With a little more time at home these days, I’ve found myself reading more. While I know some of you are learning Italian and focusing on making that picture perfect sour dough loaf, I’ve fallen in love with characters from Milwaukee to Seattle. I’ve spent time in the 50’s and relived the 90’s. I have been able to forget our current situation for hours at a time by reading these books.

These summer reads for women are the books crowding my night stand right now. They all speak to me in different ways and show me parts of myself I had not thought about. After reading them, I find myself more introspective, more open. I have loved getting lost in their pages and wanted to pass my favorites on to you.

Let me know what you think of my summer reads list. 

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9 Summer Reads for Women

Where’d You Go Bernadette

Bernadette Fox is a fearlessly opinionated wife, a reluctant private-school mother to a precocious 15 year old, and a slightly mad neighbor. And then everything changes. Her perfectly planned and ordered life is shaken when her daughter ropes her parents into a family trip to Antarctica. A simple trip to the ends of the earth is Bernadette’s undoing. The love of her family is the thing that brings her back home…metaphorically and physically. This surprisingly touching novel reaches out to the misplaced genius in all of us.

“A misanthropic matriarch leaves her eccentric family in crisis when she mysteriously disappears in this “whip-smart and divinely funny” novel that inspired the movie starring Cate Blanchett.” (New York Times)

Mrs. Everything

The main question in Jennifer Weiner’s bestselling novel is: Do we change or does the world change us? Weiner takes us into the privileged world of 1950’s Detroit. Two sisters, who are born into a promising world, grow up amid the turbulence and unrest of the 1960’s and take very divergent and surprising paths. They both struggle to find their own place and chart their own course, while still being true to themselves. They both seek to answer the question of how a woman should live, behave, and simply be in this world. This is why Mrs. Everything makes for a great summer reads for women choice.

“Weiner has always been a gifted novelist and a powerful essayist. In ‘Mrs. Everything,’ she brings the best of both worlds to the page, holding up the prism of choice and letting the light shine through from every angle…. If you have time for only one book this summer, pick this one.” (New York Times Book Review)

Today Will Be Different

You know we loved what Bernadette had to say in Where’d You Go Bernadette. So, we adored learning about Eleanor in Today Will Be Different. This novel is all about wakening up ambitions and not settling for the small, but possibly hollow, victories we find every day. This hilarious story is about reinvention, confrontation, and the absolute necessity of sisterhood.

“Another tour de force…. The success of this poetic, seriously funny and brainy dream of a novel — ‘Mrs. Dalloway Takes Laughing Gas,’ perhaps — has to do with Maria Semple’s range of riffs and preoccupations. All kinds of details, painful and perverse and deeply droll, cling to her heroine and are appraised and examined and skewered and simply wondered at. If that’s considered a trick, readers of Semple’s novel will be overjoyed to fall for it.”–Meg Wolitzer, New York Times Book Review

summer reads for women

The Dutch House

The Dutch House is a novel about paradise found, lost, and found again. It is a moving story about two siblings, set over the course of five decades, who learn that their indelible bond is the only thing that can become their lifesaver. Ann Patchett writes about how the past will never let some go and how all the money in the world cannot buy peace, joy or happiness. This book questions the depths of love and forgiveness and the power of our idea of how we see ourselves. For those who like to listen to books, the audio version of The Dutch House is narrated by Tom Hanks.

“Patchett’s splendid novel is a thoughtful, compassionate exploration of obsession and forgiveness, what people acquire, keep, lose or give away, and what they leave behind.” Publishers Weekly

Kitchens of the Great Midwest

A young woman with a once-in-a-generation palate is the unforgettable main character in Kitchens of the Great Midwest. She forges through a difficult and lonely childhood to become an iconic chef who creates the most coveted dinner reservation in town. Each chapter of this novel tells the story of one dish and one character. It encompasses the distinct language and food of the midwest and focuses on the ways food can create a sense of identity and community. The realistic imagery will make you hungry as the hilarious situations will make you laugh. This is not your typical mother-daughter in the kitchen story as it touches on the bittersweetness of this bond.

“An impressive feat of narrative jujitsu . . . that keeps readers turning the pages too fast to realize just how ingenious they are.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Pick

Language of Flowers

The novel, Language of Flowers, does a deep dive into the Victorian language of flowers and how they can be used to speak emotions that are difficult to put into words. For Victoria Jones, having recently aged out of the foster care system, she learns to use flowers to connect and communicate with the world around her. And she finds she has a gift for helping others through flowers. Though she is content with her life, a mysterious stranger makes her question herself and the path she has chosen for her life.

“A fascinating debut . . . Diffenbaugh clearly knows both the human heart and her plants, and she keeps us rooting for the damaged Victoria.”—O Magazine

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Barbara Kingsolver’s New York Times’ bestseller has been updated since its original publication in 2007. There’s original work from the whole Kingsolver family and how the family’s original plan has progressed through the years. Their original plan, which is the focus for the book, is about the Kingslover family who decides to move from the suburbs of Arizona to rural Appalachia. More than just moving locations, this family has vowed to spend one year eating only products that are locally-produced. They start their project eagerly, realigning themselves with local food and farmers. They find out the joy that can be found in flavorful, diverse, creative and colorful food.

“Cogent and illuminating…Without sentimentality, this book captures the pulse of the farm and the deep gratification it provides, as well as the intrinsic humor of the situation.”—Janet Maslin, New York Times

Luck, Love and Lemon Pie

This novel is about all of us, so it makes for a perfect summer reads for women.  It features an overwhelmed, lonely, exasperated wife and mother who is trying by any means necessary to keep her family together. However, in seeking to reconnect with her family, she finds herself being pulled away from them. After playing poker on a lark, MJ, the main character, achieves a series of wins that propels her to an exciting new lifestyle. It just may take her farther from the family she was trying to hold close.

“Laugh-out-loud, hold-on-to-your-panties women’s fiction. The characters are game for anything when it comes to getting back what they think they have lost. Reichert is a talented author.” RT Book Reviews

Bread Alone

This novel may be the only time you find yourself feeling sorry for a trophy wife. Wynter Morrison used to be a trophy wife actually. The life path she thought she was on quickly changed course after a sudden divorce. It is through the sights, smells and kneading of dough that help heal her heart and help her move on. Bread Alone helps us understand the “good life” may not have anything to do with money.

“Readers who respond to the mix of romance, self-discovery, and food discussions will want to connect this novel with the ones listed in the Read-alikes column, on the opposite page.” Neal Wyatt, © American Library Association

Which of these summer reads for women will you pick up first?