Darling Summer Reading List | Darling Magazine

Among road trips, sunscreen and BBQ’s, a few new reads are a must for summertime bliss. We’ve rolled up our sleeves and searched through hundreds of the latest titles, along with a few classics that have been on our own lists for some time. The books below have been carefully selected for each of our Darling personas but we encourage you to branch out into an alternative persona’s selection, as well. With a varied mix of fiction and non-fiction, you’ll find commentaries on gender roles in the workforce and explorations into America’s home kitchens, sweeping historical fiction, along with countless in-depth looks into the human spirit. We can only hope you get lost this summer within the pages of some new bookshelf treasures. Happy reading and exploring Darling, we’ll see you in September!

The Achiever

Book: Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead
Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Three decades after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, their counterparts still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

The Intellectual

Book: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Author: Therese Ann Fowler

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability. What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

The Dreamer

Book: And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hasseini (past works include The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)

Khaled Hosseini, the bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

The Hostess

Book: Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation
Author: Michael Pollan (past works include: The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In the Defense of Food)

Here, Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen and discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements—fire, water, air, and earth—to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer.

The Confidant

Book: The Interestings
Author: Meg Wolitzer

The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. In the summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The Stylist

Book: From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant
Author: Alex Gilvarry

Boyet Hernandez is a small man with a big American dream when he arrives in New York in 2002, fresh out of fashion school in the Philippines. But on the brink of fame and fortune, there comes instead a knock on the door in the middle of the night: the flamboyant ex-catholic is swept to America’s most notorious prison and locked away indefinitely to discover his link to a terrorist plot. Now, in his six-by-eight-foot cell, Boy prepares for the tribunal of his life with this intimate confession. From borrowed mattress to converted toothpick factory loft, from custom suit commissions to high-end retail, we are immersed in a wonderland of soirees, runways, and hipster romance in twenty-first-century Gotham.

The Beautician

Book: Bernice Bob’s Her Hair Short and Other Short Stories
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald (past works include The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and The Damned and This Side of Paradise)
Fiction-Short Stories

Fitzgerald masterfully portrayed the manners and morals of the wealthy and glamorous during the Roaring Twenties. This anthology includes 6 of his most popular stories: “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” the title tale, “The Offshore Pirate,” “The Ice Palace,” “The Jelly Bean,” and “May Day.

The Explorer

Book: Paris: The Novel
Author: Edward Rutherford (past works include Best-Sellers Sarum and New York: The Novel)
Historical Fiction

Bestselling author Edward Rutherfurd has gained millions of readers with his sweeping, multigenerational dramas that illuminate the greatest achievements and travails throughout history. In this saga of love, war, art, and intrigue, Rutherfurd has set his sights on the most magnificent city in the world: Paris.

Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of divided loyalties, passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city. Rutherfurd tells a story that captures all the glory of the City of Light. Paris: The Novel wonderfully illuminates hundreds of years of Parisian history and brings the sights, scents, and tastes of Paris to sumptuous life.


  1. I finished reading Z:A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald on Sunday (great book) and started Lean In. Great, great list!

  2. I’ve been meaning to compile a Summer Reading list. Now I’ve got some great options for this summer! Thanks, Darling.

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