Nine Need to Read Summer Classics

We are deep into the destination reads this summer.

  • From Mirah's summer series based on beloved books (Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2 before she shares Part 3 next week!)...
  • to our newest Seasonal Book Box (grab one of the last few in stock here)...
  • to each Monthly Book Club pick...
  • and a handful of our unique classic book boxes in the Pretty Literate SHOP...

- we are living and breathing breathtaking books this summer.

If you're Jonesing for a vicarious vacation, a little adventure, or to dive deeper into the feels this summer, I've got you covered with Nine Need to Read Summer Classics.

Seeking Vicarious Vacation Vibes?

1. Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck

Spotlighting one of the best American authors of all time, the Summer Road Trip Book Box features the vintage-inspired 50th Anniversary edition of John Steinbeck's classic, Travels with Charley in Search of America - the author's creative accounting of his epic road trip across America with his four-legged friend. Accompanying the classic are a handful of novel treasures to help make your travel through the pages of the book as unique & memorable as the original.

✔️Are you curious about what makes America so great?
✔️Do you want to learn more about the USA?
✔️Do you have a sense of adventure?

✔️Do you like to explore new places?

I invite you to vacation vicariously with John Steinbeck in his search for America in this #vanlife classic by one of America's greatest authors.

2. A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Pack your proverbial bags because you are heading to a truly tropical destination inside A Caribbean Mystery! Enjoy a classic 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑛𝑛𝑖𝑡 by the Queen of Mystery and feel the vicarious vacation vibes in this beautiful, beachy Caribbean classic - the perfect destination book for summertime reading.

A Caribbean holiday is just what the doctor ordered for Miss Marple...and it may be the prescription you need to cure the summertime blues.

%u2714%uFE0FCould you use a clue-ridden Caribbean getaway?
✔️Do you fancy yourself clever?
✔️Do you love a good mystery?

✔️Are you Jonesing for a vacation that's to die for?

I invite you to soak in this beachy book starring the Queen of Mystery's beloved armchair detective, the insatiably curious and clever Miss Mary Marple.

3. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

We're setting sail across the pond inside the Three Men in a Boat Book Box, so pack your proverbial bags for two weeks of waterborne fun with your besties!  This month's classic provides the perfect vicarious vacation vibes - a little fun in the sun alongside your favorite friends floating down a lazy river in a book that remains as relevant today as it was 100+ years ago when it was first published!

%u2714%uFE0FDoes the idea of a "river road trip" float your boat?
✔️Do you love to laugh?
✔️Have you ever experienced a vacation gone awry?

✔️Do the sights and sounds of the English countryside sound idyllic?

I invite you to take a trip with Three Men in a Boat - a British travelogue that makes for one riotous read! PLUS, our book box features a paperback edition that includes Jerome's follow-up travelogue through Germany - a two-for-one trip you'll never forget!

Looking for a Little Adventure?

4. The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

The best of the best! The elite! Spend a little time in the Gilded Age with the most monied society that New York has to offer - as only an insider could know. Let real-life elite socialite Edith Wharton introduce you to the Golden Age of American history alongside the affluent people who enjoyed it in her most controversially discussed novel inside PL's Monthly Book Club. 

%u2714%uFE0FHave you ever wondered how the "other half" live?
✔️Do you dream of splitting your time between the States & traveling through Europe?
✔️Want to rub shoulders with NY's affluent set?

✔️Does saucy satire scratch your sweet spot?

I invite you to find out what The Custom of the Country was inside one of our very first book boxes paired with an equally opulent novel treasure that perfectly sums up the novel. Come rise (and fall!) out of favor with "the set" as you work your way up the social ladder alongside the controversial Miss Undine Spragg.

5. So Big by Edna Ferber

If you're a city dweller yearning to escape to the countryside, you're in luck because Edna Ferber's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel So Big is just the classic for you to read this summer. Set in a country community outside of Chicago, So Big's heroine, Selina, finally finds peace, pleasure, and prosperity as she cultivates the land - and her life.

%u2714%uFE0FAre you a country girl living a city-dweller's life?
✔️Do you have a green thumb and enjoy gardening?
✔️Do you appreciate artistry in all its forms?

✔️Does visiting the Dutch countryside sound dreamy?

I invite you to experience Ferber's Chicago-area classic this summer, to feel the warmth of the sun on your face as you work the earth and carve out your place in it inside the So Big Book Box. The novel is paired with an awesome novel treasure that will continue to "grow on you" through the years.

6. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

If the English countryside is your jam, you don't get more idyllic than a summer read set in a bona fide English castle. I Capture the Castle is a coming-of-age novel, sort of a year-in-the-life journal of one young lady's journey across the threshold into adulthood in the absolutely picturesque English countryside. Family. Friends. Young love. And plenty of shocking shenanigans! Smith's 1948 classic is a summer read with a destination that will also capture the reader's imagination.

%u2714%uFE0FDo you consider yourself an Anglophile?
✔️Are some of your favorite novels set in medieval times?
✔️Were you a kid that was often up to something that would land you in trouble?

✔️Is a tour of the U.K. on your Bucket List?

I invite you to experience England in a fresh, inventive way. "Book your stay" inside Smith's delightfully dilapidated English castle and enjoy your visit as you voyeur the Mortmain family in a novel that will capture your heart as well as your mind.

Wanting to Dive Deeper?

7. The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty

The Optimist's Daughter Book Box is the perfect introduction to introspective author Eudora Welty. Welty's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (1973) The Optimist's Daughter is a book that tugs at the heartstrings of family, community, connectedness, and how we each deal with loss and grief. If you've never experienced Eudora Welty, start with one of her best and most beloved books paired with novel treasures that will leave you remembering your own loved ones.

%u2714%uFE0FAre you up for the scents and sounds of the South?
✔️Could you use a healthy dose of some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality?
✔️Have you experienced complicated family relationships?

✔️Do you love small-town settings?

I invite you to get to know Welty's writings beginning with her most famous short novel set in a small town of the south. Come for the depth, stay for the drama. This one is going to make you want to reach out and hug somebody.

8. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

Black author. Black history. Black perspective. Explore the first-hand experiences of a former slave from the unique perspective of a woman - from birth through womanhood - in this distinctively feminine slave narrative. Walk a mile in author Harriet Jacobs' shoes circa 1861 as she wrestles to make emotionally drenched decisions for herself - and her family.

%u2714%uFE0FDo you enjoy non-fiction that reads like fiction? 
✔️Is time travel your jam?
✔️Are you an empathetic reader?

✔️Do you love the Carolinas?

I invite you to travel back in time - wayyyyy back to the 1800s - to spend a little time in the Carolinas with author Harriet Jacobs and her family, a woman with hopes and dreams, not unlike yours, who happened to be born and raised in the South prior to emancipation.

9. Passing by Nella Larsen

Passing is an intriguing and intimate look at three different women of color living three different lives during the 1920s. Tackle the topic of "passing" through three unforgettable characters in Larsen's most popular novel-turned-Netflix-film with the Passing Book Box. 

%u2714%uFE0FDo you love books set in the Big Apple? 
✔️Do you have a hankering to hang out in Harlem?
✔️Are you a people-person that loves to travel?

✔️Are you someone that struggles to see other people's perspectives?

The Passing Book Box is an unforgettable invitation to experience the 1920s in a totally new and truly unique way - alongside the story's three main characters, women who could all "pass," but choose to live their lives in three very distinctly different ways.

Needing to Read More?

Come read the classics with us inside PL's Monthly Book Club!

We've opened our doors to new members this month (our 2-year Monthly Book Club Birthday!) and we've got a level to fit every type of reader - and budget! 

We are a group of women who want to include more classic literature in our reading rotation and find that we get a lot more out of it when we read together. This isn't high-brow academia, but a group simply desiring to connect with the author, the title, the characters, and one another in a more meaningful way.

If that sounds like you, I hope you'll consider joining us on the level that suits you best.

✔️Enjoy audiobooks, library loans, or ebooks? Book Club is for you.
✔️Want the book (and the book alone) to be shipped to you every month? Book Box is for you. 
✔️Looking for a monthly bookish pampering experience? Gift Box is for you.

All three levels include access to our private online community, discussion prompts, weekly connection emails, and more.

If you've got questions, I've got answers. Please reach out to me via email at or by using this website's Contact Form.


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