With summer right around the corner, it’s time to start planning vacations and dusting off long-forgotten piles of books that have been sitting on the bedside table waiting to be opened. If you’re like me and love nothing more than sitting in the garden stuck in a good book, or even better on a beach soaking up the warmth of the sun after a seemingly endless winter, you’re in the right place. I’ve spent my years working as a librarian and like to think that I can recommend a good book to readers all around the world. I decided to share my list of best summer reads in 2022 for people who love to find good reads and new exciting authors.
The summertime is when I gobble up books like they are going out of fashion. And since the pandemic, I have found myself absolutely adoring audiobooks. I spend my mornings listening to audiobooks as I go on my morning walk and they make household chores more enjoyable.
I’ve compiled a list of my favorite books that I’ve enjoyed over the years and make great summer reads. The second part of this post will focus on the books that I’ve added to my list of summer reads for 2022 that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Let’s dive into the best summer reads in 2022.
Note: As a librarian, I would love that you consider checking out these books in your local library or support your local bookstore by purchasing a copy from there. I have included Amazon links in the descriptions of the books mentioned below and will receive a small commission at no expense to you if you do purchase from the links below.
The Best Summers Reads in 2022
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Recently made into an Apple show, Pachinko follows a multigenerational Korean story from the 1900s through to the 2010s. Perhaps the most fascinating part of this incredible novel is Min Jin Lee’s ability to capture a period of history that rarely makes it to mainstream publishing, that of the Japanese invasion of Korea and subsequent treatment of the Korean people in Japan.
Pachinko is a hard novel to forget and its sweeping story is an incredible page-turner.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
One of my favorite summer reads from last year was Malibu Rising, the story of the fabulous Riva family. Set over the course of an entire day, we follow the Riva siblings who are the children of Mick Riva, a Mick Jagger-esque character who is world-famous. Their relationship with their father has been tempestuous at the best of times and it all comes to a thrilling and fiery conclusion at the end of the biggest party in Malibu.
Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s previous books, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones & The Six will love this 80s-centric novel. One of the best summer reads in 2022 for nostalgia and shoulder pads.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab
Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil in the 18th century and in return, he grants a life for Addie where everyone she meets will forget her. Set over a 300-year period, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a story that spans history and explores the consequences of what life for an eternity looks like where no one can remember who you are. That is until one day, a chance encounter in a bookstore leaves Addie reeling when she meets someone who remembers meeting her.
Fans of The Time Travellers Wife will love this stunning novel by V.E Schwab.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Dolly Alderton could rewrite the phone book and I would purchase it from my local bookstore. Everything I Know About Love is Dolly’s first book after being a serial columnist for The Sunday Times and is a stunningly beautiful book on friendship and love. Her memoir on relationships failed and successful as well as navigating the transition from young adult to adult is the book that all Millennials need to read. Dolly’s life is achingly familiar and each piece of writing that she produces, either for her column or for her books is a small stroke of genius.
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
I hesitated to pick up The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary dismissing it as fluff. Whilst it is definitely a very sweet book that follows the lives of Tiffy, a woman who has just had a truly awful break-up and needs a place to share asap. Leon works evenings and has decided to rent out his bed in his apartment for extra cash. Their paths never cross as they live their two separate lives, yet somehow over the weeks and months that pass, Tiffy & Leon start to fall in love with one another with sweet notes and text messages.
Beth O’Leary took a truly preposterous idea and made it completely work. The build-up of the characters passing each other like ships in the night leaves the reader awaiting their first physical meet-up. Adorable and very fluffy, it’s brilliantly written and incredibly satisfying.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is the remarkable tale of Vignes’s twin sisters who journey on two very different paths after running away from their small black community town. Light enough to pass, one of the sisters makes the decision to alter her life by passing as a white woman, whereas the other sister returns home and lives her life as a proud black woman. We follow the lives of the sisters and their decisions over a 40 year period until a fateful chance encounter.
Powerful and page-turning, this glimpse into the Vignes sisters is a story you won’t forget anytime soon.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett was the first audiobook that managed to hold my attention. It also helps that Tom Hanks was the narrator of this incredible story about a house and the family who occupy it. It’s a truly special story about siblings Danny & Maeve and their relationship with their father and the house he proudly owned – The Dutch House. I can’t recommend a better book to start listening to than the Dutch House performed by Tom Hanks, it’s a masterpiece from start to finish.
Honor by Thrity Umrigar
Honor by Thrity Umrigar is a hard book at times. The subject matter is almost impossible to comprehend and much like the protagonist, Smita who has returned to her birthplace, India, she finds the place impossibly foreign. A journalist who has avoided India since her family migrated when she was a child, returns to help a friend cover the story of Meena, a woman whose husband was burned alive for marrying a Hindu woman. We follow Smita as she struggles to understand rural India and the religious persecution that Muslims and Hindus have living side by side.
We are angered when Smita feels the injustice and disbelief that violence against women and men can still exist in such savage ways in a modern country like India. Thrity Umrigar has created a hard story that feels like a very important narrative to have in our lives.
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel is one of those novels that you wish was 300 pages longer. It’s the shortest book on the list at 250 pages, but it packs a punch. Talia is the daughter of illegal Colombian migrants who moved to the US before she was born. A citizen of the US, Talia was sent back to Colombia with her father at a young age and has never known the life of her mother and siblings who are American-raised. Days before she is due to rejoin the family she has never known in the US, Talia has to make a daring escape from a correctional facility where she was being held for a violent crime (a totally justified crime btw) and make it back to Bogata in time for her flight.
I loved this short novel and gobbled it up in one sitting. The best summer read in 2022 for people short on time and in need of an excellent quick read.
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Antony Doerr
Once again Antony Doerr has created a masterpiece in Cloud Cuckoo Land that connects three interweaving storylines set over hundreds of years masterfully together. The story of Aethon connects Anna who lives during Constantinople’s siege in the 13th century, to Zeno in present-day Idaho who is putting on a play of Aethon’s works in a public library to an interstellar spaceship where Konstance listens to her father’s retelling of the story of Aethon.
Doerr has created an incredible narrative that is so beautifully told you’ll find it hard to put down.
What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty
I’m a big fan of Lainne Moriarty and her books. All set in Australia with memorable characters, Moriarty has a solid back catalog of lesser-known titles after she exploded in popularity with The Husbands Secret, Big Little Lies and Apples Never Fall.
My favorite of her titles found in her back catalog is extraordinarily sweet, What Alice Forgot. Alice is 29 years old, madly in love, and expecting her first child. Until she hits her head when at the gym and wakes up in a hospital bed a decade older. And instead of finding herself blissfully happy, she’s in fact pretty miserable.
You won’t help but be caught up in Alice’s tale and like Liane Moriarty’s books you’ll end up roaring with laughter. One of the best summer reads for a day at the beach.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Fredrik Backman has the extraordinary ability to capture everyday people and create the most fascinating stories about ordinary people incredibly exciting. A failed bank robber holds hostage a collection of people from all walks of life. As we spend the day with these characters in Anxious People, we learn of their fears and the things that make these people extraordinary.
A superb story from start to finish. If you’re reading Fredrik Backman for the first time, you are in for an absolute treat.
The Best Non-Fiction Summer Reads in 2022
Me by Elton John
Elton John has one of the richest and most fascinating lives and lived to tell it. His music is synonymous with catchy lyrics and wild outfits and the epitome of a showman. Elton John’s superb autobiography is an incredible piece of work that charts his very humble beginnings and follows his stars trajectory as he reached worldwide fame. Not shying away from his love of drugs and failed relationships, this is an unflinching and honest account of his journey from addict to recovering addict and family man.
Calypso by David Sedaris
David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers on the planet. It also helps that his family is a bunch of eccentrics that are humorous in their own ways. Sedaris manages to capture the mundane and seemingly effortless make light of situations that most people would dismiss. In his collection of short stories, we follow David Sedaris purchasing a beach house for his family to relax in, until that turns out to be a terrible idea and having surgery to remove a tumor, which he names and carries around in a jar on his book tour before feeding to a snapping turtle.
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
Patrick Radden Keefe has written one of the most comprehensive books on the Sacklers, the creators and family behind the opioid epidemic that created one of the most potent drugs in the United States – Oxycontin. Radden Keefe charts the dynasty from its humble beginnings in the 1930s when Arthur Sackler and his two brothers rose from the streets of Brooklyn to create an empire that would destroy millions of lives. Empire of Pain is a fascinating look at the Sackler family and holds no punches.
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
The brilliant journalist Jon Ronson examines the lives of people who have effectively been ‘canceled’. In today’s culture where anyone can easily be canceled, Ronson looks at and interviews people who have experienced being shamed in public for matters such as plagiarism or tweeting an offensive joke. Although the book was written in 2015 it feels even more relevant and timely considering what is happening in 2022.