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This fun summer reading challenge for adults makes reading fun for adults who are busy but want to read more in the summer. It’s the most simplified version of a reading challenge for everyone: novices can tackle a reasonable amount of beach reading during lazy, hazy days, and the most avid readers can maintain a seasonal reading mood when so many new books are vying for their attention.

Plus, you can download an Instagram story template to track and share your progress. Let’s “dive in”!

woman reading a book on the beach in a hammock.
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Summer Reading Challenge for Adults

If you have struggled to get a few good reads in over the summer or if you strayed too much from the spirit of the season, you can be much more content with your reading goals and accomplishments this summer. This adult reading challenge has three seasonal prompts to read just one book each month:

  • a book set in summer in June;
  • a book set at the beach in July;
  • and an “escape” book in August.

June: A Book Set in Summer

In June, get started creating your own adult summer reading list by reading a book set in Summer.

I have read as many as I possibly could over the years and keep my guide to books set in summer updated for you each year, so you can have an many books as possible to choose from. I’ve also added a post about the best summer romance books.

A few of my favorites include:

  • Last Summer at the Golden Hotel: Dirty Dancing meets The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Need I say more?!
  • Malibu Rising: from beloved author Taylor Jenkins Reid, a wealthy 1980s surfing family experiences one explosive Summer night at a house party that forever changes one family.
  • One Italian Summer: one of my favorite books of 2022, read by Gilmore Girl Lauren Graham in audiobook format, following a young woman coping with her mother’s death via magical realism on the sunny Positano coast.
  • The Summer Wives: from the queen of female historical fiction, Beatriz Williams, comes a beachy Rhode Island mystery with the feel of a soap opera, perfect for coastal grandmothers
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty: a dramatic teen series set at the beach, where the protagonist in involved in a love triangle as well as more complicated life events as she comes of age

July: A Book Set at the Beach

Summer reading for adults wouldn’t be complete without a book set at the beach. There’s no shortage of options out there, but a few great places for you to start finding the right book for you are:

There are many to choose from there, but I will recommend just one that made BOTH lists: Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand, a five-star read for me that transports the reader to a pivotal Summer including not just the family drama and romance Hilderbrand is known for, but also events like the moon landing and the drowning in Martha’s Vineyard connected to Ted Kennedy.

August: An Escape Book

In the final month of Summer self-care, I think it’s important for readers to truly feel an reading escape from the “real” world in whatever form feels right to them, before the Fall and things like back-to-school starts back up.

The types of books that can fit this prompt include:

Since this is such a broad prompt, I can recommend a few that both I and my readers love:

Instagram Story Template

Download the Instagram story template below and save it to your mobile device. Then, add the title of the book or image of the book cover you read each month for the prompt (or just some text of the title) and share it in your Instagram stories.

If you tag me @jules.literarylifestyle, I will re-share your post!

summer reading challenge bookstagram story template.


The summer reading challenge for adults helps busy people read a few seasonally appropriate books whether you’re a novice or advanced reader. Be sure to download your Instagram story template to track and share your progress as you enjoy some fun beach reads this summer.

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  1. Will include a link to this delightful post in an upcoming blog post I’ll publish in June. Warm regards, Nancy Andres @ Colors 4 Health.