15 books that feel like summer for warmth and sunshine
Sometimes I just want to read a book that feels like summer. Even if it’s cold and dreary outside, I can escape winter and find warmth, sunshine, and long summer days inside the pages of a good book.
In this post, I’ve shared some of the best books with summer vibes, whether you’re looking for a welcome antidote to dark winter days, or a novel that matches the warm summer days in your part of the world.
Read on to find your next summer read, and complement these with the best beach reads and anticipated new books for 2023 for even more ideas for your TBR list.
The best books that feel like being on a summer vacation
1. Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Just like the popular movie of the same name, everything about Call Me By Your Name oozes warm summer days and feels like a vacation to Italy in a book.
This gorgeous book is a love story infused with the heat of Italy in summer, intellectual curiosity and connection, and the memories of first love that last a lifetime.
2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s writing feels like summer to me. Circe is one of my all-time favourite books, but Miller’s first book, The Song of Achilles is another magically beautiful book to read in summer.
This thrilling and utterly captivating retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War is a tale of gods, kings, love, and the desire for immortal fame.
3. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
Dandelion Wine is Ray Bradbury’s fictionalized memoir that harks back to an idyllic small-town summer of 1928, told through the eyes of the colourful characters who inhabit it.
This is one of the best “hug in a book” choices for when the world is unpredictable, offering lazy summer vibes and nostalgia that will remind you of your own favourite summers.
4. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
A far step from the sun-kissed summers on the glittering lakeshore of her childhood, Persephone Fraser now winds away the summer months in a stylish apartment in the city and keeping everyone a safe distance from her heart.
That is, until she receives the call that sends her racing back to Barry’s Bay and into the orbit of Sam Florek – the man she never thought she’d have to live without.
Read Every Summer After for a story of beach vibes, nostalgia, love, and the people and choices that mark us forever.
5. The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell
If you love the soothing, feel-good writing of authors like James Herriot, you might like this joyful, sun-kissed, and lighthearted autobiographical trilogy.
Including My Family and Other Animals, The Corfu Trilogy shares the British naturalist, writer, zookeeper, conservationist, and television presenter Gerald Durrell’s story of growing up on Corfu in the 1930s.
During these memorable years, Gerald shares his observations of the flora and fauna surrounding his home as he discovered his passion for animals.
6. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Malibu Rising is maybe my favourite book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Read it to escape into a world of days spent surfing on the beach, evenings listening to the waves, and themes of self-discovery and family bonds.
7. Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Cider with Rosie is the classic evocative tale of an idyllic childhood in the English countryside by Laurie Lee.
In this gorgeous book, Lee conjures up evocative memories of life in a remote Cotswold village among the fields, woods, and characters of the place before industrialization and with the backdrop of war.
“Serenely unkempt were those final years, free from conflict, doubt or dismay, while she reverted gently to a rustic simplicity as a moss-rose reverts to a wild one.”
8. Thirst for Salt by Madelaine Lucas
As an anticipated book for 2023, Thirst for Salt is a gorgeous debut that unfurls with the backdrop of warm summer days.
In this magnetic story of desire and its complexities, Madelaine Lucas reveals with stunning, sensual immediacy the way the past can hold us in its thrall, shaping who we are and what we love.
9. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer is one of my all-time favourite books about nature, set during an abundant summer in bloom.
The beautifully written story has three parallel plots, all focused around a farming community in the Appalachians. This trio must start afresh, discover who they really are, and have faith in new beginnings.
10. A Place Like Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
A Place Like Home is a restful and wholesome collection of short stories to get lost in by the queen of feel-good romance, Rosamunde Pilcher.
Escape through the pages to the Mediterranean sunshine and sparkling blue seas, the fresh spring air of a Northumbrian village, or the fruit orchards of a recuperating stay in the Scottish countryside.
11. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
About two decades ago, I received a beautiful copy of the children’s classic Swallows and Amazons from my grandparents. I rediscovered it lately and remembered exactly what the book felt like to me as a child.
Ease your tension with this childhood escape into the magic, adventure, and freedom of warm summer days, journeying to the camp on Wild Cat Island and the able-bodied catboat “Swallow”.
12. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Love & Gelato, a young adult favourite that’s now a Netflix film, is the story of a summer in Italy that turns into a road trip across Tuscany.
When Lina is given the journal her mom kept when she lived in Italy, she uncovers a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries… and a world that inspires her to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a long-kept secret.
13. The Beach by Alex Garland
After discovering what seems like an Edenic paradise on an island in a Thai national park, a backpacker searching for authenticity soon finds out that utopia isn’t quite what it seems.
If you love reading gripping books in one sitting, read The Beach next.
14. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières
As one of my favourite books to read in summer, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin always makes me think of the stifling midday heat of Mediterranean summer, sunkissed tiled houses, and fresh herbs in shaded corners.
This bestseller weaves the story of a beautiful young woman and her two very different suitors as her native Greece undergoes unimaginable changes.
15. Summer on the Island by Brenda Novak
After the death of her US senator father, Marlow Madsen travels to the small island off the coast of Florida where she spent summers growing up.
Along with old friends Aida and Claire, Marlow looks forward to a leisurely beachfront summer to slow down and explore new paths. But when her father’s will reveals an earth-shattering secret, Marlow finds herself questioning everything.
However, with the help of her friends and an unlikely love interest, Summer on the Island proves that happiness can be found no matter what, as long as the right people are by your side.
Some more of the best books that feel like summer:
- The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand
- Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
- Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
- The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates
For more summer books to read, complement these picks with the best beach reads and the most anticipated new books for 2023.
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Enjoy more from me
- Retreat into my new book, Your Life in Bloom: Finding Your Path and Your Courage, Grounded in the Wisdom of Nature.
- I'm also the author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, a book about my time living alone by the mountains.
- If you love books, are feeling a little lost right now, and would love some gentle comfort and guidance, join The Sanctuary, my seven-day course to rebalance your life.