10 Books to Read this Summer

10 Books to Read this Summer

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I don’t know about anyone else, but my ideal summer consists of warm weather, floppy beach hats, sunglasses, and a really good book. But when you’re in this kind of setting, at this distinct level of Zen, you can’t just pick out any old book off the shelf. No, you need a summer book.

What’s a summer book, you ask? A summer book is entertaining, it’s light, and above all else, it’s fun. This could mean you pick something off the Bestseller list. It could mean that you’re on the hunt for a murder mystery. It could mean you want something kind of steamy. “Summer book” doesn’t really narrow it down too much, but I think I can break it down into 10 categories.

Here are 10 books I’ve devoured that I think would go perfectly with sandy toes and the smell of sunblock.

1. The New Release: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Release date: July 14

Harper Lee, writer of everyone’s favorite classic novel, has written a much-anticipated sequel. I know, it hasn’t come out yet, but I still think it deserves to be on the list. To Kill a Mockingbird was probably the only book you actually enjoyed reading in high school English class, and now there’s about to be more to love. Go Set a Watchman is set to release on July 14. If there’s one book you buy this summer, make it this one.

Go Set a Watchman is set 20 years after the events that took place in To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout, a character we’ve already fallen in love with, is all grown up, and returning to her hometown. Like its predecessor, Go Set a Watchman is expected to become a classic.

Go Set a Watchman received 4/5 stars on Amazon.

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2. The Bestseller: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been sitting at the top of every Bestsellers’ list for what seems like forever. It has sold a lot of books (2 million copies in just 4 months, according to the Wall Street Journal), and has gained mass popularity. Summer is the perfect time to stay in the loop, and reading this thriller will do just that.

The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel, an alcoholic, who takes the train every morning and sees the same couple eating breakfast in their home by the train tracks. One day, Rachel sees something different and disturbing. The woman she usually sees is gone. Believing she’s a witness to a crime, Rachel gets caught up in the investigation, but is she the most reliable witness?

The Girl on the Train received 4/5 stars on Amazon. And with the growing popularity of the novel, DreamWorks has picked it up for a movie adaptation. Read The Girl on the Train this summer, and you’ll be all set to see it in theaters.

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3. The Page-Turner: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Looking for a book you can fly through in just a few days? Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is your best bet. Fangirl is about Cath, a girl starting college. She’s completely obsessed with a Harry Potter-esque book series, and she writes fanfiction like it’s her job.

Rainbow Rowell is known for writing realistic, lifelike, jump-out-of-the-page characters, so Fangirl is likely to keep you captivated until the final page. Cath’s story will bring you back to your freshman year of college, and it might even make you want to reconnect with all the fandoms you’ve left behind.

Fangirl received 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.

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4. The Summer Fling: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

For when you want your book to be as hot as your summer, Wallbanger by Alice Clayton is a great choice. No, I’m not going to recommend Fifty Shades of Grey, the most popular erotic novel out there. I’ve never read it, but it seems more like a wintertime read. Wallbanger on the other hand, is definitely written for summer. It’s fast-paced, funny, and obviously, erotic.

Wallbanger follows a woman named Caroline, an interior designer who has just moved into her dream apartment. Everything seems perfect, until she’s hit in the head with a picture frame in the middle of the night. For weeks, Caroline is kept up at night by her mysterious neighbor’s sexcapades. Through the thin wall she shares with Simon (whose name she only knows through her accidental eavesdropping), she hears voices, giggles, and lots of and lots of banging.

Wallbanger is not a serious work of fiction, but it’s a very funny and entertaining read. On Amazon, it received 4.5/5 stars.

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5. The Campfire Story: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Yeah, yeah, everyone knows about Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, bestselling novel-turned blockbuster film. Gone Girl was a great book and a great movie, but Flynn’s got a lot more up her sleeve than you might think. Dark Places is on a whole new level of dark, creepy, bloody, and overall, unsettling, making it the best story you could read when you’re feeling a little suspense this summer.

It’s the story of the Days, a family that was brutally massacred inside of their rural farmhouse. The lone survivor was the youngest child, Libby, who has since grown up believing that her older brother was responsible for her orphan status. Now all grown up, Libby begins to doubt the investigation. And she discovers that there are others out there with proof of her brother’s innocence.

The general plotline is nothing new, but the way in which the story is told makes this novel a stand-out. The novel is goes back and forth between modern-day, in which Libby is searching for answers, and the past, which details what went on before the brutal murder. Readers discover that nothing is quite as it seemed, and that nobody walked away without a little blood on their hands. Dark Places received 4/5 stars on Amazon.

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6. The Laugh-Out-Loud: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Most likely, you’ve run into some of Allie Brosh’s work on the internet at some point or another. I mean, if you don’t recognize those drawings on the cover of this book, where have you even been? Clean all the things! No? Okay, well it’s time you got acquainted.

Brosh’s novel, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, is a collection of stories and drawings that will make you laugh out loud. You’ll find that you can relate to many of her stories, and this will only make you laugh even harder. Brosh also drew the intentionally-crude drawings to go along with the stories, and reading this book in full color really makes for a unique experience.

Maybe it’s best not to bring this one to the beach with you, because people might think you’re psychologically unhinged when you’re cracking up in your beach chair. Hyperbole and a Half received 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.

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7. The Tear-Jerker: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Ever get that urge to just let out a good, long cry? Well, summer is the best time to do just that. And, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close gives you a pretty reasonable excuse to do so.

Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel is the story of 9-year-old Oskar, an intelligent, curious, and really funny boy whose father is killed in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Oskar deals with his father’s death in the only way he knows how: He sets off on an adventure to find the lock to match a mysterious key that belonged to his father. Oskar travels alone across New York City, visiting and interviewing strangers in their homes. Oskar’s story will make you laugh, cry, and cry, and cry. But you’ll be glad you read it. It received a 4/5 stars on Amazon.

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 8. The Extraterrestrial: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

You know those cool summer nights where you’re looking up at the stars, pondering the universe and all that it holds? Well, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a lot like that. This comedic science fiction novel was published in 1979, but its charm and wit will never fade with time.

Hitchhiker’s is about Arthur Dent, a man who goes on an journey through space after the Earth is destroyed to clear the way for a galactic freeway. Arthur and his companion, Ford Prefect, navigate the universe with Ford’s handy guide, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Explore new worlds, meet new creatures, and discover the importance of always carrying a towel with this comedic sci-fi novel. As silly as this book sounds (and is), it’s undeniably entertaining, and received a 4.5/5 on Amazon.

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9. The Contemporary: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

It’s summer, and you’re feeling young, fresh, cool and maybe even a little alternative. Feed that feeling by reading a contemporary novel, like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.

This is the story of 15-year-old Christopher, who is on the Autism Spectrum (the exact disorder is never stated). Christopher lives with his father, and believes that his mother has been dead for 2 years. One day, Christopher discovers the neighbor’s dog is dead in the yard. He begins investigating the incident, recording his findings in his notebook. Through the investigation, Christopher discovers more about the world and about himself than he ever thought imaginable. With diagrams, prime numbers, and a unique perspective, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is an adventure you can’t miss. It received 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

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10. The Classic: Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O’Connor

Classic novels aren’t typically regarded as page-turners. They tend to be heavy, long, confusing, and boring. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a good classic novel, but during the summer, I’m looking for something a little bit more fun. Well, not every classic has to be dull. Flannery O’ Connor’s collection of short stories is the perfect classic to read on the beach.

The stories in Everything That Rises Must Converge tackle tough topics like race and religion, in a light, enjoyable, and hilarious way. But beware, if you’re not into dark humor, you might want to skip this one. Although the stories are packed with comedy, there’s also a whole lot of tragedy.

Take this book with you to your beach vacation, and you’ll look pretty sophisticated. Everything That Rises Must Converge received 4.5/5 stars on Amazon.

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What’s on your summer reading list this year? Comment below!

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Up-and-coming adult human. Born and raised in Columbus, with a hint of Athens charm. Currently reading 16 books at once. I blog and tweet between meals.