Imaginary Summer Book Club

Full name: Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club Featuring Classics of Women’s Literature, Defined As Books Authored By, About or Widely Read By Women in the 20thCentury. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Your imaginary book club is intriguing to me and I would like to receive your newsletter. How do I sign up?

A: That is what is so great about an IMAGINARY book club! You are already a member with all of the privileges, immunities, rights and honors pertaining thereto!

Q: So… how does it work then?

A: Four books are selected every year, one per month for June through September. We read the book, and I write a review/discussion/assorted thoughts/heavy-duty academic treatise the following month (e.g., we shall discuss the June selection, Rebecca, in July). Theoretically, we wrap at the end of September, but in reality it is more like Halloween or Thanksgiving. That is why the last book is usually in the horror genre or somehow involves a turkey.

Since this is an IMAGINARY book club (and the internet never forgets), you are free to read at your own pace and come back and comment with your thoughts at any time! You can read some or all of the books! You can just watch the movie versions! You can read none of the books and just learn all of the plot twists! (Spoiler: there will be spoilers)

Q: How serious is the discussion supposed to be?

A: Imaginary-serious. I welcome all comments ranging from deconstructionist literary theory to “OMG, Anthony Perkins Laurence Olivier  young John Travolta. He is so hot  a surprisingly good actor.”

Q: Who chooses the books? What are the criteria?

A: I do.

The focus is on books “written by, about, or widely ready by” women in the mid-20th century, by which I mean roughly 1920-1980.

Q: Where can I see a list of past selections?

A: See below!

Q: How do I find reviews of past selections?

A: All posts pertaining to Imaginary Summer Book Club are tagged “Imaginary Summer Book Club”.

Q: Can I recommend a book for future Imaginary Summer Book Clubs?

A: Yes! I always welcome suggestions, for both Imaginary Summer Book Club and the regular vintage YA feature. Comment on any entry or e-mail




Sybil By Flora Rheta Schreiber

Lace By Shirley Conran 

The Love Boats By Jeraldine Saunders

Carrie By Stephen King 



Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


The Sheik By EM Hull


Heartburn By Nora Ephron


The Bad Seed by William March


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie By Muriel Spark

No Bed of Her Own

No Bed of Her Own By Val Lewton

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

Please Don’t Eat the Daisies By Jean Kerr

She Let Him Continue

She Let Him Continue By Stephen Geller

Bonus/Alternate Selection: 


Jaws By Peter Benchley


Imitation of Life
Imitation of Life By Fannie Hurst

Cofee Tea or Me?
Coffee Tea or Me? By Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones

By Grand Central Station...
By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept By Elizabeth Smart

Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives By Ira Levin 


Kings Row

Kings Row By Henry Bellamann


It By Elinor Glyn 

Mommie Dearest

Mommie Dearest By Christina Crawford 

Looking For Mr Goodbar

Looking For Mr. Goodbar By Judith Rossner


Marjorie Morningstar

Marjorie Morningstar By Herman Wouk

Madame Bovary

Madame Bovary By Gustave Flaubert, Translation By Lydia Davis 

The Well of Loneliness

The Well of Loneliness By Radclyffe Hall 

Mildred Pierce

Mildred Pierce By James M. Cain 


Fear of Flying

Fear of Flying By Erica Jong


Gone With the Wind By Margaret Mitchell 

The Best of Everything

The Best of Everything By Rona Jaffe 


The Group

The Group By Mary McCarthy 

Spring Fire

Spring Fire By Vin Packer 

Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the Dolls By Jacqueline Susann 

Beebo Brinker

Beebo Brinker By Ann Bannon 

Peyton Place

Peyton Place By Grace Metalious

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes By Anita Loos


Wifey By Judy Blume


Wagons West Series (Independence!, Nebraska!, Wyoming! and Oregon!)
By Dana Fuller Ross

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn By Betty Smith 

Alice Adams

Alice Adams By Booth Tarkington 

Main Street

Main Street By Sinclair Lewis

Kitty Foyle

Kitty Foyle By Christopher Morley

Sex and the Single Girl

Sex and the Single Girl By Helen Gurley Brown

12 Responses to Imaginary Summer Book Club

  1. Pingback: Announcing The 2013 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  2. Pingback: Announcing the 2014 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  3. Pingback: Four Must-Read Authors like Sophie Kinsella • itcher mag

  4. Pingback: Announcing the 2015 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  5. Pingback: Announcing the 2016 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  6. Pingback: Announcing the 2017 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit, 1939-1989

  7. Pingback: Announcing the 2018 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989

  8. Pingback: Announcing the 2019 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989

  9. miss amy says:

    Happy to say that I’m (quite belatedly) reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie after mulling the option over for a few years. I just finished The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which I think would fit marvelously with your other midcentury women’s fiction! It’s much less romantic than the movie, but it’s still a lot of fun.

    • mondomolly says:

      Yes, I do have the Ghost and Mrs. Muir as potential future-imaginary-summer-book-club selection! I’ve never read it, but I’m happy to hear it comes recommended! Would love to hear what you think of Jean Brodie, especially if you’ve seen the movie as well!

      • miss amy says:

        Jean Brodie was FASCINATING and tbh depressingly relevant to The World We Live In–a combination of “what if Dead Poets’ Society wasn’t necessarily a great idea pedagogically speaking” + “gee, a pro-fascism cult of personality leading a bunch of teens, the only unfamiliar thing is they’re all girls.” I honestly feel like I could stand to read it a second time–there was a lot going on, for such a quick book. My one regret is that it was a little on the spicy side for work (I listen to books on tape while we get ready to open, some days), but Spark’s handling of the sex talk was hilariously realistic for a bunch of tweens.

        I have yet to watch the movie, but I’m really hoping to soon, since I’m obviously not going to say no to Maggie Smith. Will report back when I see it!

  10. Pingback: Announcing the 2020 Edition of Molly’s Imaginary Summer Book Club | Lost Classics of Teen Lit: 1939-1989

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