11 Books That Should Be On Your Summer Reading List!

As a second year English student, I am in a state of perpetual reading… in my bed, on the train, in the library, in a multitude of coffee shops, I am always reading. But as a lover of modern translated texts, and most of these books being Chaucer, Ben Jonson, Philip Sidney and so on, it’s sometimes easy to forget that I love reading. So this Summer, I’m planning on reclaiming that love by reading the ton of books that I’ve saved up over the year. Below are some of my suggestions so that you can do the same. The list is a mixture of books that I have read, loved and cherished that I think are a must read for everyone, combined with some books that are on my own reading list for this Summer.

There is nothing better than losing yourself in an amazing book, so I urge you to pick one of these and get started on igniting or, if you’re like me, reigniting your love for reading!

 

  1. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (1987)

This is top of the list for a reason. If you’re only going to read one of these suggestions, make it Norwegian Wood. Written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, the novel is set in 1960s Tokyo and is genuinely one of the most moving novels I’ve ever read. Murakami’s ability to express love, loss and angst made me smile, cry and never want this book to end.

 

  1. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (2006)

This is written by author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn, and so when I picked up this novel I was expecting a fast paced gripping narrative with lots of twists and turns, and Sharp Objects did not disappoint. Perfect for some excitement and exhilaration during the lulls of Summer.

 

(Photo credit: Becky Bedbug Blogspot)

 

  1. The First Bad Man by Miranda July (2015)

This one I can’t personally vouch for, but from what I’ve heard it’s definitely going to be on my reading list, and should be on yours too. As a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller, a Guardian literary highlight for 2015, and "One to Watch" for the Huffington Post, it seems that the director, actor, screenwriter, and artist, Miranda July can add author to her growing list of talents.

 

  1. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (2015)

Again, this one I haven’t personally read but if Mindy Kaling’s last New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and her show The Mindy Project are anything to go by, Why Not Me? will be a hilarious read.

 

  1. Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1981)

Chronicles of a Death Foretold is lesser known compared to Marquez’s more popular works like Love In A Time of Cholera, and 100 Years of Solitude, but being so short it’s a perfect introductory book for anyone who hasn’t read Marquez before. Beautifully written and characteristic of Marquez’s style, it’s a short read that you can use to decide whether you want to go on to explore his other, longer books (which you most definitely should!)

 

(Photo credit: Litreactor)

 

  1. Will You Please Be Quite, Please? by Raymond Carver (1976)

I absolutely love short stories, and Robert Lowell’s short story collections are precisely why. The stories are succinct and written with a sincere clarity that is hard to come by; they are so open to interpretation that it is captivatingly hard to fully grasp what exactly is going on in these seemingly "simple" stories.

 

  1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013)

You only have to listen to one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speeches to know that you need to read this book (and everything else she’s ever produced). Telling a story of a young Nigerian woman who has emigrated to America for a university education, the novel is a powerful exploration of race, gender and identity.

 

  1. The Beach by Alex Garland (1996)

I read this around 5 years ago, and I can still remember the thrill of reading this Alex Garland novel. A young backpacker’s search for a legendary isolated beach in Thailand, goes terrifyingly wrong; this is a novel that is impossible to put down. Also, it was adapted into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000 which wasn’t completely rubbish like most book adaptations are, (I guess topless young Leo on a beach doesn’t hurt).

 

(Photo credit: Literaryvittles Wordpress)

 

  1. Zami by Audre Lorde (1982)

I actually read this book on my Queer Writing course this term, and am recommending it to everyone who will listen. Audre Lorde was a writer, feminist, lesbian and civil rights activist and all these elements of her combine to produce this novel. Lorde writes a powerful and extremely moving story of intersectionality; she combines her own experiences with mythology to create a unique genre of "autobiomythography." If you like this (or if you don’t), definitely go on to read her collection of short essays "Sister Outsider.|

 

  1.  Manifesto by Caitlin Moran (2016)

I can’t personally vouch for this book yet, but after the Summer I’m sure I will be singing its praise. Caitlin Moran combines her witty humour with her brilliant intelligence to produce a book that demystifies politics. The novel is not only a laugh, but through her writing on issues on rape, abortion and women’s rights, it is clear that it is seriously thought provoking as well.

 

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)

Well, this is the last of my list, and the first of my Summer reads. As an English student, it is probably time for me to dip my toe into the Russian greats and what better place to start than with Fyodor Dostoevsky. Told from the frenzied perspective of Rasolnikov, the novel intriguingly explores conflicts at the heart of human existence. I’m excited to read it (and the bragging rights that come with it), although it is looking dauntingly thick on my bookshelf…