Authors Offer Their Summer Reading Recommendations

Posted by Cybil on May 4, 2020

One of the many things we love about authors is that they tend to have some of the best reading recommendations. So, as we head into our favorite season—which is Summer Reading, of course—we asked some of your favorite writers to suggest a few books for their readers to discover. 

Below you'll find picks from beloved authors, including Margaret Atwood, Celeste Ng, Robert DugoniOttessa Moshfegh, Casey McQuiston, and more! Be sure to add any recommendations that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf.


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Do we need to introduce the incomparable Margaret Atwood? She is, of course, the author of modern classics, including The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and Alias Grace. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale and was one of the most anticipated books of 2019.

Here are her summer reading recommendations: 

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James McBride's memoir, The Color of Water, spent two years on The New York Times' bestseller list. And his The Good Lord Bird won the National Book Award. So, readers rejoiced when he returned this year with the historical fiction novel Deacon King Kong, about a renowned local church deacon who shoots down a notorious drug dealer and the reverberations of the violence.

Here are his summer reading recommendations:

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Celeste Ng's 2014 debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a bestseller and book club favorite. Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for best fiction and has been adapted into a series on Hulu starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. 

Here are her summer reading recommendations:

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A longtime favorite writer, Anne Tyler won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons in 1989. Her other bestsellers include The Accidental TouristA Spool of Blue Thread, and Clock Dance. Her latest novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road, was published in the U.S. in April.

Here are her summer reading recommendations:

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Ottessa Moshfegh's fiction is highly original and always at least slightly disturbing. In her My Year of Rest and Relaxation, a woman decides to disappear from her life by entering a drugged hibernation. Moshfegh's new book, Death in Her Hands, is about an elderly woman who may be solving a murder that may have happened. That book will be published on June 23.

Here are her summer reading recommendations: 

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Alex Michaelides is a new name in the mystery genre, but he's wasted no time making his mark. His debut novel, The Silent Patient, was the hit suspense novel of 2019, winning the Goodreads Choice Award for best mystery as well as becoming a New York Times bestseller within a week of publication. He's working on his second book now.

Here are his summer reading recommendations:

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Casey McQuiston's LGBTQ romantic comedy Red, White & Royal Blue, about America's First Son falling for the Prince of Wales, had readers swooning. In fact, she won two 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards, for best debut and best romance!

Here are her summer reading recommendations: 

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Hugo Award–winning sci-fi author John Scalzi is known for beloved space operas, including the Old Man's War series. His latest series, The Interdependency, is back with its third installment this spring with The Last Emperox.
 
Here are his summer reading recommendations:

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Robert Dugoni is the New York Times– and Amazon–bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite series, the Charles Jenkins series, and the David Sloane series. His work also includes the bestselling standalone novel The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.
 
Here are his summer reading recommendations:

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Marie Lu is making quite a name for herself in the young adult genre with fantasy series, including Legend, The Young Elites, and Warcross. In her latest book, The Kingdom of Back, she weaves a tale based on Mozart and his sister...and a stranger from a magical land.
 
Here are her summer reading recommendations: 

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Which of these authors' picks most intrigues you, and why? Let us know in the comments!
 

Comments Showing 1-50 of 101 (101 new)


TheBibliotheque ♡ Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes.


message 2: by Simone (new)

Simone This is me blindly adding any book Casey McQuiston will rec to my TBR without even looking at them first.


message 3: by Arathy (new)

Arathy Puthillam Simone wrote: "This is me blindly adding any book Casey McQuiston will rec to my TBR without even looking at them first."

Same!


message 4: by André (new)

André San Miguel ☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best books for 2020, it seems they are promoting their friend's works or something like that. I know I shouldn't judge people by the reading tastes, but the author can't honestly recommend me a 2.69 rated book and expecting me to love it.

There is so much better out there


message 5: by Haytham (new)

Haytham Reid André wrote: "☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best books for 2020, it seems they..."


True. That book isn't yet published but I've never seen a novel with such a low rating even before publication. I'm sure it'll be higher when it's published but still...


message 6: by Simone (new)

Simone Haytham wrote: "André wrote: "☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best books for 2020,..."


What's funny about that particular book is that I didn't come across a proper review? Only random stars given? So I feel as if this is not a great representation of the book itself until there aren't some proper reviews?


message 7: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Which book are you referring to?


message 8: by Simone (new)

Simone The Equivalents, it’s the very first one recced by Atwood


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

War Girls Maybe ?


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin A lot of these authors I haven’t even heard of before or they have written only one or two books so far. I would rather hear from more established authors if I’m being completely honest here.


message 11: by Elena (new)

Elena May Simone wrote: "Haytham wrote: "André wrote: "☽ These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best..."

To be honest, star ratings here don't mean much, especially when the book hasn't been published yet (and has just 13 ratings in this case). I've seen lots of Goodreads users use stars to classify books they haven't read according to interest and planned "to-read" order. I've even seen people mark books as 1-star when they plan to read them, and switch to 5-star once they've read them. I highly doubt any of these users who rated this book had an early copy.

That's why I never take into account overall star ratings when I decide if to pick up a book, just text reviews. And people are looking for different things in books, so sometimes a negative review might pique my interest and convince me to read the book, or vice versa! :D


message 12: by Rose (new)

Rose I put Long Bright River on hold @ library.


message 13: by Bookworm (new)

Bookworm Thank you for all these wonderful recommendations. Hope to see more by other great authors! May I suggest: Sarah J. Maas, VE Schwab, Renee Ahdieh, Kate Morton, Karen Swan and Lisa Kleypas?


message 14: by Haytham (new)

Haytham Reid Elena wrote: "Simone wrote: "Haytham wrote: "André wrote: "☽ These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best..."

To be honest, star ratings here don't mean much, especially ..."


Thank you for the explanation! I didn't know about that ahah. That could explain why there are no written reviews, only ratings. :)


message 15: by Elena (new)

Elena May Haytham wrote: "Thank you for the explanation! I didn't know about that ahah. That could explain why there are no written reviews, only ratings. :)"

You're welcome :) If you look around, you can find books on Goodreads that are not even written yet and already have lots of random ratings. And I don't mean books at a late draft stage, where prominent reviewers have access to early copies... I mean books that are barely just announced, and sometimes have no title or description yet.

So at this stage, we have no reason to think this particular book is bad :)


message 16: by Amy (new)

Amy Hollingsworth André wrote: "☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

These recommendations from the authors are weird, I don't think they picked the best books for 2020, it seems they..."


I thought the same thing


message 17: by MK (new)

MK ☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."
Of course not. Once again, romance gets no respect. Also noticed no "beloved" cosy mystery writer either although they are also great summer reads. "Serious" works only need apply.


message 18: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Gagen-Delcros if you enjoyed The perfect wife, there will be the new of JP DElANEY Playing nice on Summer 2020


message 19: by Israrali (new)

Israrali Israr Nice


message 20: by laquita smith (new)

laquita smith Cool


message 21: by Rob (new)

Rob Are these recommendations actually from these authors?
It's not that I'm sceptical, I'm just sceptical.


message 22: by Melanie (new)

Melanie I always hate when people complain about recommendations in these lists. These are authors that have written bestsellers and a lot of people like to see there recommendations. But also remember they are ordinary people too. These lists can’t accommodate everyone or every genre. Just cuz a book doesn’t have five star reviews doesn’t mean it’s not a good book or that that author didn’t truly enjoy reading it. They aren’t just promoting their “friends” books. And if romance novels didn’t make this list then so what? I see a ton of lists that have several romance novels. They aren’t lesser books because they didn’t make this list.

I think we need to go back to “if you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all”.


message 23: by QueenAmidala28 (new)

QueenAmidala28 I don't know. Sometimes I find a novel that everyone else might give a 2.6 and I would give it at least a 3.5. But yes, I agree overall.


message 24: by Cedricsmom (new)

Cedricsmom Glad I'm not the only one looking at this list and scratching her head. I want to read Long Bright River and Deacon King Kong, and I've read Silent Patient; otherwise this list doesn't intrigue me. I think I'll keep to my own reading plans for the summer.


message 25: by Laura (new)

Laura  Jones ☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."
my thoughts exactly!


message 26: by Erika (new)

Erika Bunny is amazing! So weird and original


message 27: by Alex (new)

Alex ☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

I so agree!!!


message 28: by Elohor (new)

Elohor Egbordi What a list! This doesn't look good.


message 29: by John (new)

John Good


message 30: by John (new)

John I like it


message 31: by John (new)

John Lexi wrote: "☽ TheBibliotheque wrote: "Not even one "beloved" romance author featured? Yikes."

I so agree!!!"



message 32: by Robin (new)

Robin I think these books are genuinely recommendations by the authors. Four are classics whose authors are dead: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, House of Mirth, Moveable Feast, and Native Son. These aren't authors who have current books out that need promoting.


message 33: by Barb (new)

Barb I like Anne Tyler’s list. They’re all books already on my “to read” list.


message 34: by gabisreads (new)

gabisreads Also added every Casey McQuiston rec. 😂


message 35: by Djamilah (new)

Djamilah Thanks for the list, there's some very interesting recommendations I've never heard of before ^^


message 36: by Alex (new)

Alex It hurts my soul that people think a high goodreads rating qualifies a good book as a good book. “Hey what book inspired you and changed your life (writer in question who’s probably read their ass off for the past 10+ pursuing their craft)?”
“Oh well, they aren’t rated over four stars on goodreads, an app every critically thinking reader owns and uses religiously and is fairly split between demographics of readers, which also has no ties to monetary/social media influences whatsoever. . So I might as well not share my OPINION since it doesn’t resemble any other top picks from other similarly influenced sources.

Ps. “Homesick for another world” is awesome.


message 37: by Lekeisha (new)

Lekeisha The Booknerd Some of these are on my to-read shelf already. I've read 3 of these, but the reset I'll look into. American Dirt? I wouldn't touch that trauma porn with a dead man's hand.


message 38: by Lekeisha (new)

Lekeisha The Booknerd Lekeisha wrote: "Some of these are on my to-read shelf already. I've read 3 of these, but the reset I'll look into. American Dirt? I wouldn't touch that trauma porn with a dead man's hand."

"Rest"


message 39: by Julissa (new)

Julissa Ribeiro I guess some people receive some books before they’re published like a proof, maybe that’s why. And also some people may rate just cause they like the writers.


message 40: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Parker Rose wrote: "I put Long Bright River on hold @ library."

You will love that book ! I sure did !


message 41: by Paul (new)

Paul Frandano What a peculiar thread of responses to what is just a list of summer/pandemic reading recommended from published writers, at least one of whom you know. That's it, with no filter for low rating numbers, as if a number should determine what read. Many thanks to Goodreads for periodically doing useful lists and interesting interviews...shilling books, of course, but still a nice service.


message 42: by Naomi (new)

Naomi V It would have been nice to hear from the authors about their choices.


message 43: by Laura (new)

Laura Steinert Ottessa Moshfegh doesn't seem to know the meaning of "summer reading" or perhaps couldn't be bothered to tell the truth and just listed random famous books. Most of the other authors offered at least one book I would consider "summer reading" worthy of a sunny afternoon by the lake or a rainy morning on the porch. Are some of them recommending friend's work? Maybe--but that is what friends do, right?


message 44: by Jacque (new)

Jacque I'm so glad Ottessa Moshfegh was included on this list. I will read anything she recommends!


message 45: by josie (new)

josie Naomi wrote: "It would have been nice to hear from the authors about their choices."

I agree


message 46: by Elena (new)

Elena May Julissa wrote: "I guess some people receive some books before they’re published like a proof, maybe that’s why. And also some people may rate just cause they like the writers."

That's true, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. Books are given as proof copies to prominent reviewers and bloggers, and these early ratings usually come with a review. The book The Equivalents recommended above had a rating of 2.69 until recently (now is closer to 3) and all the ratings came with no review, from random people who had not written a single review of any other book. I clicked on the first one, and the person had given 1 rating total, which was the 1-star rating they had given this book.

I'm an author, and I have a book in a draft stage that got a random rating just yesterday. Not only I haven't given any proof copies--not a single person in the world apart from myself has read the book at this stage. Not even my beta reader, no one. And I still got a random rating (and, interestingly enough, the person who gave the rating to my book seems to also have rated the upcoming The Equivalents book recommended on this list). It's not the first time this has happened to my not-yet-written books, and I've seen other authors experience the same.

A lot of the ratings on Goodreads come from people who have never read the books. Even if they've read them, ratings are subjective. That's why the Goodreads rating is the last thing I look at when deciding if to pick up a book. And I'd never assume a 2.69-star book is bad based on no other info, especially when it's recommended by Margaret Atwood.


message 47: by Daisy (new)

Daisy Yu :)


message 48: by Daisy (new)

Daisy Yu good book


message 49: by Ann (new)

Ann VanDynHoven I added about 10 books to my list. So many books, so little time!!! Thanks for the recommendations.


message 50: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Thanks, for the great list of books! Keep on reading!


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