Throwback Summer Reads

orangutan list

We’re coming to the end of the summer, but I’m not ready for it to end (because it barely felt like it was the summer this year with no vacation), so that’s why I’m choosing some books to prolong the season! Because I went with some HOT NEW books last month, I thought I’d go with some throwbacks here (books that are at least ten years old), kicking it off with…

percy jackson lightning thief

Percy Jackson– because I need a little magic in my life right now! And this also is set at Camp Half Blood- which achieves both my goals of getting away and getting a little adventure. But in case that wasn’t wild enough…

wild magic

Wild Magic– yes I did just use that pun (and I’m sorry… sorta). Regardless, this is a fun read and Tamora Pierce always gives me summer vibes.

goose girl

Goose Girl– this book gives me all the *nostalgia* and *warm fuzzies*- which I’d say qualifies it as a summer read 😉

secret garden

The Secret Garden– this is another childhood fave. It really brings the idea of new seasons to life. And I’ve always dreamed of having a garden like this one day to lounge about on summer days (and read 😉).

i capture the castle

I Capture the Castle– aside from the romantic, crumbling castle, there’s nothing more iconic and summery than the midsummer festivities.

the famous five

Famous Five– the adventures of the Famous Five will always have a special place in my heart and long be associated with summer!

how i live now

How I Live Now– this is perhaps an odd one, because it’s a dystopia, but this begins in one lush summer, transforming as the world changes around them.

yellow wallpaper

Yellow Wallpaper– this one twisty gothic set in summer. And, if anything the summer setting only makes it creepier!

return of the native

Return of the Native– a bit more of a poignant choice, Hardy has a way with settings that make me think of the gorgeous Dorset countryside.


East of Eden– another writer with exquisite descriptions of the setting! Set in California, there’s often more than enough in the writing to get you feeling a little hot and bothered. And while technically speaking, I think Grapes of Wrath does an even greater job depicting the landscape, I personally prefer this family epic.

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– this books makes me want to take a trip to Guernsey!


Journey to the River Sea– most of Eva Ibbotson has a summery feel- but especially this Middle Grade, set in the Amazon.

And that’s all for now? Which throwback books do you recommend for summer? Let me know in the comments!

30 thoughts on “Throwback Summer Reads

  1. I loved I Capture the Castle! I saw the Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society movie but should have realized there’s a book too. Great list!


  2. I’ve read and loved many of these books. For me, everything Steinbeck and everything Hardy – Hardy was my uni senior thesis class, the author I got “stuck with” because all the other authors were taken by students who got to register earlier than I did. But I ended up loving Hardy and now own most of his books. Tess is still my favorite. I agree with hopewellslibraryoflife about Eden’s Cathy – except with so many real sociopaths in the world today, Cathy is nearly tame. The Grapes of Wrath had me sobbing at the end, and then I read Steinbeck the rest of the summer just before I got married. For sheer love and courage, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is tops. If you’ve only seen the movie (quite well done) give yourself the treat of reading the book. Another of my favorites for summer reading: Jean Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear, by far the best of her series. And for a more serious book, Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson – a book of young love, social injustice, and desperation, perfect for today as when it was written and the period it represents. One more of my all time favorites: The River Midnight by Lilian Nattel, a lyrical story of magic and rebellion and hope – what more could you ask of summer’s promises?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tamora Pierce and Percy Jackson books def give me summer vibes too.
    But same here. I’m not ready for the season to change (although I am happy it is a little cooler).


  4. Secret Garden is a perennial favorite of ours! Looks like I have a lot of new potential favorites on your list! I love Madeline L’Engle: Arm of the Starfish. A new favorite I’ve just reviewed on my site today is The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano ( Maria of Sesame St fame). Manzano had me transplanted into Spanish Harlem in the summer of 1969, living and learning through the eyes of a Puerto Rican teenage girl. A well crafted historical novel. Thanks, Rebecca

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Big dog, “East of Eden” falls far short of the magnificence of “The Grapes of Wrath.” I know this is an opinion and I should defend my opinion but I am right. Take my word for it.

    Honestly though, I think there is more exposition in “East of Eden” and I feel that weakens fiction. Also I think when you read “East of Eden” you can feel when he quit working and came back to the material – it seems not cleanly knit together sometimes. I could be wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah I love that too and I debated back and forth over which one up include (this time 😉 I’ve mentioned grapes of wrath a number of times before). I decided to go with east of Eden for the story, though grapes of wrath has the most exquisite writing. I think that’s fair- though it’s not an issue I had with it, because I found a fair amount of that exposition interesting character work

      Liked by 2 people

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