Jezebel Editor-in-Chief Emma Carmichael, sitting in her vintage book suitcase. Image via Shutterstock.

Summer is officially here, and with any luck, that means you’ll have a little more free time to spend catching up on all those books stacking up on your bedside table! Inspired by a delightful post from one of our favorite former Hills stars, the gleefully literate staff of Jezebel has decided to share its summer to-read list with all of you!


1. Paula Hawkins - Into the Water

Though we didn’t read Hawkins’s monster-hit 2015 thriller The Girl On the Train, we did love the movie. (Emily Blunt totally deserved a Golden Globe nomination for her work as an unreliable alcoholic who may or may not have killed a young woman.) We’re very excited to check out Hawkins’s follow-up. After all, no summer activity is more enjoyable than a trip Into the Water!

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(Check out our very own Stassa Edwards’s interview with Hawkins here. I’ve had it tabbed for weeks!)

2. George Orwell - 1984

I know this is probably the book you were assigned to read in high school (*cough* SparkNotes *cough*), but sometimes you have better things to do than read an old book about a year you probably don’t even remember! But we’ve heard great things about this novel about the year that brought us Ghostbusters, Amadeus, and the iconic album Purple Rain. (R.I.P. Prince!) The New York Times called it a “must-read,” and that’s good enough for us!

3. Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri - Dragons Love Tacos

I plan on buying this precious-looking book for my nephews this summer, but would be LYING if I told you I didn’t wanna crack it open and give it a read myself before I hand it over! Thanks to Game of Thrones’s iconic character (and, let’s be honest, rightful Queen of Westeros) Daenerys, dragons are all the rage in popular culture these days. And tacos will never go out of style. (Which reminds me...it’s almost lunch time.)

4. William L. Shirer and Ron Rosenbaum - The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

They say those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and you know what I have no interest in living through? Anything REmotely resembling Nazi Germany! No thank you. If you get this in hardcover (which we always recommend for shelfie value), beware! It’s a big one, so be sure to carry it around in a tote that can handle the literal (and metaphorical) weight! We think it would look great in the What Would Dolly Do? tote from Draper James!

5. Rachel Weber (Editor), The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning

Remember when you majored in communications and media studies and your parents were like, “How the hell will you get a job that will provide for you later in life with a media studies degree?” We hate to say “they told you so”...so we won’t! 😂 Fortunately it’s never too late to pivot into another career, and according to my father (an urban planner) there’s no better career than urban planning. We’re really looking forward to seeing if this one has a twist ending—hopefully one that ends with a secure future for me!

6. Vanna White - Vanna Speaks

There’s a great line in an episode of The Golden Girls in which Dorthy tells her ex-husband’s distant Czechoslovakian cousin Magda have this exchange:

Dorothy: Magda, there are two books that I want you to read. The first one is Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. I think it will give you some idea of what freedom is all about. And the second is Vanna White’s autobiography.

Magda: Why should I read this?

Dorothy: It’s just a hell of a book.

If we can’t trust a book recommendation from Dorthy Zbornak, whom can we trust?!

7. Sandra Shillington - Airbnb Toolbox: How to Become an Airbnb Host, Make Money on Airbnb + Manage Your Vacation Rental

OK, so let’s say you don’t want to go back to school and get a degree in urban planning because it’ll cost too much money, your parents have already budgeted out the rest of their retirement and can’t loan you any more cash, and the thought of being in college with a bunch of twenty-somethings gives you agita. Uhhhh, think McFly! Start an Airbnb business! I’m thinking that if I give this a read and figure out my financial situation over a summer of beach trips, I’ll have a good enough foundation to start up my first rental by the fall! (I can already guarantee one thing: my Airbnb will DEFINITELY have an Apple TV with all the channels.)

8. Robert Caro - The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Book One: The Path to Power, Book Two: Means of Ascent, Book Three: Master of the Senate, Book Four: The Passage of Power)

You’ve probably seen a copy of Robert Caro’s The Power Broker in all your friends’ apartments, but did you know he’s written about more than just urban planning? (Over it!) This four-volume series about Lyndon Johnson is apparently a wild ride, and critics were so into it that they awarded him the freakin’ Pulitzer Prize! Not too shabby, if you ask us.

9. Steve Scott - How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers

It couldn’t hurt!

10. Lianne Moriarty - Big Little Lies

We know you watched the HBO limited series of the same name, but did you know it was based on a book by author Liane Moriarty? Stephen King, another writer with an amazing reputation, called it “a hell of a good book,” so we’re definitely considering adding it to our Kindles this summer. Who wouldn’t want to spend a little more time with Reese, Nicole, and our Queen Laura Dern?