Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes


Here in Southeast Ohio, we’ve had a very cold May. It’s finally beginning to get to normal late Spring temperatures. The pool opened on schedule in spite of COVID-19. The beach at the Lake is open, too. People are desperate for Summer! I’m being careful. I’ll settle for books with a summer vibe for now.

These are not ranking in any order.


The title makes me think this book is set in July! Campaigning features in it too and that always seems like a summer thing (though it isn’t only a summer thing).

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston



Here’s my review from my old blog, October 28, 2014:

I missed the part of the review that said this was for Middle School or early High School, but no matter–it is excellent. It captures the mood of hope that infused the Freedom Summer volunteers as well as the creepy fear that engulfed the state of Mississippi and the entire old south in general in the early 1960s. This is the type book that would get a class of disdainful history students to sit up and take notice. I cannot say enough to recommend this book to its age group–or to adults who don’t know where to start in understanding this frightening time in our history. The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell. (Nonfiction)




This place was in the news recently as the spot where you are most likely to catch COVID-19 iirc. I’ve always liked Bill Geist’s pieces on CBS. This one is ok. Not great, but OK. Lake of the Ozarks by Bill Geist.



I suppose its the mention of Grand Isle–a resort, that makes me think this book is set in the summer. To be honest, I no longer remember what time of year it was set in–or if that is even mentioned! I read it in the Fall of 1980. The Awakening by Kate Chopin.




Most Americans of my age or older know that the battle of Gettysburg was fought in the Civil War over July 1 to July 3, 1863. I don’t think they teach the Civil War anymore. My children go everything from the ancient Egyptians thru 9/11 in ONE school year. Trust me–these are the dates. The movie, Gettysburg with Martin Sheen, is almost as fabulous as this book. But they show them all in those heavy wool frock coat-uniforms or the enlisted men in blue wool (my family fought for the north). I just think how hellishly hot that was! And the smoke, the heat, the stench–ugh. Gettysburg is a summer word to me. The Killer Angels by Michael Sahara.



Barefoot at the Lake by Bruce Fogle, is one of the best summer books ever.  As wonderful a childhood memoir as you could hope to find. You can read my review here.




A hot summer in a small town is enlivened for a young girl when the chain gang comes to town. Her descriptions of the hot days–make sure you have a cold drink handy, ok? As Hot As It Was You Ought To Thank Me by Nanci Kincaid.



A nonfiction choice is Alex Kotlowitz’s American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago which is, sadly, already appropriate reading for this summer. (Note: I hate the new paperback cover. It is far too generic). Koltowitz is the author of the classic look at urban life There Are No Children Here which Oprah Winfrey turned into a movie. Read my review here.



The Dry Grass of August by Mary Jean Mayhew

The story of a family’s trip in the South with their “colored” maid in 1954. You can read my full review here.



Hermie–who wouldn’t love him, right? The war is on, he’s a bit too young, his Dad wants his stupid Time magazine–and then…THERE SHE IS! Cue the music! (If you’re my age you know that music.  One of the tenderest coming of age books ever. A dear friend cites this as one of her favorite books. I remember it as the movie of the summer (at least in my mind it was in the summer) one year when I was in Middle School. The book is better than the movie, of course, but both are worth it.  The Summer of 42 by Herman Raucher. (No, I don’t like movie tie-in covers. I make an exception here because this was the cover of my copy all those years ago).


Bonus Book




When I think of summer, this is THE summer book to end all summer books. I was taken to the beach in Chicago on Lake Michigan when I was the perfect age for this book. The memory of the beach trip is gone–except for the smell of the dead fish that washed up on the beach. But, I’ve never stopped loving Harry! My kids and I read all his books often.

Harry By The Sea by Gene Zion, pictures by Margaret Blay Graham



Check out the rules at That Artsy Reader Girl and join in next week!



Bring your children to the laptop and let them listen to Harry By the Sea!


17 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Give Off Summer Vibes

  1. The Freedom Summer Murders sounds excellent.

    And it sounds like southern Ontario had a very similar May to yours. I wonder what summer will be like for this part of the world? 🙂

    My TTT .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awww, Harry by the Sea is so cute 🙂 Sad that Civil War isn’t taught much anymore. I taught summer courses on it years ago. So many kids (especially boys) were absolutely fascinated. I like the Lake of the Ozarks cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m surprised your pools are open. Ours are opening late and you can only swim by appointment, along with other restrictions. I’m glad I’ve got a pool in my backyard, but my kids will miss being able to go to the public pools (which have slides, diving boards, etc.) whenever they want.

    Enjoy your summer reading!



  4. Red White and Royal Blue looks nice! And I haven’t heard of Summer of 42 but now I’m curious.

    It’s starting to feel like summer around here too. It got in the 80’s today here in Michigan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to read Harry the Dirty Dog with my kids, constantly! But I never discovered this Harry book. I think I’ll have to look for it at the library (when it finally reopens), even though my baby is now 17 years old. 🙂 Great list — I like that you went with summer settings, rather than just beaches and sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

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