Seventh-Annual PAN Summer Reading List

Ariel Burch Novak

Like beach days and Summer Fridays, the annual Summer Reading List has become a seasonal tradition here at PAN. For the seventh year, we’re recapping the recent reads that we loved, and the titles that we look forward to picking up this summer. While themes have emerged in previous year’s lists, in 2018 there’s truly something for everyone. Let’s break down the top picks.

top novels for the summer

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Thrillers are a popular category this year. Lee Child’s thriller catalog about vagabond good-guy Jack Reacher was selected as a perfect weekend beach getaway companion. Other books on our list include the psychological thriller Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott, and Tara Isabella Burton’s debut novel Social Creature.

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice merges the worlds of thrillers and non-fiction; as does the true crime thriller I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, which includes an introduction from PAN Summer Reading List perennial favorite Gillian Flynn.

We’re taking some time to brush up on our knowledge of history, the economy and politics with books including Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Yaroufakis; Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former head of the Sierra Club Carl Pope; War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow; and Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.

We’re planning to read several books about business and leadership. Many of us are big fans of Gary Vaynerchuk and are reading his newest book, Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why is coming up on its tenth anniversary and remains relevant – for those that read it early in their career, reading it again could provide a fresh perspective. We’re also reading Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else) by Kevin Auletta; Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from The Second City by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton; and, Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World, which includes advice by the former communications director for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Palmieri.

I just read the memoir Educated by Tara Westover, The New York Times Book Club pick for May. It’s an inspiring and moving memoir in the vein of Hillbilly Elegy (one of last year’s top picks), about a young woman who overcomes adversity to attend Cambridge and Harvard University. We’re also reading Maria Shriver’s New York Times best-selling memoir I've Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.

Novels, both new and classic, also top our lists. The popularity of the Hulu series has prompted reads – or re-reads – of Margaret Atwood’s classic The Handmaid’s Tale. We’re also reading The Sparsholt Affair by Man Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst, and R.O. Kwon’s debut novel The Incendiaries. Celeste Ng is trending this year, with several folks planning to read her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, and her new book, Little Fires Everywhere.

Historical fiction fans are reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters, and In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear. The Outlander series also made this year’s list, with people planning to binge-read several of the books during their downtime.

And, it wouldn’t be a Summer Reading List without some great beach reads! Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan topped many lists and caught Hollywood’s attention as well – the film version is slated to be released in August. We’re also looking forward to reading When Life Gives you Lululemons, the new novel by Lauren Weisberger of The Devil Wears Prada fame; Eight Hundred Grapes, a family drama set in Sonoma, California by Laura Dave; and Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz, which is told entirely through emails, texts, DMs and other modern forms of communication.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Let us know via Twitter @PANcomm!

Looking for more Summer Reading lists? Check out the below:

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