Summer here on Fidalgo Island can feel just about perfect. Long summer days are followed by backlit nights as the sun hovers just below the horizon. All day and all night, the changing canvas of color across the sky is reflected in the waters below. Cool breezes smell of cedar, pine, creosote, salt, seaweed, and far away.
People here enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, sailing, surfing, fishing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and camping. But my favorite outdoor activity is reading!
Where are my favorite places to read on Fidalgo Island?
The city park, where I can stretch out on my back on a bench and alternate between reading my novel and watching white, fluffy clouds form their own stories.
My own sunny deck overlooking the Salish Sea, with my dogs sprawled nearby and a cup of cold brew coffee within reach. If I glance up from the page at the right moment, I might see a passing ferry, sailboat, floatplane, or pod of orcas.
The sandy beach, where I brush a batch of drying kelp aside, rest my back against a salt-encrusted piece of driftwood, and listen to conversations between sea gulls.
The local marina, where the world comes to me in such varied and beautiful ways, I don’t get much reading done!
And, of course, in bed at the end of the day, when the setting sun is experimenting with a palette of pink, orange, and turquoise, and the cool air drifting through my open window smells distinctly of happy endings.
What are my favorite books to read in the summer? What books do I reach for mid-winter, when I crave a reminder of what summer feels like?
All of the wonderful feelings of summer are intrinsically woven throughout the pages of these books. You’ll recognize many of the titles from my Library. Others might be new to you. And I’m sure I’ve left out some perfectly summery books, so drop me a note and tell me about your favorite books to read in summer!
Fiction for Summer
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is a well-told story set on a remote island and features quirky characters. Colleen Oakley finds the perfect balance of presenting a highly entertaining story while nudging readers to think about the deeper questions in life.
The Beach House series by Mary Alice Monroe is set in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, and features the rescue and rehabilitation of loggerhead sea turtles. (Or, for a summery standalone novel by the same author, read The Summer Guests.)
Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise series. Friends don’t let friends read this trilogy out of order!
The Return by Nicholas Sparks. Beekeeping, friendship, and second chances are themes in this novel about a veteran recovering from life-altering injuries sustained while serving in the military. Keep your tissue box handy!
A Walk Along The Beach by Debbie Macomber. This story about the complexities of sisterhood will make you laugh—and cry.
Terri Blackstock’s edge-of-your-seat Christian suspense novel, Cape Refuge, is about two sisters who are about as alike as salt and pepper.
Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. Set in Hawaii more than a century ago, this unforgettable historical fiction novel is a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A summer reading list wouldn’t be complete without this incredible story!
Non-Fiction for Summer
In 2006, at the age of twenty-five, Liz Clark set sail, alone, from Santa Barbara to the South Pacific. Swell is Clark’s memoir and spans the next ten years of sailing and surfing.
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. When the unconventional Durrell family decides they can no longer endure the gray English climate, they sell their house and relocate to the sunny Greek isle of Corfu. (This fun memoir was made into a popular British comedy-drama.)
Since 1964, Waves and Beaches by Willard Bascom and Kim McCoy has been a handy reference for surfers, sailors, oceanographers, and others who love the sea. An updated edition, published by outdoor gear company Patagonia, includes beautiful new photography and a tough cover designed for longevity on a boat or in a beach cottage.
The poetry and images curated by Joanne Dugan in Summertime feature the many ways we enjoy water during the warmest months of the year.
A definitive reference for beachcombers, Pure Sea Glass surveys the history of glass manufacturing, explains the weathering process that creates frosted gems from fragile shards, and offers tips on how and where to find the best pieces.