A Summer Reading List for the Mom who Likes Variety

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Summer reading programs are popular for the kids, but it’s important to create a good summer reading list for mom as well. Even if it doesn’t include the incentive of a free book from the book store (*wink).

A reading list is a perfect way to make sure I know exactly what book title I need to request next. My preplanned summer reading list also helps me make sure that my “booklist for mom” includes lots of variation. Otherwise, I might just dive into some good mystery books and never come back up for air.

Yes, I’ll admit it, mystery books are my favorite. So there is a plot spoiler, you are going to see some mystery titles on the list below – HA!

This summer reading list for mom includes a vareity of books

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Reading List for Mom: Summer 2020 Edition

It is so hard to narrow down a list of books because there are just so many good ones out there. And I am willing to read most books, even if there is debatable content. Frankly, I like to know what people are saying about all sorts of topics whether or not I agree.

So you’ll find a variety of titles on my list.

Where do you find titles?

There are so many other great places, but I find these places have become my favorite sources.

Do you have any other booklists for moms?

I sure do! Here are my past booklists that include my thoughts on most of the titles:

I have to be honest that I love making a booklist almost as much as I love reading the books. It’s so much fun to sort through the book suggestions and settle in with the ones I am most looking foward to reading (or feel like I really need to read).

How do you find time to read your own books?

I hear this question a lot because it is hard for busy homeschooling moms to find a quiet moment to read. I’ve put together some of my best tips so you can make time to read.

Wondering how to find time to read the books on your summer reading list?

Summer Reading List for Mom

A variety of books is important to me, and it keeps things interesting all summer long. I like to select memoirs, non-fiction, and different types of fiction.

Summer Reading List: Book Club Choices

Swimming Between Worlds by Elaine Neil Orr

Thoughts After Reading: I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the backdrop of the civil rights movement in America. The main characters had depth and they examined their lives and didn’t settle for easy answers. One character’s time in Nigeria influenced the way he acted and it added yet another layer to the story.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge

Thoughts After Reading: This title was selected by a friend who wanted a small group of us to read it. It’s probably not one I would have picked up on my own, but I have found a few gems in it to ponder. Overall, it hasn’t blown me away with anything particularly new, but I have enjoyed the perspective on Jesus and his personality.

Summer Reading List: Personal Morning Reading

These books are the ones I am reading to reflect on in the morning.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thoughts After Reading: This book was a gift from a friend and it was a beautiful reflection on seasons of a woman’s life. The author collects various shells from the beach and ponders metaphors for different seasons and aspects of life as a woman. These reflections were a great morning read and provided so much that I related to as a wife, mom, and woman.

When Less Becomes More: Making Space for Slow, Simple, and Good by Emily Ley

Summer Reading List: Non-Fiction

Non-fiction is not my general preference, but I have enjoyed so many excellent non-fiction titles over the last few years so I always make a point to include a few.

Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Hinton

The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right by Lisa Sharon Harper

Summer Booklist: Historical Fiction

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Thoughts After Reading: This was a difficult read, but also an excellent book. This story is based on a real reform school that operated for 111 years before it was exposed. Please note, there is some graphic abuse in the story. It is a necessary part of the story, but very hard to read.

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Thoughts After Reading: This one was interesting, but I can’t say I loved it. I don’t think I’ll read the next one in the series, though I am glad I gave this one a try. It was different than the other books on my list this summer for sure! The addition of zombies in a story that takes place just after the Civil War was definitely unique.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Paperback by Matthew Desmond  

Summer Reading List: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Fiction (my favorite)

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Thoughts After Reading: I loved this one. It was the exact sort of thriller/mystery I love. And the ending of this one slayed me. Yikes!

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Thoughts After Reading: This one was a bit rough for me. I can skip a little sexual content, but this was a bit much. This psychological thriller involved some pretty disturbed characters, and I didn’t care for it overall. In addition, I guessed the ending pretty early in the story, so that was disappointing. I was surprised because I remember enjoying the author’s other books.

Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

Alone by Lisa Gardner

Thoughts After Reading: Loved this one. It definitely kept me guessing and I didn’t see the entire ending unfolding the way it did. A great thriller and interesting family dynamic. Definite creepy edge and a little sad at times. Great read if you like suspense thriller type books.

Summer Reading List: Other Fiction

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Thoughts After Reading: I didn’t love this one. Right from the start, I just didn’t connect with the main characters. I wanted to yell at them to get their acts together and learn communication skills – HA! I did like the original story timeline – the way it hops from one pivotal moment to the next.

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Thoughts After Reading: This book was written by one of my favorite authors. I love her mysterious tales. This one was an easy and fun read, but definitely not my favorite by this author. I had to force myself to read for an hour at the start to keep everyone straight and to really get a good grasp of the story. Typically I don’t have to force myself to dig into her stories – usually they grab me right away.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) by Suzanne Collins

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Dear Edward by by Ann Napolitano

Love Books with Your Kids?

Let me help you plan a book club for your children! This guide has everything you need to organize and implement a fantastic book club for your kids.

Book Club Planning Guide.
Fantastic booklist for mom this summer.


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  1. Thank you for putting this together Mary! I love your reading lists. They’re so diverse, considering it’s so easy for me to stay in one lane. I looooove your honest and genuine thoughts that you post after each book. I really appreciate the honesty of the good and the not so good. It’s refreshing to hear someone else’s take on a book that you know will be genuine, but in a respectful and kind way.
    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Memoirs of a Geisha. I am going to listen to that on audio book soon! I am currently reading Circe by Madeline Miller and am loving it!

  2. That is a great list! I read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and it was so fun to be back in the Hunger Games world. Have you read the Cursebreaker Series by Brigid Kemmerer? A Curse So Dark and Lonely is the first book, A Heart So Fierce and Broken is the second. Loved them!

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