Remember that resolution you made back in January to read more in 2019? Yeah, us too. Summer is the perfect time to catch up on all that reading you’ve been meaning to do all year long. Whether by the pool, on the plane, or in a chair beachside, the best way to fully relax is to put down your phone, grab a book, and let yourself get lost in a novel — taking a break from the hectic reality of kids, work and Nashville traffic.

We reached out to some of our favorite local authors to see what their plans are for the warm days ahead, and what’s on their summer readings lists. Below, you’ll see a list of nearly 30 books to add to your own reading list this summer, from novels to nonfiction!

Crime by the Book
J.T. Ellison’s Summer Escapes

“I tend to travel quite a bit during the summer, both for vacation and for business, and this summer is no different. I have a fun trip to New York planned for one of my favorite conferences, as well as some much-needed downtime in Florida (reading on the beach is my idea of the perfect vacation). And, there will be reading. A lot of reading. Research, pleasure books, business books (for blurbing and the like), and show books (for A Word on Words). Preferably, this will be done by the pool, though on my porch also works. And I’ll be golfing, of course. I’m getting a late start this year because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, but I should be back on the links by July.

But, the vast majority of this summer will be consumed with writing, as I’m starting work on my 2021 standalone novel.”


J.T.’s Summer Reads:
  • The New Girl by Daniel Silva | An annual tradition. I drop everything when Silva comes out!
  • Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware | Probably the most anticipated book of the year for me. I’m hearing AMAZING things.
  • The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry
  • The Dark Above by Jeremy Finley | This second in a series from local author and WSMV reporter, Jeremy is a stunner.
  • Layover by David Bell | For a suspense read
  • Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak
  • Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan | I snagged a copy from Parnassus on my last stop in. Looks right up my alley.
  • Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski | I’ve committed to reading more non-fiction this year.
  • Out East by John Glynn | True confession, I’ve already read this, but it’s so wonderful. I have to recommend it. A beautiful, heartbreaking coming-of-age set against the Montauk, Hamptons backdrop. Yes, please.


Lily Hansen’s “Light” List 

“My summer plans include taking an acting class in London (one of my favorite cities) at the Central School of Voice and Drama where some of my favorite actors, including Helen Mirren and Dominic West, studied. I am also working on several writing projects, and reading a lot of biographies and books about acting to learn about the craft.”





Lily’s Summer Reads:
  • 1776 by David McCullough | I realized recently that, like a lot of Americans I do not know as much about my own country’s history as I should!
  • Fate of Food by Amanda Little | Amanda, an environmental journalist and Vanderbilt University professor, was my mentor in a business class that I took a few years back. I have since been blown away by her dedication to her journalistic career, sustainability, and documenting where the food industry will go over the next few years. I cannot wait to read this book, which came out last week!
  • Model Woman by Robert Lacey | I was lucky enough to interview this famed British biographer, and historian on the Netflix show “The Crown,” two years ago and have been obsessed by his work ever since.
  • On Writing by Stephen King | This book is a must-read for anyone that aspires to be a writer and I find myself going back to it time and again for inspiration.
  • And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos by John Berger | This book of poems was given to me by someone very dear and I find myself flipping through it for inspiration from time to time.
  • Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins | A novel
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller | This is deemed to be one of the greatest plays of all time and I am excited to read a vintage copy of it gifted to me by a friend.
  • At Work by Annie Leibovitz
  • A Sidecar Named Desire by Monte Beauchamp and Greg Clarke | I love reading books about niche subjects, such as alcohol, and am particularly excited about this illustrated text as it is by one of my dad’s, cartoonist George Hansen, best friends Monte Beauchamp. This book, which combines stories about writers who drank and what they liked to imbibe along with cocktail recipes, is a fantastic gift for anyone that is a literary or booze fan. Being both, it’s my go-to gift!
  • Al Pacino by Lawrence Brobel | Being someone who is all about the art, I have made Al my new hero for sticking to his guns and only making projects that he likes.


Rea Frey
Rea Frey’s Eclectic List of Reads

“Every summer, my family heads to Blue Mountain Beach in Florida. I do nothing but swim, write, read, and spend time with loved ones. It always signals the start of summer and the calm before the excitement of my book launch in August. I’m always writing my next book during summer, so quick little getaways are in order before the book tour. We will head to Chattanooga, Louisville, and Asheville for some short weekend getaways and definitely do some fun day-hikes. I’ll also be going to New York in July and am hoping to get back to the beach before summer’s end! My next book tour will take me all over the place, so I’m looking forward to some quality time at home before launch.”


Rea’s Summer Reads:
  • My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing | Read this. Thank me later. And then hide the knives.
  • Never Tell by Lisa Gardner | Such a master of suspense.
  • A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert | I mean, it’s Liz Gilbert. Enough said. And yes, I just called her Liz.
  • Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle | Also another of my favorite humans and writers. Also with the last name Belle. She and I are doing a ton of upcoming events together, too.
  • The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center | Katherine has been one of my favorite writers for over a decade and is as humble as they come.
  • The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
  • Miracle Creek by Angie Kim | I’m in an online writing group with Angie. Her book is everywhere, and I can’t wait to read it.