Summer reading in a summer of all the transitions

Every summer for the past eleven years I’ve written a post about my planned reading. I started making the list mid-May and always published it around Memorial Day. Summer never officially started for me as a teacher until July, but I’ve always liked crafting a syllabus for myself and using the warm months, whether I’m working or not, to tackle it. This is the summer of change, though.

The past two years I haven’t written as much. I was reading a ton, but my brain didn’t  have the capacity to process; reading was my main form of escape as I went through infertility treatments. We are so grateful for modern science, because in December I gave birth to a healthy baby girl. So, for a while, my identity as a writer fell away as I was a patient of countless medical treatments, then pregnant, and now a working new mother. As if that weren’t enough, we are moving to Ohio this summer to be closer to family (and to be able to afford housing that also has a dishwasher, washer-dryer, and outdoor space). So that means I will be joining the ranks of midwestern educators, where summer starts in June–which translates to me as the shortest summer of my career, as my new job as a literacy coach begins August 1.

So, of course my summer will still be filled with books, but it will definitely be out of the ordinary. The other random change in my reading life is that I’ve been using the kindle app on my phone (set to black) so I can read in bed while our baby sleeps in our room. I have no interest in buying ebooks, so I’ve been using my (amazing) Brooklyn Public Library card and their digital collection. I often put holds on books I want to read and when they are available I get an email–which I can’t predict. I’ve somehow kept a pretty normal reading pace since having a baby, but I will no longer have summer days where I can read for hours on end through the afternoons. So. This summer’s list is not so much of a syllabus as it is a wish list, since my first day of my new job is August 1. But here we go:


Ordinary Light

I Am I Am I Am

Just Mercy 

Operating Instructions

Hold Still 

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

The Liturgy of the Ordinary



Exit West


The Idiot 

Ill Will 

Six Four

Happy summer! I’d love to know your recent favorites!

3 thoughts on “Summer reading in a summer of all the transitions

  1. Erica Barbakow

    Kristen— you must check out Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I absolutely adored it. Happy summer!

  2. Alison

    Yay! Thank you. I have been anxiously waiting this list since I have spent the last 11 years stealing your list and making it my summer list. I just added them all to the measly list I had started. I am also going to read Florida by Lauren Goff, the new SLoane Crossley book (or maybe I will listen because she is hilarious) and everything I haven’t already read by Jesmyn Ward. I cannot wait for you to get to Ohio so we can be in a book club together again!

  3. Jane

    Just Mercy is one of my all time favorites! Also really want to read Less after hearing the author on NPR. Love your list and all the exciting transitions. Just have garce for yourself- transitions are hard and you’ll be okay.


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