How to Plan Your Summer Reading List | S3E79

In this episode, I am sharing how to plan your Summer reading list and sharing some book lists with you at the end including my top 10 favourite Summer books (so far).

You can listen to the episode below or keep scrolling to read the post instead.

Listen to the episode

*Affiliate link. If you click this link and buy I may earn a small commission but I only ever recommend things I have read/listened to myself.

How to plan your Summer reading list

Summer and reading just go hand in hand, don’t they? Whether you’re lounging around the pool with a book or on a blanket in your own back garden/yard, there’s just something special about this season and reading.

So far this year I haven’t planned what I will read next; I’ve just been picking up any books I see/get on subscription etc. However, I want a really good Summer reading list this year so I am going back to how I used to plan my reading and thought I would share that process with you too.


I like to start with the theme of my Summer and how that relates to the books I might read. For example, are you planning a very chill and relaxed Summer with very little to do? You might have the space for some more complex/emotional books.

Or maybe you are planning a mega-packed, busy, on-the-go Summer. You will probably want some short, easy reads.

Maybe you already know that there is something coming up this Summer that is going to be hard or stressful. You might want books you can escape into; cheesy rom-com or cosy mysteries for example.

I know we can’t know exactly how our Summers will go but it is something I like to think about. My Summer is pretty chilled so far this year. We have a short break to a lodge planned but as I am having some health problems I will be trying to stay as relaxed as possible.


If you are someone who only reads one type of genre then you can skip this part but if you read multiple genres then now is the time to think about what your favourites for summer are.

For example, I have recently got into murder mysteries this year and as I scare very easily I like the idea of reading them in the Summer to make me less afraid.

I also really enjoy reading books about Summer/set in a hot country etc during the Summer. For example, Book Lovers by Emily Henry or Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

I think rom-coms are very popular during the Summer for some beach reads and I am on board with this.

For me, I want to try and read at least 1 non-fiction book, a memoir, a murder mystery, some rom-com and a few YA and fantasy books. I also have a goal this Summer to read my first ever Stephen King book!

Doing this first helps me narrow down what books to put on my Summer reading list because my to-read list is literally hundreds of books.

How many?

Next, decide how many books you want to try and read this Summer. I know a lot of people just go with 10 but I like to be a little more strategic.

First, decide how long you class Summer to be. For me, it’s from mid-June to the end of August (when the kids go back to school). For you, it might just be the time your kids are off or the 2-week break you have off work. Or maybe you just go with the actual seasons so June – September/December – March.

How many books do you usually read in that time period?

I can look back and know I have read 42 books in 6 months, so 21 books in 3 months so 15 books on my Summer reading list seems about right. However, I am trying to read 100 books this year and need to do some catching up this season and I know that I tend to read more in the Summer because I work less. For this reason, I am making my list 25 books long.

You could also now decide how many of each genre you will read or save that for when you’re picking. I have 21 books to split between rom-com/YA/fantasy if I read 1 non-fiction, 1 murder mystery, 1 memoir and 1 Stephen King (who is his whole own genre right?).

Pick your books!

The best part; pick your books! If you use Goodreads have a look at your want-to-read list and see if any jump out at you and fit into the genres that you have picked.

You can go to your library and see what they have pulled off shelves and have on display. I have found so many good books this way.

Listen to podcasts to find books. I have a lot of episodes/posts sharing books. Some of the podcasts I have seen this year about books so far are Coffee and Crumbs, 10 Things to Tell You and The Lazy Genius Way.

Add any books that you are currently reading to your list as well if you want (especially if it is long like mine). This will give you some motivation when you finish them quickly.

Make your list

Use your notes app, or an actual notebook, or have them stacked up; it doesn’t matter how, just make a list.

I don’t really go in order when making my list because a lot for me depends on library availability etc. But I do like to put 3 check boxes next to the book (I use Evernote for this). One box for when I have ordered the book, one for when I have got it, and one for when I have read it.

You could split the books on your list into genres if you want or order them in the order you want to read but I find just having the list is enough then I can read what I feel like from the list.

How to read them

Now decide how you will read the books. Will you get them on Kindle/paperback/audible? Do you need to request them from the library, or add them to your wishlist on Audibe while you wait for new credits?

I tend to listen to non-fiction/memoirs and paperback other books. I LOVE my library and use it regularly. If they don’t have a book then I will get it on my Kindle/buy it. I also have a subscription to FairyLoot for my Y/A/fantasy books.

Get reading

Even if you don’t fill your list up right away just start reading as soon as Summer hits for you, And enjoy knowing that you don’t have to worry about what to read next because you already know!

Top 10 Summer Books (so far)

If you need help with your list I thought I would try and compile a list of my top 10 favourite Summer books so far. This is personal to me but I do have a range of reading interests so hopefully, you find something in here. They are not in any kind of order.

  1. Malibu Rising* by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  2. You and Me on Vacation/People We Meet on Vacation* by Emily Henry
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phonix* by J.K. Rowling
  4. Black Cake* by Charmaine Wilkerson 
  5. Grown Ups* by Marian Keyes
  6. The Kingdoms* by Natasha Pulley
  7. City of Girls* by Elizabeth Gilbert
  8. The Happiness Project* by Gretchen Rubin
  9. Big Magic* by Elizabeth Gilbert
  10. Legendborn* by Tracy Deonn

To be honest, I could have just filled this list with Emily Henry books; you can’t go wrong with hers during the summer. Book Lovers*, Happy Place* and Beach Read* are all great for Summer reading,

My Summer 2023 Reading List

I am choosing not to link these books yet because I only link what I recommend and I can’t recommend something I have yet to read. I have left a few spaces because I still have some digging to do about new books being released this year.

  1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls [][][]
  2. You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith [][][]
  3. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan [][][]
  4. Avalon Bay #2 by Elle Kennedy [][][]
  5. Avalon Bay #3 by Elle Kennedy [][][]
  6. Stephen King [][][] (yet to decide which one)
  7. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross [x][][]
  8. Emily Wildes Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett [x][x][]
  9. Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn [x][][]
  10. The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston [][][]
  11. July FairyLoot [][][]
  12. August FairyLoot [][][]
  13. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah [][][]
  14. Really Good, Actually by Monica Heisey [][][]
  15. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune [][][]
  16. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid [][][]
  17. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Taylor Jenkins Reid [][][]
  18. The Modern Girl’s Guide to Magic by Linsey hall [][][]
  19. Cross Stitch Club Book Club (Mystery) [][][]
  20. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie [x][x][]
  21. ?? [][][]
  22. ?? [][][]
  23. ??[][][]
  24. ?? [][][]
  25. ?? [][][]

Inside my membership The Cross Stitch Club, we have regular chats about books as well as book clubs where we now read mostly murder mysteries.

Extra episodes and posts

Pin for Later

plan your summer reading list pin with stack of books with glasses on top

2 thoughts on “How to Plan Your Summer Reading List | S3E79”

  1. Another aspect to consider for a reading list or challenge is attending to diversity of authors. As your lists show, most of us (at least people who are white like me) tend to gravitate toward white authors (and often female readers toward female authors as well), and we know the publishing industry is massively biased in this direction also. So it is good to be intentional about including diverse voices – authors of color, with disability, of varying ethnicities and cultures, and of multiple genders and sexualities. This article (and others on Book Riot, because they do a great job on this issue) helps explain:

    1. Hannah Hand Makes Team

      Betsy, Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the link to Book Riot. I could not agree with you more! It takes some intention to start out, but once you make it a habit to read more diversely, it starts coming more naturally. ~ Megh (Hannah’s Assistant)

Leave a Reply