8 Books You Should Read This Summer

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1. Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom

This is a short memoir that will resonate with you for years. Albom’s favorite professor from college, Morrie, is an old man battling ALS. Although Mitch hasn’t seen him in almost 20 years, he decides to visit his ancient teacher, and during his visits, their last class together commences. Morrie teaches Mitch about life, dying, and the most important quality a human can possess: compassion. The lessons Morrie gives stuck with me a long time after I read that book. It’s a simple, yet deep memoir.

2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

It’s impossible not to get caught up with these characters. They are just so real, so complex, flawed and relatable. Three women bond over their children entering kindergarten, but what takes place is far from innocent. Towards the end of this book, you won’t be able to put it down. As you are exposed to the secrets of each of these women, you will absolutely eat up every scene, exchange of dialogue, and intense events.

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Everyone wants to fit in, especially Don, the main character of this quirky novel. With what you suspect to be a slight case of autism, Don is a genetics professor and genius, for lack of a better word. He is ridiculously intelligent, yet his whole life is formulaic and lacks any spontaneity. He is socially inept, lacks human emotion, and cannot grasp why he isn’t accepted. His whole life is so methodic that he finally creates a survey in order to find a wife (see: the Wife Project) while weeding out anyone who doesn’t fit his strict criteria. Then comes Rosie, who is the complete opposite of what Don would want in a partner. Need I say more? You find yourself desperately rooting for these two unconventional characters. 

4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is one of those amazing and heartfelt books that will become one of your instant favorites. The whole entire text is told from the point of view of a dog. Sounds weird, but it makes for incredible narration and observation. The dog awaits his death so he can finally reincarnate as a human and become what he’s always dreamt of being, a race car driver, just like his owner. This dog is now one of my favorite characters in literature – you’re on his side the whole entire novel.

5. Forever by Pete Hamill

If I had a gun to my head and had to pick a favorite book, this would be it. I’m not even getting into the summary… just promise you’ll read it.

6. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Everyone’s so obsessed with the show, but whether you are or not, the memoir is definitely worth the read. Keep in mind though that the show is loosely based on the story line. Don’t get thrown off that events take place differently. Kerman is a great writer who makes acute observations, is incredibly self-aware, and recognizes the good in everyone. The experience she has in jail is interesting and eye-opening, and forces you to look at humanity a bit differently. The bond she makes with each of these women is touching, and leads you to seriously question how you would bide in jail yourself. 

7. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

I know this is something else that most people have seen on the screen. Shutter Island is a brilliant movie that blows your mind with all the twists and turns. I saw the movie before reading the book and no lie, it didn’t ruin it for me in the least. In fact, the book is more intense, and even though I knew the ending, I was still in awe at the execution of it in text. Even seeing the movie before makes the book that much better because you appreciate all of the most subtle of clues left by Lehane. His style of writing is so captivating and so strong it feels like you’re on a rollercoaster the whole time. 

8. What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng By Dave Eggers

I read this a long time ago, but it has stayed with me ever since. This book is based on the true story of Valentino, one of the “Lost Boys” who came to the states after fleeing war and genocide in Africa. The reality that he lived in is absolutely harrowing, and you have no choice but to appreciate everything that you have in your own life. You don’t have to worry about being eaten by lions, or dying of starvation, or getting shot at by troops. You don’t have to worry about your village being burnt to the ground, your family and friends slaughtered, your hope for a future growing increasingly dim. You sympathize nonstop throughout this book as you’re touched by this man’s life, but you’re still astounded at his resilience and endless hope for a better life. TC mark

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