplane bound to your fave vacay spot, this is your summer reading list with the must-reads for a summer full of delicious eats, endless drinks, sunny work lunches, and playing so hard you forget what work even is!
Read Your Heart Out
Sure you can spend the summer perusing my recipes tab to impress your friends at your next picnic in the park (hint: my cheese boards will win you allllll the brownie points), but why not take a page out of a true expert’s book?
These are my favorite “cookbooks” for summertime feasts your friends and family will never forget. And best of all, they read like novels!
- A History of Food in 100 Recipes by William Sitwell: Travel through culinary time from loaves of ancient Egyptian bread to your favorite cooking show! For the history-buff foodie.
- Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton: Go behind the scenes of a top NYC restaurant with this replica of its original kitchen recipe binders. For the amateur foodie dreaming of playing in the big leagues.
- Mallmann on Fire by Francis Mallmann: Learn the art of global fire cooking from one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite chefs and the man who inspired the Netflix hit, Chef’s Table. For the travel-hungry foodie!
- Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou: Literary icon Angelou brings readers down her delicious memory lane, from the maple cake her mother made to uplift her when she was expelled from school to an onion tart that was the high point of a dreary London dinner party. For foodie-fans of a good memoir!
- Appetites by Anthony Bourdain: This late, great celebrity-chef and world traveler took decades of professional experience and distilled it down to the dishes he believed we all ought to know how to cook. For the foodie wanting to entertain like the “Bad Boy of Cooking.”
No summer afternoon is complete without a bout of day-drinking! Whether you’re sipping on a boozy batch of my favorite summertime inspired mojitos or pouring up pitchers of my virgin lemonade & iced tea selections, get those ice trays filled for a season of thirst-quenching recipes from my favorite mock & cocktail books!
- The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart: Dig up the garden of ingredients behind your favorite cocktail with this complete guide to the art of growing your own liquor cabinet! For the green-thumbed mixologist.
- Mocktails by Caroline Hwang: Your new favorite coffee table book is filled to the brim with colorful, inventive photo-recipes for a dizzying array of mocktails to shake up your summer with! For the zero proofer.
- A Hedonist in the Cellar by Jay Mclnerney: This five-year journey through the vineyards and wine cellars of the world is part adventure-memoir, part oenophilic education. For the wine-enthusiast.
- Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris: Cool down with 100 energizing plant-based smoothie recipes! For the health-nut.
- A Woman’s Place is in the Brewhouse by Tara Nurin: Set the story straight with this history of female brewers in cultures both current and ancient around the world. For the beer-loving babes!
- The Aviary Cocktail Books by Grant Achatz and The Alinea Group: The most spectacular cocktail coffee book, this gorgeous pictorial of libations and their incredibly unique recipes is as fascinating and vibrant as the drink you will produce. Chicago chef, Grant Achatz, is one-of-a-kind, and so this is this gem of a book. For the chic cocktail connoisseur.
Now that the weather’s warmed up, try taking your lunch break outdoors with a good book. Soak up some vitamin D and valuable knowledge from some of my favorite books about the art of work/life balance, health and personal growth!
- The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk: Gain new insights into alternative healing with this deep dive into the kinds of inner-work many of us disregard in our daily lives. For the survivor.
- How to be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer: They read all the self-help books so you don’t have to; you’ll get the skinny on what advice actually works and what’s just popular nonsense. For the self-starter.
- The Genius Life by Max Lugavere: A nuanced investigation of how to be healthy in a world full of anxiety, disease, and cognitive stressors. (Check out his podcast of the same name also. For the holistic fitness fanatic.
- The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey: Reveal the secrets of success by mastering your mind. For the ambitious.
- The Breathing Book by Donna Farhi: This beginners’ guide to breathwork is accessible, simple, and will dramatically change the way you move through life. For all.
For me, nothing beats a day of fun in the sun with family, friends, tunes, a cold drink in one hand and a novel in the other! Whether you’re looking for a crackling comedy, a moody mystery, or insightful piece of nonfiction, these are my tried and tested beach reads every bookworm should have on their summer reading list.
- Maribelle’s Shadow by Susannah Marren: 3 daughters + 1 mother – 1 dead husband = a story of ambition, family secrets, and betrayal set in the vivid world of Palm Beach’s elite. For Murder Mystery fans.
- Bullet Bungalow by Sheryll O’Brien. The first in a three-part series that will have you falling in love, or suspicion as the case may be, with all her characters at once. Chapter One literally begins in the lulls of summertime, “My name is Kitt Mahoney, and at this very moment I am doing the two best things in the world, my world anyway. I am watching my daughters enjoy the last rays and days of summer, and I am taking in the sights and sounds of my ocean – the one at Laurel Falls.” For relationship lovers and true crime fans.
- Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum: A debut novel full of light-hearted, scintillating tellings of the upper crust east coast summer residents of Fire Island. Fall privy to their delicious secrets and not-so-secrets as you sip on sweet umbrella drinks poolside. For the summer beach reader.
- May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes: A 21st century bachelor winds up a father to his brother’s teenagers after a sudden act of violence that upends the entire family. For Dark Comedy fans.
- Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés: A classic examination of the spiritual, historical, scientific, and mythological nature of the divine feminine spanning several centuries and cultures. For Nonfiction fans.
- Drowning by T.J. Newman: When a plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean and sinks to the depths with 12 passengers still trapped inside, an elite rescue team led by the soon to be ex-wife and mother of 2 of the survivors races against time to save the remaining souls whose fates teeter on the edge of an undersea cliff. For fans of the Thriller.
Enhance your summertime sadness, joy, mystique and magic by picking up a book that reflects the vibe of your season or catapults you into a world completely different from your own!
This summer reading list is sure to be full of all the eating, drinking, working, and playing you can handle. So, go in with eyes wide open and a reading list that’s sure to spice things up all summer long.