Summer is almost upon us again! I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. While I love college, I am excited for a break, especially because that means I can get in some free reading! Growing up, I was always the kid in school who loved playing “reading bingo” and passed most of my time with my nose in a book. Unfortunately with all that life brings, and all of the reading that I do for school, free reading has become a luxury. I look forward to summer for a lot of reasons, but being able to sit outside and read with time on my hands is one of the most enticing. Therefore, I thought I would share seven books I hope to read throughout the summer and a couple I know to be instant page turners.
- "A Promised Land" - Barack Obama
I won’t lie to you, I might have started this book at Christmas and am still in the middle of it. However, my first goal for the summer is to cross it off my booklist. Over the past couple of years, I have found myself enthralled by nonfiction. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I enjoy reading other people’s stories; I think they can sometimes be even more captivating than the best of fiction. As a poli sci major, this one pretty easily went to the top of my “must read” list since what better way to learn about public service from someone who was at the very top, and continues to break boundaries in doing so? Also, I just really like the Obama’s; I think that different elements of their story resonate with a lot of people, and this was a great follow up to read after Michelle’s Becoming (although it stands alone as its own story).
Side note: if you are looking for another great memoir- I highly recommend Educated by Tara Westover; it’s heart wrenching and gripping all in one.
- “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” - Delia Owens
You have no idea how many of my friends have suggested I read this book. Well, I am finally taking their advice and am excited to dive in. As I have been told, this book has something for everyone, and in the two and a half years it's been on bookshelves, it has gained accolades galore. I have heard they are well deserved and am really excited to read it. If you need me, I’ll be in my hammock!
- “Somebody’s Daughter” - Ashley C. Ford
Alright, this is another memoir, but from the description it looks to be a beautiful if not perspective changing read. Ashley Ford is a well-renowned American voice, having made Forbes 30 under 30 Media list in 2017; this is the story of her childhood, its complexities and its challenges as she came of age as a young Black woman with a family divided by incarceration. I will definitely be investing in a copy of her book when it is released in June.
- “The Guest List” - Lucy Foley
One way that I like to find books is through using resources like Reese’s (Witherspoon) Book Club. Personally, I haven’t met a book off her list I didn’t like and hopefully this one is no exception. Oprah’s Book Club also has some really great selections as well. This book looks to be the perfect summer read. A socialite wedding, some jealousy, and a mysterious body? So maybe it’s a little dark, but it has also drawn recollections of Agatha Christie. Personally, good mysteries keep me turning the page and this one seems to throw in many twists and turns, sounds great to me!
- “American Dirt” - Jeanine Cummins
This one has been on my list for awhile. While fictional, it takes a look at immigration from the perspective of a migrant and her son who leave everything behind for safety and a glimmer of hope. This book has routinely come up in discussions, and in the couple of years since it has been published has already been hailed as a classic and “one of the most important books of our times” according to the description on Amazon. I’ve been meaning to get to it for awhile, so I am looking forward to being able to pick it up.
- “The Alice Network” - Kate Quinn
The Alice Network is actually my most recent completion and I highly recommend it. It tells the story of Eve and Charlie, two generations of women torn apart by two different wars (World War I and World War II). Eve is haunted by the secrets of her life as a Allied spy in World War I and Charlie is dealing with heartbreaking loss and life changing decisions. As it is quoted on Amazon, “they are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.” While I personally love historical fiction, I would truly give this book a 10/10 recommendation since not only is it full of some strong women, but there are so many twists I didn’t see coming!
Side note: Any historical fiction by Ruta Sepetys is a great choice as well, she has been one of my favorite authors for a number of years.
- “Anna K” - Jenny Lee
I read this book last summer when I was struggling to find books to read: it was a great surprise! It is a retelling of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina for a modern age, and at moments it had me squirming as some of the scandals and nightmares of teenagehood came true. Personally, it was kind of like a cross between Gossip Girl and Romeo and Juliet and it definitely kept me up at night reading. I haven’t read the original, but after reading Anna K, it is definitely something I am considering. It’s an easy, breezy and soapy read, yet it makes you think and reflect on your own past and future: a best of both worlds if you ask me.
Side note: The sequel was just released!
So clearly, what I have learned in writing this article is that I need to make a trip to the bookstore or library the second I get home. I haven’t felt this inspired to read in a long time, and now I have even more motivation to get through my finals! Hopefully you found something that sparks your interest too. Happy Reading!