6 Books I Read This Summer… And Why You Should Read Them Too!

With the newness of quarantine and the transition into summer weather, I found myself getting back in touch with the things I loved. One of the things that truly makes me happy and allows me to appreciate all the art and beauty this world has to offer is reading

Personally, I think one of the most amazing feelings is when I can open up a new book, immediately become inspired, and fall in love with the contents that are on the page. 

On top of simply reading more, I have challenged myself to explore new genres and authors. Throughout the summer I dabbled in many different categories ranging from dystopian, self-help, personal narrative, African American literature, and the list continues. Aside from keeping myself entertained, I learned many things when I decided to branch out from my usual reads and explore what else was out in the literary world. 

open books laid out Photo by Patrick Tomasso from Unsplash

With that being said, here are some of the books I had the privilege of reading recently:

1) The Handmaid’s Tale and 2) The Testaments 

Both by Margaret Atwood, these dystopian novels were two of my favorite books I have ever read and are often the first books I recommend to anyone looking for a new novel. 

The Handmaid’s Tale centers around a handmaid named Offred, and her role within the new republic of Gilead. Readers see the everyday life of a handmaid, as well as constant flashbacks to Offred’s life before the takeover. Along the way she manages to not only survive, but also navigate through the societal constraints and harsh way of life with bravery, never once losing sight of her goal. 

The Testaments, written as a follow up, returns to the world of Gilead years later and is told by three different narrators. Similarly, we see the narrator’s daily lives, choices, reasoning for their actions, and ultimately, their survival story. This novel was filled with so many twists and surprises, and I didn’t ever want to put it down. 

Hulu also came out with a TV series that closely follows the first part of The Handmaid’s Tale, which was first published in 1985. The TV series builds beyond Atwood’s novel, but is something that I highly recommend as well. 

3) Dear Martin 

This young adult novel starts off with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that reads, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.” These powerful words really set the tone for the pages that were about to spill out before my eyes.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone was absolutely phenomenal, and a book that I believe should be on the reading curriculum for all students before they get to high school. At the beginning of the summer, I was given this book by an old coach and mentor, and it truly opened my eyes and impacted my life in a positive way. This book centers around a high school boy who finds himself and others around him at the center of racial injustices. He decides to let out his frustration by writing letters to Dr. King. 

The story itself is a quick read, but one that speaks volumes. The incidents discussed and letters to Dr. King not only have the power to teach readers extensive lessons, but also to leave one speechless as it discusses themes of privilege, entitlement, and implicit bias. 

Additionally, Nic Stone is a young author who writes towards the category of young adult fiction and middle grade fiction. Immediately upon finishing, I was enthralled by her writing ability and still cannot even wait till I can get my hands on another one of her books.

4) Sula 

Sula by Toni Morrison is also a piece of African American Literature that grabbed my attention right from the beginning. Sula is a story about a young girl and the challenges and experiences she faces growing up. Themes of racism, love, sexuality, identity, and gender roles are at the heart of the novel. 

Something I found equally captivating is that the story muddies the line between good and bad in the relationship between Sula and her best friend, Nel. 

In my personal opinion, Toni Morrison is also one of the most amazing authors. The messages and themes she manages to get across in her novels while creating stories that readers do not want to put down is incredible. The book was not only entertaining, but extremely educational as well. 

My engagement with Morrison will not stop at this novel. She has so many novels that I want to read, but most pressingly, I am excited to get ahold of and learn from her novel, The Bluest Eye. 

5) Untamed and 6) Super Attractor 

This summer, I also challenged myself to read books in the self-help and self-discovery category. Both of these books ultimately changed my life. 

Untamed by Glennon Doyle is a memoir that allows readers to open their eyes and take hold of their life. It discusses the author’s personal experiences and journey navigating life and finding the things, hobbies, and people that made her genuinely happy. This ultimately helped her to become the best version of herself. 

Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein is similar in the sense that it speaks a lot from Bernstein's personal experiences while providing readers with a sense of motivation and encouragement to make their lives everything they have dreamed it will be. She helps readers work on manifesting their “best” life and show them how to speak things into existence. 

Both are an easy, lighthearted reads that will leave you feeling motivated and ready to make your life all that you want it to be! 

 

woman reading a book on a window seat Photo by Yuri Efremov from Unsplash

With the course work of college classes, it is often hard to put aside time for yourself, but if you do happen to have free time I encourage you strongly to read some of the novels I mentioned above! The messages and themes illustrated are truly powerful. 

When I was able to get back into reading, and reading novels that interested me rather than ones that were assigned to me, I was able to learn more than I could ever imagine. Not only about the world around me, but about myself as well! 

As JK Rowling once said, “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” 

All images courtesy of Her Campus Library