My 10 Favorite Books to Read Outside (because the weather is nice and even bookworms need a tan)

The heat. The bugs. The sunburn.

Isn’t summer great?!

Olaf from Frozen in summer

But really, though.

There’s just something about the warmer air and cool nights that make me want to lounge outside with a good book and a sweet tea.

I’m teaming up with Top Ten Tuesday again this week. Technically, the prompt was to list 10 summer beach reads, but Iowa is lacking just a bit in the beach department. Sooo, here are the 10 books that make me want to read outside all day.

Patrick Stewart telling it like it is

We were Liars | E. Lockhart

(best read on a beach during a warm day with a slight breeze)

we were liars.jpgDuring her 15th summer, Cadence Sinclair Eastman suffers a head injury on the private island her grandfather owns. Two summers later, she tries to fill in the missing pieces of her memory, but the adults won’t talk about what happened.

We Were Liars takes place on an island near Cape Cod during the summer. It’s a quick read, full of mystery and a surprisingly tragic ending. And as an added bonus, there’s some of the Bard’s King Leer weaved through the plot. All the makings of a perfect book to read while curled up on the beach.

Tom Sawyer | Mark TwainThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer

(best read in a tree with your shoes off)

A carefree boy who tricks his friends into doing his chores, sneaks around a graveyard, and attends his own funeral – what’s not to love? If reading Tom Sawyer doesn’t make you want to go adventuring and spelunking, I’m not sure what will.

old yellerOld Yeller | Fred Gipson

(best read sitting in the grass with man’s best friend – optional: listen to Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”)

The best dog book ever written. And probably the saddest, too. This coming of age story follows Travis and his dog as they take care of their family while Travis’s dad is away on a cattle drive. Grab a box of Kleenex and hug your dog before you start this one.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee

(best read sitting under a tree drinking a Coke)

There is nothing better than the imaginary games we playedto kill a mockingbird in the summer as children. To Kill a Mockingbird has some rather deep themes, but the carefree games Scout plays with her brother and Dill make this a great book to read when you want to remember your childhood.

The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett

(best read on a bench in a garden)

the secret gardenThis one is another story perfect for remembering the carefree days of our childhood summers. Mary Lennox is a little punk who has to live with her uncle and her punk cousin Collin (Note: I do realize I probably shouldn’t call them punks – Mary’s parents died and Collin is deathly sick – but they act like terrible children, so . . . ) With the help of a neighborhood buddy, the kids transform a hidden garden into something beautiful.

Peter Pan | J. M. Barrie

peter pan

(best read on a cool night when the fireflies are out)

We all know the theme of Peter Pan – never grow up – so of course, this is a perfect story to read when you want to transport yourself into a world of imagination and wonder. Frolic with the Lost Boys and the fairies, and explore with the Indians and pirates. Caution: You may long for your childhood.

redwallRedwall | Brian Jacques

(best read in the morning with a cup of tea and a scone)

If you like sword fights and riddles, here is a book for you. Join Matthias as he begins an epic quest to protect Redwall Abbey. Throughout the pages, Jaques rich descriptions of Redwall’s meals will make you feel like you’re sitting at the table with the characters, singing and celebrating.

The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgeraldthe great gatsby

(best read after a party or when throwing shirts around willy-nilly)

Unrequited love, parties, murder – basically, the lifestyle of the rich and famous. At least during the Jazz Age. Nick Carraway tells the story of Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s famous novel. There are multiple scenes where Nick uses the sweltering summer heat to set the tone for suffocating choices and consequences. The Great Gatsby is a short read that will pull you into the Roaring 20s.

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood | Howard Pyle

(best read when you feel like causing mischief or feel like the government is corrupt)

robin hoodWho doesn’t want to read stories of the famous outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor? We all remember the furry fox from Disney’s classic and his band of merry men. Summer is the perfect time to join Robin and Little John in their many antics throughout Sherwood Forest.

Walden | Henry David Thoreau


(best read by a quiet pond when you’re contemplating life)

Here’s a book for you more philosophical types. In this book, Thoreau records his reflections of living in a cabin with the barest of necessities near Walden Pond (located in – Although Walden takes a lot of thought to read, Thoreau makes interesting arguments for a minimalist way of life.

There you have it – My favorite books to read outside.

So, get out there and read a book. And let me know about it! I’d love to chat with you about your favorite summer reads!

What about you?? What’s your favorite book to read in the summer?! Do you like to read outside, or are you more of a ‘stay inside where it’s cool and there aren’t any bugs’ type of person?? Let’s chat below!!

2 thoughts on “My 10 Favorite Books to Read Outside (because the weather is nice and even bookworms need a tan)

  1. I love your descriptions of when the book is ‘best read.’ XD Especially for Robin Hood. I laughed aloud (garnering a weird look from my cat, who already thinks I’m crazy …).


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