I know for most of us the summer isn't full of endless sunny free time. Instead, we are working to get our bank accounts back to where they need to be for the next school year. However, what we are often not prepared for is the transition between working and kicking back with our friends on the weekends to massive readings and looming projects. What I've always found to keep my mind sharp while also beautifully complementing the rousing and relaxing parts of summer is reading. I've compiled a list of the books I've most relished that also made me ask and answer important questions. I hope you enjoy.
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
About a boy wandering the desert with his spiritual guide this book has changed how I see the universe, our world, and myself. It reads like laconic poetry and you hear Coehlo's words in your head like a song. I highly recommend this as a book to take while traveling; transition and movement are powerful which is echoed loudly in this lovely novel.
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
An page turner if I've ever read one, I swallowed this book in a day and so have most I know who have read this novel. Cynical and cutting it reflects every angst charged teenage thought you've ever had. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, whiny and confused, is all of us. Read this when you're just over it and need some solidarity.
Dreaming in Cuban - Cristina Garcia
Admittedly, this is a novel I was forced to read for my New Wave Immigrant Literature class (I highly recommend taking). However, it a beautiful story about family, the meaning of "home", and personal growth. Set during the Cuban revolution and family fractured by a move to America from Cuba by one of its members, one reflects on love, country, and political and social change. Immigration stories are important!! We should all read them!!
The Shining - Stephen King
Plot-driven and easy to read you should absolutely read this on a slow Sunday afternoon. Most of us have watched the movie but the novel isn't repetitive; I promise King added more interesting details to this 600+ page book than Kubrick could fit into a 2-hour movie. Go crazy a bit, see some ghosts.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe
Poe is famous for his works such as "The Raven" but there is so much to be read by him! I advise reading some of his very short stories that are enough to give you a little chill up your spine and look at every black cat you see a bit differently. Summers need a little excitement and fear is exciting, right?
Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dreamy and longing in the best way, this is a wonderful beach read. Go along with some tortured lovers across Europe and contemplate how this novel makes your heart hurt so good.
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Short and sweet this little novella from Steinbeck hovers around 100 pages. If you want something simple and quick, heartbreaking, and heart-affirming, read this. Also, it's one of those books you can brag about having read, do it.
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
If you want a thought-provoking read to get lost in, this is it. Lee's novel about race, gender, and class narrated through the eyes of an innocent young girl named Scout is a spectacular book to devour on an evening outside. Get a little outraged, feel a little hope, I very much recommend it.
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
If you feel like we're living in a dystopia and want to think "It could be worse" this novel by Radbury is for you. Centered around a society where books have been made illegal this is a thrilling page turner. Knowledge is power and this book knows it so expand your mind a bit with Fahrenheit 451 this summer.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi
An unbelievably easy read this graphic novel about a young girl growing up in Iran this novel is as thought-provoking as it is artistic. Get lost in Satrapi's rich cartoon world in order to learn more about the world we live in. Immigration stories are important!! We should all read them!
The Giver - Louis Lowry
Also set in a dystopic society, The Giver is about a man tasked with passing down memories of the old world (ours) to one chosen person. Sad and longing this novel by Lowry is alluring and hard to put down. Take a glimpse into the seemingly less than distant future to appreciate the love, natural beauty, and wistfulness of summertime.