summer quotes from books

From The Great Gatsby to Atonement, the very best summer quotes from books that sum up life’s most vibrant and mysterious of seasons.

For bookworms like me, summer novels offer a very particular – and fleeting – kind of joy. Nothing beats the ability to disappear into a hammock, or that shady patch at the bottom of your garden, armed with a few deliciously moreish reads.

Object Story pick: Letterpress archive box to store your thoughts on books 


Not only is summer reading in itself a pleasure, certain books just get how summer is. The smell of overripe grass in the air; the long, dreamy days where anything seems possible; the nights that play out to a cricket’s serenade. Here are just a few of my favourite quotes that speak to the essence of summer, in all her easy, transient and otherworldly sweetness.

Summer seeds

“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“The greengages had a pale blue bloom, especially in the shade, but in the sun the flesh showed amber through the clear green skin; if it were cracked the juice was doubly warm and sweet.” – Rumer Godden, The Greengage Summer

“The lilt of their voices, the smell of their mingling perfume brushing the air, was like a love song. She wanted to be with them out there on the porch, under the too-bright moon, crushing ice and letting a strap slide off her shoulder. She wanted to be part of that enchanted world they seemed to have made with hurricane lamps and music and laughter.” – Liza Klaussmann, Tigers in Red Weather

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

summer quotes from books

“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.” – Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.” – Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

“Idgie smiled back at her and looked up into the clear blue sky that reflected in her eyes and she was as happy as anybody who is in love in the summertime can be.” – Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“Like ghosts the children walked across the lawn on their bare feet. The moon was full. Above the damp grass hung a veil of mist, luminous with moonlight and spangled with fireflies. There was no wind, and the sound of the brook was very distinct, tinkling, splashing, running softly.” – Elizabeth Enright, The Four-Story Mistake

“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.” – Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

“Even the air seemed on fire, subtly aflame with energy as it does when you are young, when the synapses are firing wildly and death is far away.” – Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

Coffee breakfast reading

“At the most difficult moments of my life, when it seemed that every door was closed to me, the taste of those apricots comes back to comfort me with the notion that abundance is always within reach, if only one knows how to find it.” – Isabel Allende, Paula

“Around them, the green was overwhelming, tropical leaves that dripped when scratched, bougainvillea and other flowering bushes springing from the hillsides. Sometimes she got the feeling that Hong Kong was too alive. It seemed unable to restrain itself. There were insects crawling everywhere, wild dogs on the hills, mosquitoes breeding furiously. They had made roads in the hillsides and buildings sprouted out of the ground, but nature strained at her boundaries.” – Janice Y.K. Lee, The Piano Teacher

“Dearest Cecilia, You’d be forgiven for thinking me mad, the way I acted this afternoon. The truth is I feel rather light headed and foolish in your presence, Cee, and I don’t think I can blame the heat.” – Ian McEwan, Atonement

“From Bormes onwards, stunning views lurk around almost every corner: gin-clear water, stripy parasols, spiky succulents and the all-pervasive smell of hot pine and fig trees, which remind me so powerfully of summers past that I get quite teary.” – Felicity Cloake, One More Croissant for the Road

“She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girliness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. She wanted to soak the words 'time management' out of her lexicon. She wanted to hand over, to yield, to let herself float down the unchartered beautiful fertile musky swamp of life, where creativity and eroticism and deep intelligence dwell.” – Rebecca Wells, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Images: with thanks to Unsplash and Object Story

August 09, 2022 — Anna Brech