Book Lists

Summer Reads

Summer! For a bit there it felt like the weather would never turn warm again.

Summer is time for packing bags full of books and heading to the beach. I love buying books throughout the year and mentally adding them to my summer TBR list. As a college student, I’m pretty much always reading something, but during the summer I get to pick what that something is. This year my list is theme-less (one summer I pretty exclusively stuck to vampire books) as I’m trying to expand my lens a bit and find new authors and niches that interest me.

I’m certainly looking forward to sitting outside and curling up with a good book. This might be a bit controversial, but I love to listen to music while reading. I know it’s impossible for some, but lately I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s Folklore and Florence + The Machine’s High as Hope on repeat. Summer also means abundant ABBA listening (who doesn’t love ABBA?) and, yes, also listening to the Mamma Mia versions of songs—looking at you, Cher version of Fernando“. Although, I have to admit that my reading tastes do not really fit the vibe of ABBA, so they’re mostly driving-with-the-windows-down songs, not reading-in-the-backyard songs. I stick to things like Folklore and High as Hope for that.

Happy summer! Don’t forget to pick up a good book and enjoy the sunshine.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Set in 2002, the novel follows sixteen year old Shirin as she starts off at a new school. Shirin is so used to the blatant prejudice and Islamophobia she faces from others that she closes herself off to anyone new. From the beginning, it seems to Shirin that this school year is going to be as bad as all of the others. Then, she meets Ocean James, a boy in Biology class who is incredibly kind and seemingly genuine. While Shirin grows to enjoy spending time with Ocean, she must also contend with the walls she’s put up to protect herself. Is it safe to let someone new in?

Okay, I actually already read this one. It was my first pick of the summer which means I picked it up this week and fininshed it within 24 hours. I definitely recommend it!

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Crier’s War is the story of an epic fantasy romance between a human woman Ayla and a Made woman named Crier. Ayla is hungry for revenge over the death of her family. She’s vowed to murder princess Crier. But as Ayla rises the servant ranks and seemingly inches closer to reaching her goal, Crier is learning that the legacy she was made to uphold is not as it seems. Ayla and Crier meet, and everything changes.

I’m always searching for my next fantasy read! Women-centic fantasy, especially, holds a special place in my heart.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Stevens, the long time butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a six day journey through the English countryside that brings reflection on the past of self and country. I am enthralled with Ishiguro’s command of language. This semester turn me into a passionate Never Let Me Go fan and I’m excited to explore more of his work.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Thirteen year old Briony Tallis saw something she was never meant to see. Or, at least, she thinks she knows what she saw: her older sister, Cecilia, and the servant son, Robbie, caught in a flirtatious interaction. When a crime is committed, Cecilia’s imagination and child perspective lead to an accusation that changes the course of everyone’s lives forever. Atonement traces the lives of Cecilia, Briony, and Robbie through years of love, loss, and guilt amidst World War II.

Normally I’m a read-first-watch-second sort of person, but when it comes to Joe Wright directed adaptations I seem to go the other way around. Atonement is, visually, one of my favorite films and I’m excited to read how the story unfolds on the page.

Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

While on vacation, Sasha is stalked by a strange man who asks her to complete a peculiar task. As a reward, he gives her a gold coin. Sasha completes more tasks and receives more coins, and the man offered to take her to learn at the Institute of Special Technologies. Sasha defies her mother to head to an unknown place and begin her education.

Vita Nostra is a best-selling novel translated from Russian. I’m pairing this with my never-ending slow read of Anna Kareneina for the summer because I’ve found that the world of translated texts is something I’ve not exposed myself much to.

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

Iraya has spent her entire life exiled and in a cell. Jazmyne has spent her life dressed in gold and being a threat to her mother’s rule as doyenne. Iraya and Jazmynee, two witches sworn as enemies, find themselves in a tense alliance to take down Doyenne Cariot.

I love stories about magic and witches. This YA read caught my attention from the shelves and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

My final predetermined pick is a YA debut that caught my eye right after release. If 15-year-old Deka’s blood bleeds red, she will be pure. If it bleeds gold, her whole life will crumble. After being deemed impure, Deka must make a choice: stay and possibly die in her village, or leave to fight in an army full of girls that are just like her.


As always, I have a tendency to diverge from predetermined lists. The urge to wander into a bookstore, pick something up, and immediately start reading it is incredibly strong. I cannot resist the pull of a place with books. So, check out my Goodreads and StoryGraph accounts to find out what I’m reading day-to-day! And keep up with everything bookish on my Instagram.

2 thoughts on “Summer Reads”

  1. That is some reading list Julia! Glad you’ll be able to unwind from school with some choice reading. Looking forward to your Goodreads reviews ❤️📚

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  2. I haven’t read most of these books but some sound so interesting, I really hope you can get to and enjoy all of them 😊
    But I did read The Gilded Ones and oh, damn, it’s absolutely amazing, one of the most remarkable books I’ve read in 2021 so far! Even though I read it February, I still often find myself thinking back to it and the concepts, (and about the sequel that I’m super eager to read). I’m interested in Witches Steeped in Gold as well because it’s giving me very similar vibes and I hope to get to it soon!

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