This month, celebrate the start of summer by hosting a summer book swap out on the patio with friends. Maybe you'll score one of my 22 MUST-READ books for this summer in the exchange. A big thanks to EDWARDS® Desserts for sponsoring today's post.
It's said that there are two kinds of people in this world:
Those who use BOOKMARKS and those who are BOOK VANDALS.
The latter includes folks like me who tab and dog-ear pages, bend and crack bindings, and scribble notes all over the margins. Most of the year, my book club ladies look at my thoroughly (and visibly) loved copy of our monthly selection and laugh. However, once a year, I clean up my act and promise to be on my best behavior.
Each year, my friends and I come together to celebrate the arrival of summer with a book swap. It's a great way to get ready for some "beach chair me-time." With all the upcoming summer holidays, family vacations, and backyard BBQs, our monthly meet-ups become too challenging to coordinate, so we take an informal hiatus for three months.
Now, if you've never done one before... A pre-summer book exchange is a great way to score some recommended titles (from folks you know and trust) for your summer reading pleasure. Below is a list of 22 must-read books on my personal summer-reading list this year. (Of course, a book swap also a convenient excuse to hang out with your book club besties on the patio!)
I've found there are only three things you need to host a bang-up summer book swap:
Dessert. Books. Moscato.
Yep. For real. That's my list.
Just like you, my friends and I meet because we LOVE books. Even so, I still list dessert FIRST. I don't know how your book club rolls where you live, but we've got priorities around here. Having a decadent dessert to set the tone of the gathering is imperative to any novel discussion in these parts.
This year was my first time hosting the summer swap, so I wanted to bring my A-game. To celebrate the start of the summer season, I picked up an EDWARDS® Key Lime Pie. (AKA: The perfect complement to summer.)
The doorbell rings... As I open the front door, I notice one of my friends is carrying a copy of The Help, and I gravitate toward it. I immediately ask, "Is this one for me?" She laughs, "You're the only one who hasn't read it yet, so yeah, it's for you." She continues with a bit more snark, "Hi, by the way. It's nice to see you, too."
Check out my full list of MUST-READ summer titles below.
I let them know the Moscato is chilled and awaits them out on the patio. I call through the screen door from the kitchen, "I'll be right out, I'm just adding the final touches to dessert." I grab the EDWARDS® Dessert from the freezer and add a freshly cut lime.
When I bring the dessert out and show off the whipped crème rosettes, I get a suspicious glance. I reply, "The girls and I took a cupcake-piping class last month. It's amazing what you can do once you've got the basic technique down."
I get a "Yeah, right" expression from a few of the ladies who know me best, and the book discussion continues. As I serve up the Moscato, I hear a few "Mmmmms" between bites. This smooth, chilled dessert is just the right balance of sweet and tart on a cookie-crumble crust. It tastes like heaven and melts in your mouth on a warm afternoon.
Finally, one of the ladies takes a bite of the whipped crème topping. Her eyes furrow and she looks over at me, "This is REAL whipped crème. Seriously, did you make this?" I laugh, "Of course not. This is ahh-mazing."
I spill the beans and admit it's a one-two-thaw EDWARDS® Dessert. One of them asks, "Is that the one in the yellow box?" I nod but then grab the box from the kitchen counter to show them the new packaging. She replies, "Yeah, my kids love the chocolate one." We all bob our heads in silent agreement—Hershey's® Chocolate Cream Pie, YUM—and then the book discussion continues over the sound of clinking glasses and forks.
We end the evening exchanging books, summer wishes, and long hugs. I promise them I won't tab the pages of their beloved books, as I look gleefully at my new summer stash of titles I'm excited to read.
I was able to nab 4 of the 22 must-read books on my personal wish list for the upcoming summer, plus an extra handful of some other recommendations not on this list (it's good to have friends who stretch you to try reading—and eating!—something new).
- It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover
- Faithful, by Alice Hoffman
- Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly
- A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman
- Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
- The Red Queen Series, by Victoria Aveyard
- Caraval, by Stephanie Garber
- The Handmaid's Tale, by Margret Atwood
- Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
- Truly Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty
- The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
- Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
- The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
- After You, by Jojo Moyes
- Home Safe, by Elizabeth Berg
- The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
- The One That Got Away, by Bethany Chase
- The Book That Matters Most, by Ann Hood
- The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
- Delicious, by Ruth Reichl
- A Hundred Summers, by Beatriz Williams
Save this list for your book swap (or next trip to the library).
Ok, ok, I know... 22 books is a lot to read over one summer, but a girl can dream. After all, as Jeannette Walls wrote in The Glass Castle:
One benefit of Summer is that each day we have more light to read by.
So true, isn't it?
If you've got a top-title (or two!) for this summer, be sure to share it in the comments. I'd love to hear what you'll be reading when the sun sets on your pages.
Here's to you—my fellow bookworms—as you SWAP your way into summer.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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