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The Dog Days Are (Almost) Over: What's on Your Summer Bucket List?

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 07, 2019

Cruel Summer

The beginning of summer always seems so promising. More sunlight means more energy and, seemingly, more time. You have a million plans and you're just sure you'll be able to do it all—from water sports to home improvement to romance on the beach. But suddenly it's August and you realize you've only got a few weeks left before you turn that corner into fall. Soon the days will turn crisper, the leaves will start to fall, and school will be back in session. Time to prioritize! What do you have left on your summer bucket list? Here are some of the things we're thinking about and some resources for getting started.

Catch a Wave

Admit it! You've always dreamed of learning to surf. (Or are we projecting?) August is often the hottest of the summer months, so it's the perfect time to get out on the water. Surfer's Start-Up by Doug Werner is a comprehensive beginner's guide for the sport, from procuring the right equipment to catching your first waves.

Or maybe your dream is to let the wind fill your sails and take you for an exhilarating ride through sun-dappled waters. The Complete Sailor by David Seidman is the consummate primer on the sport. Warning: Learning to sail has been shown to have addictive qualities. Side effects may include quitting your day job to sail around the world.

If I Had a Hammer

Summer is often the best time to tackle home improvement and landscaping projects. Paint dries more quickly. Windows and doors can be left open for venting dust and fumes. And it's generally a nicer time to be outdoors. Maybe you've been thinking about renovating a space in your house, repairing your plumbing, or fixing electrical problems. Whatever your project, Renovation by Michael Litchfield is your complete DIY guide, good for both beginners and seasoned professionals. If it's a yard project you're taking on, check out the Better Homes and Gardens Step-by-Step Landscaping with more than 500 color photos and 100 illustrations to show you how to plan, build, and plant a gorgeous garden.

Summer Lovin'

Although we can't serve up that perfect someone you've been dreaming of, we can recommend some great relationship books that may help you work with what you've got. In A Book About Love, science writer Jonah Lehrer plumbs the depths of love and passion and lays out a set of skills you can cultivate to foster love in your own life. Whether you're single or attached, The Soulmate Experience by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn lays out strategies and skills for building extraordinary relationships with both friends and lovers. But maybe you'd rather just read a good love story. We've got you covered there too (obvs). Here's a sweet romance we're currently crushing on.

Garden Party

We can all picture one of those ideal summer parties: Evening chats bathed in golden light, tasty nibbles on paper plates, and ice-cold drinks to wash everything down. You've put the work into making your yard pretty, so now's the time to show it off. Have an end-of-summer party and your friends will thank you. Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! serves up a buffet of doable ideas and simple recipes for throwing fabulous fêtes for every season. If you want to up your grilling game, try BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen. And for ideas on how to throw the consummate happy hour with splendid craft cocktails, you can check out The New Cocktail Hour by libation-loving siblings Tenaya and André Darlington. Your guests will be singing—or maybe slurring—your praises.

Bonus! The title and subtitles of this post could be used to start your party playlist!

Hammock Time

Hey, maybe you're just hoping for some downtime as the glow of summer fades away. We totally get it if all you want to do is head out to your backyard hammock or the nearest beach with a good book. You can totally do that with any of the previously mentioned titles or you could also get a good deal on any (or all!) of these recent bestselling novels.

Pump Up the Jams

Never fear! Your summer still has loads of potential for greatness. Let us know what’s on your list of possibilities! And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get daily book recommendations and more.

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