Even if you’re staying put this summer – that doesn’t mean you can’t visit some exotic locations and bake in the heat of a foreign summer sun.
During the lazy hot days of summer, I want to read books that let me feel summer in my bones and take me away to foreign places. Here are a few of my favorite summertime reads:
I love this series!!! I think it might be my all-time-favorite poolside read.
In an attempt to escape the wet British climate, the Durrell family moves to the Greek island of Corfu. These three books are fun, hilarious, autobiographical novels, narrated by the youngest child, Gerald. (Not to mention extremely well-written.) Gerald has a fascination with wildlife and scours the Greek countryside for creatures to add to his personal zoo, while he also tells the stories about his family’s adventures.
You will eat olives, cheese, and bread while you wander the Greek countryside and float idly in a flat-bottom boat on the Ionian Sea. What’s not to love!!!
Oh, and as an added bonus, PBS recently did a really fun TV series of these books. (But read the books first.)
By William Saroyen
My Name Is Aram
I simply don’t understand why no one seems to talk about William Saroyen. He’s an incredible writer.
An international bestseller in the 1940s, and hailed as “marvelously captivating” by the New York Times, this hilarious short book tells the stories of an Armenian family in northern California at the start of the 20th century. William Saroyen is one of the most under-recognized phenomenal writers – in my humble opinion.
And if you enjoy this one, you’ll also love, The Human Comedy. Saroyen’s style of writing and voice will captivate you.
By Rumer Godden
The Greengage Summer
Rumer Godden’s captivating novels often take place in India, however, in this novel, Mrs. Grey, travels with her five young children to the stunningly beautiful French countryside for the summer holidays. However, upon arrival at the hotel Les Oeillets, Mrs. Grey becomes ill, and her five children are left to their own devices – to explore and adventure. Like all Rumer Godden’s books, this book is well worth your time.
By Sarah Woodhouse
Somehow I never get tired of reading this book again. It is a quaint story that takes you away to a quiet Italian village where Nan Mortimer runs the small inn, the Villa Guila. It feels a bit like watching a foreign film. The style of the writing is unique. I just enjoy spending time with her delightful characters wandering through the Italian countrysides.
By Elizabeth von Arnim
The Enchanted April
You may not be able to whisk away to an Italian castle for the holidays, but you can join four women – Mrs. Wilkins, Mrs. Arbuthnot, Lady Caroline Dester, and Mrs. Fisher – as they escape the drizzly London weather and together rent an Italian castle in Portofino for the month of April. You’ll find solace in beauty, friendship, romance, and self-discovery.
(If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll love the book too.)
By Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Audible version narrated by Nick Offerman
I thought I knew the story of Tom Sawyer, but when I read it recently, I realize I had only ever known bits and pieces of it. Tom Sawyer is a hilarious tale about childhood in rural America in the nineteenth century. It captures a time (well before screens of any kind) when children had to carve out their own adventures – and boy, do they ever.
Tom Sawyer is the most endearing troublemaker and ever in search of the perfect adventure. This book will make you feel nostalgic for a childhood you never even knew. And despite some of its harsher elements (it seems like every other week they are dynamiting the river for the bodies of drowned boys, child abuse is common place, and slavery is just part of the backdrop), this book provides a hilarious window into another time.
The dialect and strong accents can be challenging to wade through. I STRONGLY recommend the audible version of this book, narrated by Nick Offerman who does an absolutely MASTERFUL job of bringing this book to life.
No More Heat, Please…
If you happen to be suffering through a brutal heat wave and what you really need is to escape the burnign summer heat…
By Jack London
or Call of the Wild
Travel to the wilds of Alaska. You’ll be shivering in no time.