14 Summer Reads

My friend Liz Egan is so funny. You might know her from Glamour magazine where she’s the Books Editor. Or you might remember her from a post she wrote right here on DALS about her insane, yet totally adorable lunchbox note ritual. But I am lucky enough to know her as a friend, in real life and in Facebook life. And it was on Facebook where last week she posted this update:

It’s funny, people rarely ask me how I got my beach body (wine, Cheez-Its, spinning), where I got my bathing suit (local boutique, closed three years ago, now a Smashburger), or what color I have on my toes (Well Red)–but occasionally inquiring minds want to know what summer books I loved. Here’s my list.

Because she’s as generous as she is well-read, Liz gave me permission to reprint the list for the DALS community. Have you guys read any of them? Would love to hear your thoughts. Note: She gets advance copies, so some of these aren’t published until later in the summer:

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
The Assistants by Camille Perri
The After Party by Anton DiSclafani
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley (Published June 7)
The Girls by Emma Cline (June 14)
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close (July 19)
Losing It by Emma Rathbone (July 19)
Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty (July 26)
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott (July 26)
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Moue (July 23)

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t add one more to the list:  A Window Opens, by Elisabeth Egan herself. If you recall, it was last year’s big summer novel.

Follow Liz on twitter to get her recommendations all year long.

Thanks Liz! xox

Photo: Phoebe reading Life of Pi near Homer, Alaska, 2014. Possibly the best reading spot in North America.

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I read The Assistants earlier this much. It was a fun, light read – perfect for a hammock. Truly, Madly, Guilty is already pre-ordered to my Kindle! Anything by Liane Moriarty tends to be a good read. I’m adding some of these others to my own list – thanks!


Have only read Eligible from this list, and I absolutely hated it. I’m all for a good modern retelling of Austen, but this did not work for me at all. Some of the other titles are on my TBR list, though, and I think I might add a few more!


With all the recommendations that book gets, I was really excited to curl up with some tea and scones for a day. I was so disappointed. None of the characters retained any of themselves beyond their names.


I am reading Eligible now, and I think it’s a hoot! Now, that is partially because I grew up in Cincinnati, so all the local references make me smile. I guess I went in with extremely low expectations, and I am not disappointed.


Didn’t make the connection until you did at the end of your post, but I read A Window Opens on your recommendation last year and LOVED it. Would highly recommend as a great summer read for anyone who didn’t read it last year. Light enough to be a good beach read, but observant and real enough to make you think and not feel like brain cells dripped out of your ears.

I’ve also recently love A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry.

And, I read When Breath Becomes Air on your recommendation. OMG. I had actually been resisting reading it because my husband is a physician, and we were married during med school/residency. I felt like it was going to hit too close to home. And it did. But one of the most beautiful books ever, truly.


Loved Millers Valley. Am currently reading the Nest and like it a lot. I just finished Eligible and was so disappointed. I had high hopes (have loved Sittenfelds other books and thought she’d do a great job with P&P) but I just didnt like it at all. I dont get the hype about it. Am adding the rest of these to my list! thanks.

Grumpy reader

Aaaaand, I stopped reading this list after item #2, because those first two books are not good. Did anyone else roll their eyes in disgust when Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney introduced the character who was a 9/11 firefighter? Sorry, I’ve already read about 400 sweeping post-9/11 New York novels with big ambitions, big symbolic cliches, 7-figure advances, and literally nothing new, interesting, or true to say.


i hope that photo of Phoebe is printed and framed and hanging in your house
it is stunning

Kimberli Simon

I’ve added almost this entire list to my ‘B or Not 2 B” list of reads. Always grateful to learn about the newest fiction – for summer – or year round – reading.


Relieved not to see Maestra, (L.S. Hinton) on this list. I just finished it and am feeling extremely ambivalent. I could not visualize the orgy parts b/c i’m from the South, dangit! It’s a serious novel about the art world, and has a compelling drama/page turning adventure….but a lot of naughty stuff going on. Not sure how to recommend it to anyone! Will need to read something like Hamilton next 🙂

Jane Uzzell

I’m close to Homer today. At Princess Lodge by Cooper Landing, AK. Our morning tour guide has her winter home in Homer. Love the photo!


I read Miller’s Valley (loved!), Eligible (so fun – loved it!) and The Nest (also a fun read). I just finished The After Party and I enjoyed it but got so frustrated with Cece’s constant longing for Joan. I would recommend it, though.

I am heading to the library now to pick up Modern Lovers. Most of the other books on this list are already on my “to-read” list and I’ve added the others. Thank you for sharing!

P.S. Your “Grilled Chicken for People who Hate Grilled Chicken” and the Chicken and Sausage Maque Choux from your website are always in constant rotation in our house during the summer.


I just finished A Window Opens and loved it; didn’t want to put it down until I was finished. Looking forward to trying some of these, thanks.


Thanks for the list. I liked The Nest a lot. Currently reading The Assistants and like the new spin on Devil Wears Prada. I will be checking out many of these suggestions!


I loved Behold the Dreamers! Very profound, empatic and witty. A voyage inside marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.