The 2022 Paperback Summer Reading Guide
Last year I put together my first every summer reading guide comprised of backlist titles. I love a big buzzy summer book and I can’t get enough of the amazing summer reading lists put out by all the incredible readers and reviewers out there. But I also hate lugging a hardback book to the beach. I hate feeling like I’m only reading what everyone else is reading (even though, let’s be honest, I love reading the big books everyone else is reading too). So I wanted to put together my own guide that reflects the sort of books I like to fit into my own summer reading—between all those hot new releases.
These are all books that I’ve read and loved. They’re all available in paperback and should be fairly easy to get from your library. Anytime you see a pair of headphones 🎧 next to a title, you know the book is particularly great on audio (maybe you don’t like lugging any books to the beach but don’t leave home without your earbuds).
Sensitive readers note that I haven’t included content warnings here. I recommend search for a title on Storygraph to find out if it’s right for you.
Finally, I hope you’ll be able to track many of these titles down at your library, used bookstore, or local indie, but if you do purchase any of these books online, please consider using the (affiliate) links throughout this newsletter.
Alright readers, I hope you find something new-to-you to add to your growing TBR. Let the summer reading commence!
Infinitely Discussable Reads
The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitus. In this epic and nuanced sliding doors story, Freitus examines nine possible outcomes in the life of a woman wrestling with whether or not to become a mother. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore. Part super hero story, part rich historical fiction, this debut novel about the founding of Liberia will blow you away with its powerful writing and textured plot. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney. This quiet story about sisterhood, faith, family, and betrayal will prompt deep reflection about the roles we play and the people who shape us. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀. You won’t be able to stop thinking about this breathtakingly beautiful and devastating story about fertility, family, and yearning to break cycles of pain. Be sure to check out content warnings if you’re a sensitive reader. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Seasonally Appropriate Tomes
History of the Rain by Niall Williams. Set in Ireland, this story follows Ruthie as she attempts to piece together an understanding of her father through the books he left behind. Funny and poignant, this is a family saga for book lovers. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kaddish. Alternating between a present timeline where two historians dig through a trove of abandoned Hebrew documents and a 17th century story about England’s secret Jewish community, this is a story about passion and the yearning to belong. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Son by Philipp Meyer. Set across centuries in the Texas heat, this brutal but beautiful book follows generations of a family of survivors whose tenacity will both impress and revolt you. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay by Michael Chabon. An epic adventure in friendship and comic books, this is a perfect book to read before you pick up the buzziest book of the summer, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Deliciously Strange Books
The Resisters by Gish Jen. Part astute social commentary, part sports book, this snarky story is distinctly odd while containing all the propulsive tropes of your favorite dystopian page-turners. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses. One Matt Kim thinks he’s invisible. Another Matt Kim appears and shows him the potential he’s failed to realize. When the successful Matt Kim vanishes, invisible Matt Kim must figure out how to stop himself from fully disappearing as well. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowel. Imagine the world and the romances of Jane Austen plus the subtle magic of The Magicians. This series will captivate and transport you. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge. Set in an underground world of culinary confections, this YA fantasy explores a society where facial expressions are available only to those who can afford them—until one young girl changes everything. Amazon | Bookshop
Amnesty by Aravind Adiga. 🎧 Set in a single day, this story follows an illegal Sri Lankan immigrant in Sydney who must decide whether to come forward with what he knows about a deadly crime. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. Set in two different 1920s worlds—the grimy and the glitzy—this is a novel of obsession, jealousy, and passion. The last page will have you turning back to the beginning to start again. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey. 🎧 When her husband leaves her for a genetic clone created using her own technology, Evelyn finds herself sucked into the life of the woman who replaced her in ways she could never have excepted. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
A Room Called Earth by Madeleine Ryan. Put simply, this is a book about a woman who goes to a party and opens herself up to being seen for the first time. Written by a neurodiverse author and told through the eyes of a neurodiverse narrator, this beautiful and charming story explores the gap between what we feel and what we say. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopez. Written in Spanglish, this book follows Francisca as she adjusts to life in Miami, rejects her mother’s evangelical church, and comes to terms with who she is and what she wants. This book captures the essence of teenage jadedness, hopefulness, and longing, without feeling too angsty. Amazon | Bookshop
Mrs. March by Virginia Feito. 🎧 In this twisty domestic suspense novel, the unnamed narrator is certain her husband has committed a murder. As she progresses further into her amateur investigation, her sense of reality and of herself begins to slip. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood. 🎧 This story about two immigrant families manages the perfect balance of political commentary, heartfelt relationships, and irreverent tone. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
The Son of Good Fortune by Lysley Tenorio. A mother-son story that’s as funny as it is tender, this book explores the an undocumented character’s inner conflict between wanting to be known and needing to stay safe. Amazon | Bookshop | Libro.fm
Crooked Hallelujah by Kelly Jo Ford. The stories in this collection follow four generations of Cherokee women, weaving together to form a reflection on culture and what we owe those who came before us. Amazon | Bookshop
Cowboys are My Weakness by Pam Houston. These stories of love, passion, and obsession set in the American west and southwest have just the right blend of pulpy plots and character studies. Amazon | Bookshop
HAPPY SUMMER READING! For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!
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