By Mallory Murray
Photographs by Serena Pu
Find yourself with some extra time this summer? Pick up one of these great reads and enjoy!
If you’re at the beach
Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
In this elegant historical novel, two heroines, one from pre-war era Europe and the other from Roaring 60’s America, find themselves in an unlikely friendship sparked over a rare Mercedes Roadster. A tale of star-crossed lovers hiding from a German Nazi husband fuses with the story of a young woman on the run from a dangerous past. Williams’ writing is beautiful and poetic, and she manages to keep the reader on their toes. This novel is perfect for those who love romance, intrigue, and adventure.
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by BK Novak
Recommended by my friend Emily:
One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories is the perfect feel-good book to read while lounging on the beach or sitting in a park. It’s a compilation of short stories that range from monologues to comical blurbs to serious life advice. While each story is different from the last, there are intertwining themes throughout the book. My favorite part is that even if you’re not feeling one particular story, you can quickly skim it and move on to the other stories you’ll love.
If you’re snuggled at home
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Recommended by my friend Miranda:
Short, sweet, and sentimental, Tuesdays with Morrie fills the reader with a combination of deep insight and emotion. A surprisingly quick and easy read, it is full of wisdom and advice applicable to anyone at any age. The heart-wrenching ending will leave any human soul in tears, but you will pull through, ultimately inspired to spend more time appreciating the people you love.
Fun Fact: It’s also a movie (but you should definitely read the book first!).
The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
This trilogy combines multiple love triangles and the political turmoil of a dystopian world into a thrilling, suspenseful read. The kingdom of Illéa needs a new queen and in order to find one, thirty-five common girls are Selected to go live at the palace and compete for the prince’s heart. America Singer did not want to be Selected, but as she gets to know the prince, she starts to realize she could gain a powerful connection. While the girls are battling for the prince’s heart inside the palace, rebels attack the nation daily fighting against the King’s rule. An easy, engaging read, you won’t be able to put these books down until you find out who has been Selected and who will win the rebel’s war. Better order all three to get started.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
You know John Green from his Hollywood hits like The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. Looking for Alaska employs Green’s thrilling writing style to capture the essence of carefree youth and explore how teenagers sculpt their values. Controversial for its sexual content,
Green tackles the complexity of human life, thought, and relationships. Looking for Alaska is a must read with a non-stop, dynamic plot line and passionate characters.
If you’re into romance
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
One of my favorite books, this Austen classic centers around a passionate, stubborn, and independent young woman. Elizabeth Bennet lives with her large family in the countryside of 19th century England. Elizabeth’s wit sets her apart in the high society of suburban Britain and she finds herself clashing with the stern disposition of the newcomer to the neighborhood, the charming and wealthy Mr. Darcy. Helping her sister through love and heartbreak, Elizabeth quickly discovers she is not immune to the dynamic world of infatuation. Essentially a story of independence, sacrifice, and true love, this scandalous and poignant novel is a must-read this summer!
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
An epic love story of two people who should never have met, Me Before You forces readers to confront their own humanity and question the true meaning of love. When Will Traynor is paralyzed in a devastating accident, he no longer wants to live. His mother hires a nurse-aid, Louisa, whose flamboyant personality instantly clashes with Will’s stubborn, witty disposition. Over the next six months, Louisa will learn terrible secrets and take part in Will’s adventures. This book is an incredibly raw story of love, empathy, and family that will have you laughing at one moment and crying the next. Read it before it becomes a movie later this year!
If you want something thought-provoking
Americanah by Ngozi Adichie
Recommended by my friend Percy:
Americanah is a story of migration and return as told by a Nigerian woman who leaves home to make her way in America. Adichie, a celebrated feminist, draws upon her own experiences as a Nigerian woman in America to explore the themes of racism and cultural discrimination in the United States.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
The Things They Carried is a collection of stories detailing the experiences of the Alpha Unit members during the Vietnam War. Haunting and masterfully written, this novel forces the reader to challenge the way they think about war and focus on what happens to soldiers after deployment. O’Brien draws a fuzzy line between reality and terror as he follows the soldiers’ experiences, thoughts, and reactions. You will find yourself mentally and emotionally invested as you travel with the soldiers through a terrible conflict. O’Brien attempts to demonstrate the healing power of storytelling, and you will learn that the soldiers carried with them so much more than just weapons and gear.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is set in a supposedly Utopian society where children are taught to conform, adults live only for sensual pleasures, and a man is termed a savage because he reads Shakespeare and thinks differently than others. Huxley constructs a society of pure pleasure that forces the reader to question the true meaning of happiness. I loved this book because it is extremely engaging and incredibly thought-provoking. Huxley highlights the danger of conformity in eliminating and alienating individuality and demonstrates that perfection comes at a price we should not be willing to pay.