The Best Books You Read in Summer 2019

From the office to the beach, these were the books by your side.

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  • Photo Credit: Jamie Street / Unsplash

As always, the end of summer is bittersweet. After jamming countless memories into the warmer months, it’s nearing time to retire your bathing suit and flip flops until next year. And after tackling our summer reading challenge, you may be wondering what’s next for your TBR list.

Not to worry! We’ve compiled a list of even more books to keep you going into fall—and this time, it’s your fellow readers who’ve shared their recommendations. On our Facebook page, we asked you to tell us about this summer’s hottest reads, and we’ve created a curated list based on all the responses. Some of these books will come as no surprise—for example, it’s no secret that Where the Crawdads Sing dominated bestseller lists this summer. However, we suspect you’ll find some hidden gems among the ranks of our followers’ favorites. From new releases to classics that you dusted off and rediscovered, here are the top books our readers couldn’t put down this summer.

Related: Reader's Choice: The Best Books of Summer 2020 

best books you read summer 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing

By Delia Owens

At once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder set in 1960s North Carolina.

"It is about a girl who raises herself and how she gets through life. Beautifully written. It's a book I read from the library and then went and bought. It is that good." —Pate

"It is outstanding and one you will not forget!" —Linda

"Read it 3 times! Love it!" —Deborah

Related: 7 Murder Mystery Books Like Where the Crawdads Sing 

best books you read summer 2019


By Tara Westover

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

"I've passed it on to my entire family & everyone loves it!" —Barb

"Fantastic!" —Donna

best books you read summer 2019


By Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

"I rarely read nonfiction but enjoyed Michelle Obama's Becoming." —Kathi

Related: The Complete Oprah’s Book Club List 

best books you read summer 2019

Slow Horses

By Mick Herron

The first book in the CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning British espionage series starring a team of MI5 agents united by one common bond: They've screwed up royally and will do anything to redeem themselves. 

"I tried to read it years ago and never got past page 50. Had another go this summer and frankly became obsessed. Sometimes books just have to patiently lie in wait for me to get a clue." —L.E.

best books you read summer 2019

Me Before You

By Jojo Moyes

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars, discover the love story that captured over 20 million hearts.

"What a beautiful and insightful book. I was recommended to read it from a friend and I loved it. A book that stays with you long after you put it down." —Susan

best books you read summer 2019

The Overstory

By Richard Powers

This 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world.

"It's absolutely brilliant, and perhaps the best novel I've ever had the pleasure of reading." —Annie

Related: 6 Rachel Carson Books That Will Make You See the World With New Eyes 

best books you read summer 2019

Year One

By Nora Roberts

An epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…

"I couldn’t put it down. I love all of her books and can’t wait to read the second book of this series." —Eileen

best books you read summer 2019

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

"So well written." —Deborah

"Heartbreaking!" —Vicky

best books you read summer 2019


By Alexi Zentner

Told with a ferocious gaze directed at contemporary America's darkest corners, Copperhead asks uncomfortable questions about the price we pay—and the mistakes we'll repeat—when we live under the weight of a history we've yet to reckon with.

"Most disturbing but engaging. It brought me to tears—I’ll be reflecting on the issues for many days to come!" —Donna

best books you read summer 2019

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

A #1 New York Times bestseller, Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year, and soon to be a major motion picture, this unforgettable novel of love and strength in the face of war has enthralled a generation.

"Kept me thinking about the characters long after I’d finished. Humanity owes a debt to those resistance fighters in WW2." —Susan

"My favorite book ever!" —Nancy

Related: Hope Takes Flight in this Debut World War II Novel 

best books you read summer 2019


By Margaret Walker

Weaving her own family’s oral history with thirty years of research, Margaret Walker’s novel brings the everyday experiences of slaves to light.

"I wish I’d read it sooner." —Angela

best books you read summer 2019

The Other Americans

By Laila Lalami

A timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

"Gives the views of not only people from different cultures but also people who are discriminated against for different reasons such as body size." —Sharon

Related: 13 Powerful Books About Immigration 

best books you read summer 2019

Death Comes for the Archbishop

By Willa Cather

Willa Cather's best known novel is an epic—almost mythic—story of a single human life lived simply in the silence of the southwestern desert.

"An extraordinary and beautifully written novel about a simple man. Unusually evocative and full of tenderness." —Renee

Featured photo: Jamie Street / Unsplash