When you hear the word summer, certain images come to mind: lazy days spent lounging at the beach, swinging gently in the breeze on a hammock, sipping iced tea by the pool, not worrying about your next coursework writing assignment. What better way to complete the picture than an open book in front of you? It is the perfect time to catch up on your reading and explore other worlds without leaving the comfort of your home. Here are 5 good summer reads you might want to check out.
Rich People Problems, by Kevin Kwan
Have a laugh (or a barrelful) at the expense of the rich in this final installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan. It is satire at its funniest, exposing the various dramas of the Shang-Young clan as they scheme their way towards getting even richer at the death-bed of the matriarch that rules them all. Kwan shows that even when you are one of the richest families in Asia, you are still vulnerable to intrigues and crazy ex-wives. It is a plain but wickedly vivid portrayal of human nature at its worst, when having it all is simply not enough.
A Full Life, by Jimmy Carter
What better way to demonstrate how you can rise from humble beginnings to the heights of power than to recount the life history of someone who did just that? Former US President Jimmy Carter has written well over a score of books, but A Full Life is a fresh and revealing read about his journey from rural life in Georgia with no mod cons to presidential life in Washington, and how that journey shaped his presidency. At a time when Americans have little confidence in their politicians, Carter's anecdotes provide a much-needed fresh perspective on the human side of politics.
The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal
It is often difficult to appreciate the emotions of the people involved in unexpected death and sudden hope of new life. The story itself is simple: a young man is brain dead as a result of an accident, and his heart is donated to a woman who desperately needs it. However, the strength of the book is in the masterful use of language to provide the reader with a deep insight into the characters, forging a connection to people, and some never even make an appearance in the story. It explores the concept of grief, hope, and gratitude that you would hardly glimpse when you watch it on a television drama. It takes place over just twenty-four hours, yet it will leave you with food for thought for years to come.
Perennials, by Mandy Berman
Coming-of-age stories tend to be formulaic, but Mandy Berman manages to forge a new tract with Perennials by taking the usual summer-camp tripe and turning it on its head. Instead of pushing the idyllic best-friends-forever cliché, Berman explores what can happen when childhood friends grow up, and real-life issues come between them. Perennials centers around the friendship between street-smart city girl Rachel and shy suburban middle child Fiona, who first met as campers at Camp Marigold, and now return as counselors. The story is poignant, the language is witty, and the characters well developed. Camp Marigold will never be the same again.
How to Fall in Love With Anyone, by Mandy Len Catron
"Summer lovin'" may be a euphemism for a fling, but this collection of essays may just give you pause for reflection. Mandy Len Catron is the author of the essay "To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This" published in the New York Times, which went viral in 2015. In the essay, she posits that you can fall in love with anyone by answering 36 questions and looking each other in the eye without talking for four minutes. She has since been exploring the myths people believe about romance, love, falling in love, and intimacy, and How to Fall in Love with Anyone is the result of these ruminations. If you are struggling with your own romantic aspirations, this is the perfect book for your summer read.
About the Author
Laura Buckler is a freelance writer and blogger who regularly contributes book reviews for various sites. She lives vicariously through books, and doesn't wait for summer to read them, either. She has not put the 36 questions to the test, but plans to do so one day.