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Top 5 Books I Read During Summer 2020

Despite the chaos of the current state of our world, I was able to find some solace this summer in books. I hope that this compilation of my favorite reads provides you with some new ideas to add to your reading lists!! There’s a healthy mix of thrillers, romance, and some books by incredible Black women authors, so I think there’s something for everyone!

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid 


This novel was an absolute trip. I can’t say much about it without giving away the entirety of the plot, but expect to be dealing with an unreliable narrator. It is about the unnamed girlfriend of a man named Jake, and they have only been together for a few months. On their way to meet Jake’s parents for the first time, his girlfriend contemplates ending their relationship. Or does she? It’s just about 200 pages, and I spent pretty much an entire day devouring it. I couldn’t put it down—even when I was reading in my dark bedroom and getting literal goosebumps, I just had to know what happened next. I did find myself checking once or twice to ensure my bedroom door was locked, though. Also, the Netflix adaptation was just released, so I can’t wait to check that out!!

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman

The experience of reading Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman was similar to my experience watching the film adaptation: absolutely transcendent. Aciman’s writing style is so beautifully descriptive; he can color the mundane with just a few words. Unlike the film, the end of the novel expands on Elio and Oliver’s love story about 15 years after they part ways, something that managed to break my heart again, even after their initial break-up. If you are just as in love with the film (and Timothee Chalamet) as I am, I would highly recommend giving this book a read. Don’t worry—the peach scene is alive and well in the novel, too.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

This book is absolutely incredible. 5/5 stars. I purchased this book over the summer after hearing amazing reviews, and the topics discussed are obviously still very relevant to our current socio-political climate. This novel is also accompanied by the movie adaptation, however, I would recommend reading the book before seeing it. The movie oddly leaves out multiple integral characters that drive the plot forward in the book—but obviously, both are sensational. If you are looking to educate others about the horrors of police brutality, especially those who may hold different opinions regarding the subject, I would recommend passing this novel along to them. Hopefully, it will inspire compassion in those who may not feel motivated to fight for the lives of Black Americans who face issues of systemic oppression and police brutality, as well as drive uncomfortable, yet necessary conversations about white privilege.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

This book, first in the “Earthseed” series (which unfortunately remains incomplete after Octavia Butler’s passing), is prophetic from start to finish. I was assigned this book to read for a class last semester but was unable to finish it before the class ended. I picked it back up this summer and was shocked at how prescient this book remains, despite it being written and published in the early 1990s! It is dystopian fiction and details a strong-willed main character named Lauren Olamina who navigates the consequences of losing her entire family, disease, economic collapse, and a lack of resources due to climate change in America. The second book in the Earthseed series, Parable of the Talents, is written about the dangers that an ultraconservative American president who promises to “Make America Great Again” poses to the population of the American people who are not Christian, white, males. Sound familiar? Again, the sequel was written in the late 90s. Every time I mention this series to someone, they are always shocked at the relevance of the subjects discussed in Butler’s writing.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Once again, don’t expect to be dealing with a reliable narrator while reading this novel. Everyone has either heard of or seen the amazing film Fight Club with Brad Pitt, but I was surprised to learn that it was an adaptation of a novel with the same name. Obviously, I’m not allowed to say much about it, because the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. However, this book deals with themes of white male rage, mental illness, and some romance is even sprinkled in there—so definitely check it out if you want a quick, thoroughly engaging, psychologically thrilling read. The author, Chuck Palahniuk, also has a darkly hilarious writing style, which sometimes made me out loud (something I normally don't do while reading!) or just made me wildly uncomfortable (@ the ending). Definitely give this novel a chance if you enjoyed the movie!

Kailey is currently a senior at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is a Writing, Editing, & Publishing and Communications & Media Studies double major and hopes to one day enjoy writing as her profession. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, exploring Boston, and spending time with any dog she can find.
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