How To Curate The Perfect Summer TBR List

By Kerri Jarema

For me, summer always feels like the best time to get a ton of reading done. As an adult, of course, this isn't always the case. Summer is full of the usual work and projects, added in with tons of activities, get-aways, and just being outside as much as possible. But, still I can't shake the risidual effects of 10 plus years in school and the annual Summer Reading List. Even when I slogged through the books that were chosen, I was never one of the kids who hated the idea assigned reading. That list was always exciting, full of the possibility of new favorite books to discover. And so every time May rolls around, I start feeling the itch to create my own Summer Reading List, more commonly known now as a TBR. And now they're about a million times better because, of course, I get to choose every single book myself. Oh, the power!

If you still feel excited at the prospect of a Summer TBR, you're not alone. And there are definitely some tips and tricks to making the utmost of these three months of reading, relaxation and adventure. Because the books you choose should only enhance your summer experience, not detract from it. Check out these nine ways to make the most of it by creating a well-rounded TBR.


Pick At Least One Book Over 300 Pages

If you're committing to making a seasonal TBR, you've got to get at least one hefty read on there. It can be easy to overlook these in our day to day reading, especially when we're working toward a yearly goal. But a big theme in a lot of these suggestions is letting the slower pace of the season guide your reading. You might still be working a nine to five, or hustling on side projects on the weekend, but summer is a time to put aside some obligations and just have fun. If reading is part of that equation for you, there is nothing more satisfying than spending an entire afternoon working through a book that's thicker than your skull. Take the entire summer to read it if you have to, but come September you won't regret immersing yourself in the rich worlds that come from huge books.


Diversify Your Selections

It's normal to want to pick up a fluffy romance or an obsession-worthy thriller during the summer months, but your TBR definitely deserves some diversity. Don't get stuck picking up only books that have been called "beach reads." Grab an intense fantasy, a heartwrenching historical fiction, a sexy thriller, a sweet contemporary. Mix in your YA with some adult and even some middle grade, if you're into it. Summer is the perfect time to explore all the different aspects of your reading taste. By not boxing yourself in, you'll never get bored, and you can pick a read dependent entirely on your reading mood and even the setting you're in.


Pick A Series To Binge Read

If you've been putting off cracking into a trilogy or series during the year, make the time now to get to them. It's fun to have a running set of characters and worlds throughout your seasonal reading experience. Pick up a book from the series each month to get the maximum effect. This way you won't feel pressured to read them all in a row, but you'll still get the full enjoyment of not having to wait for the next installment. But this story will definitely become linked with the summer you read it, so make sure it's one you've been dying to read and know you'll enjoy.


Read A Book With A Movie Or TV Counterpart And Then Watch It

Whether it's true or not, it always feels like there's just more time in the summer. The days are longer and (if you're like most of the population) the constant sunshine feeds you the energy needed to get more done. So why not put aside a little bit of that extra time to get some screen time in. A reeally fun way to do this is by reading a book or books that have an on-screen counterpart, and then watching it. This could be one of the book to movie adaptations coming out this year or one that's already hit the screen like 13 Reasons Why or Famous In Love. Go ahead, treat yourself to a Netflix binge or two, you deserve it.


Try Out Some Audiobooks

You're going to be outside a lot in the summer, and on the move much more than usual. Whether you're back to outdoor workouts, are traveling for day trips and vacations, or are just determined read in the park or on the beach, now is the best time to try out audiobooks. You might not always want to lug around that heavy hardcover, and it's definitely inconvenient to page turn on a run or in the middle of squats. Audiobooks allow you to multitask. Enjoy the beachy scenery while catching up on some backlist or even theme your reads for added fun: listen to Cheryl Strayed's Wild while on a hike or take in Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything while you wait in line for tickets to the film.


Add On A Re-Read Or Two

Nothing makes me feel more summery than nostalgia for seasons past, and books play a huge role in that. Harken back to the times when summer really was all about fun and freedom by picking up the books you read in grammar school or high school. For some of us this might mean Harry Potter (because when aren't we re-reading Harry Potter) and for others it might mean teen summer classics like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Whatever you choose, you'll be reminded of the sweet seasonal feelings of having no obligations or responsibilities besides fun and relaxation. You're feeling less stressed already, aren't you?


Take A Vacation Through Your Reading

Not all of of us will be so lucky as to take a vacation this summer. So why not head to some different destinations in your reading. There are tons of books set in other countries, full of vibrant scenery, cool new customs, and stories that are as interesting as they are romantic and adventurous. Take a dream vacation to Paris with Anna and the French Kiss, take a road trip with Amy & Roger's Epic Detour or wander through Tuscany with Love & Gelato. Whether you're a YA lover or read strictly adult, there's something set in a country you're dying to explore... and, for now, you can do it all from the comfort of your own home.


Read A Book Whose Author Is Having An Event Near You... Then Go To It

A huge part of summer is getting outside and shaking off the habit of hibernation we all pick up during the winter months. One of the best ways to mix your reading goals with your "go out and do something" goals is by attending bookish events. Why not add a book or two to your TBR based on whether the author will be visiting your town or local bookstore soon? You'll be checking out some exciting new releases, getting to meet some of your favorite authors, and connect with locals who are fans of the same books as you. Bring a friend or just go hang out with some new people.


Make Some Room For Sponataneity

The best part of summer has always been the sense of freedom. It's the season where you can go almost anywhere and do almost anything, so you should allow for that same feeling in your reading. Leave some space to find a new read at a bookstore you visit on vacation, or join in on a random buddy read or book club with your friends. Use your reading to make some fun summer memories. Not only do you get to enjoy great books, but every time you see them on your shelves, it will remind you of the fun of the season.