Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read Outside

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish blog, and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

In a crazy coincidence, I actually featured this week’s topic in one of my TTT posts almost exactly a year ago. (You can see my Rainy Day Read picks here).

So today, instead of featuring books to curl up with indoors when the weather’s bad, I’m listing Books to Read Outside on a sunny day.




Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

An epic, engrossing, and emotional journey. Whether you’re alone in the wilderness yourself, or merely in a city park surrounded by a mass of people, Wild will make you want to lose yourself in nature in order to better find yourself.



To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

This quirky and unique novel is simply delightful. It’s the ideal blend of history, romance, time travel, and comedy. Historians from the 2050’s are sent back to the Victorian era to find a missing artifact and many hilarious hijinks ensue. In fact, some of the funniest parts of To Say Nothing of a Dog take place outdoors during an English summer. There are disastrous boat trips down the Thames, jumble sales, and rather violent games of croquet that will have you laughing out loud.



The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted April is incredibly charming and deliciously descriptive. It will have you wanting to gather up a group of friends and head off to a rented Italian villa immediately. It’s a beautifully enchanting novel regardless of the month you read it in.



The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Kate Morton’s novels are always transportive, non-tasking reads that are perfect to enjoy while lounging outdoors. The Forgotten Garden is especially ideal to read amongst budding trees and blossoming flowers.



Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

A witty novel with a crazy cast of characters you won’t soon forget. It’s a breath of fresh air that is best enjoyed beneath a blue sky. Just watch out for the “something nasty in the woodshed…”



A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

Even if your view isn’t of Florence, you’ll appreciate this classic all the more if it’s accompanied by beautiful exterior views, whether a landscape or a cityscape. Forster’s novel is an unforgettable reminder about what it means to live a fulfilling life. A Roome with a View is charming, romantic, poetic, and invigorating; just like spring itself.



The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

A stunningly written novel set in Victorian England and featuring complex characters, tons of atmosphere, and a dash of mystery and folklore. Sarah Perry’s writing is lush and evocative. It’s easy to escape to Essex for an entire afternoon. With its themes of science and Natural History—not to mention its gorgeous and verdant cover—The Essex Serpent practically begs to be read outside.



Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Paula McClain’s gripping historical fiction novel would be an ideal companion on a day spent soaking up some rays. Circling the Sun is a fictional account of the remarkable life of Beryl Markham: a British writer, race-horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator who grew up in Kenya. Once you’ve savored this thrilling read, be sure to check out Markham’s breathtaking memoir West with the Night. 



Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Does anyone write about nature quite like Thomas Hardy? The natural world and the relationship the characters have to it is a major theme in so many of his novels, including Far From the Madding Crowd. With its more optimistic ending, this is a good pick to read on a sunny day as white fluffy clouds drift by overhead. Bonus points if you choose a pastoral location with sheep frolicking in the distance.



Euphoria by Lily King

Travel to the jungle in this incandescent novel about three anthropologists working in New Guinea in the 1930’s (one of whom is loosely based on the real-life Margaret Mead). King’s novel is well-written, full of interesting historical and cultural details, and packs a major emotional punch.



What book(s) do you think should be read outside?


18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read Outside

Add yours

  1. Cold Comfort Farm, A Room with a View and FFMC love them all and To Say Nothing of the Dog sounds really good fun. I saw the film Wild but have yet to read it, a really lovely collection of books as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jane! Glad to hear you love those three too. TSNOTD is SO much fun. Hope you’ll enjoy it if you decide to pick it up! I still haven’t seen the film version of Wild, so thanks for the reminder that I need to fix that!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, I don’t think I love her books quite as much as I used to; I was even a little disappointed with her two most recent ones. However, she’s always a good choice when you’re looking for a good dual-timeline historical fiction to get lost in for a few hours. The House at Riverton and The Secret Keeper are probably my favorites. I hope you enjoy whichever of her novels you decide to pick up!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cathy! Cheryl Strayed is just such a talented writer who has led a crazy interesting life. I read Tiny Beautiful Things earlier this year and am now an even bigger fan than I was before.


  2. Hi Jess! I just read your comment on my blog and searched Amazon for Mary Stewart books. Wow, she has quite a few. Do you have any personal favorites or one you would recommend I start with?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apologies for the late response, Belinda! There are certainly a ton of Mary Stewart novels to choose from. I’m still making my way through them, but so far I’d have to say my two favorites are Nine Coaches Waiting and This Rough Magic. NCW is very gothic, set at a secluded French chateau, and is about a governess who begins to suspect that there is a plot to murder the young boy she is looking after. TRM is set on the island of Corfu and features really descriptive writing, a dolphin, Shakespearean actors, and a body discovered washed ashore. Madam, Will You Talk? is also great and has a chase scene that reminds me of classic 1950’s/60’s films. All three are the perfect blend of suspense and romance. Hope this helps and that you enjoy whichever Mary Stewart novel you decide to pick up!

      (I’ll also post this on your blog so you’ll be sure not to miss it)


      1. Hello! I am happy you reposted your reply. I forgot to come back to see if you responded to my question. I just bought all three on my Kindle. They were very inexpensive. I really love the covers on the digital versions. I can’t wait to start one but as usual, I have a whole bunch of other books in the queue. I will let you know when I read them. Your descriptions make me want to read them now. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with these books. Happy reading my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay, I’m so happy to hear it!! I love those covers too, and the fact that they are so inexpensive. Hope you enjoy them all whenever you get to them. Happy reading to you too, Belinda!


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