17 People On The One Book You Should Definitely Read This Summer

With Memorial Day right around the corner, Summer Reading season is approaching Faster Than The Speed Of Love. And since such a major part of summer reading season is obnoxiously forcing recommendations on everyone you encounter, I figured I’d ask some young #tastemakers to share their suggestions with the world.

The list below is rather diverse in style — from comedy, to business, to self-help, to fantasy, to classic literature-y books that you could smartly reference at “functions,” there might just be something for everyone. Two homies even recommended the same exact book, so I guess you should probably read that one if you haven’t already.

Feel free to add your own recommendations in the ‘mments. Happy reading, and don’t forget to put on that sunscreen — you may not think it matters now, but think about how annoying 54 year-old you will be if you spend every hot day warning your nephews about how much you regret not lathering yourself with that SPF 15.



The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg

By and large, self-help books suck. The Power of Habit is, thank god, an exception. Written by New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, the book examines how our lives function as a collection of habits, and how we can hack these habits to better our careers and personalities.

Finish it in an afternoon, test its methods for a week, and you could end up with some habits (of the non-self-destructive kind) that last into the new season.

– Andy Moore


One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories: B.J. Novak

As the title insinuates it’s a compilation of short stories that are hilarious and/or thought-provoking. Seriously, I had to read it at home because I looked like a madman laughing loud in public while reading. Also, the best part is that you can finish it in a day or two and feel accomplished about your hasty completion of a book!

– Christopher Hudspeth


Breakfast at Tiffanys: Truman Capote

I always reread “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” over the summer. I don’t know why — maybe Holly’s parties always remind me of the summer, but it’s just a ritual. it’s an easy read, it’s fun to get lost in an old-timey New York when real New York is stifling and muggy and gross, and if you have only ever seen the movie, trust me — Capote’s prose is much less Pinterest-y on paper.

– Ella Ceron


The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive): Brandon Sanderson

This book is massive. So plenty of reading material. Sanderson creates a world so deep and tangible you can’t help but feel a part of it. It’s beautiful, perilous and broken, just like his characters. Though he takes the long path in getting there, by the middle of the book you’re entirely invested in his three main protagonists, flipping madly through the pages at 2am to find out what happens next. 

– Brianne McDonald

The Way Of Kings
The Way Of Kings (Stormlight Archive)


Lolita: Vladimir Nabokov

The most beautiful book I’ve ever read, and in my imagination as beautiful a book as is possible. You know the basic premise, but if you have not yet picked up this masterpiece, do yourself the favor this summer, and enjoy.

– Alex Magnin


Hygiene and The Assassin: Amelie Nothomb

A morbidly obese author whose misanthropy is matched by his brilliance is diagnosed with a terminal disease, and journalists rush to attempt to get to the bottom of his mysterious past. One journalist in particular has done her research, and proves to be a worthy match as the two play mind games and the story unfolds. This is one of the wittiest novels I’ve ever read, easy to tear through, full of casual genius, great dialogue, highly recommended for fans of Oscar Wilde.

– ZK Lowenfels


President Me: The America That’s In My Head: Adam Carolla

Adam Carolla’s last two books have made the New York Times best seller list, and this one is looking to make it on the list as well. Carolla has been providing countless hours of free content to listeners through his multiple podcasts, and has recently been hosting a new show on Spike called Catch A Contractor which recently got picked up for a second season. Carolla is so pragmatic that I believe he sees the world in math equations so his views on what to do with America should be  a very fun read.

– Toby Davis


Who Owns the Future?: Jaron Lanier

I dunno about you, but I am pretty pumped for having robot servants catering to my every whim.  Sometimes, you wonder though: What happens though when they take all of our jobs? In Who Owns The Future, Jaron Lanier explains how we can marry technological advancement and human dignity to create a world with robot servants AND financial analysts

-Joe McGro



Invisible Monsters: Chuck Palahniuk

It’s not new, but it’s painfully underrated. It was Chuck’s first novel and originally rejected by his publisher for being too dark. It has some awesome twists and is arguably his best novel to date.

– Rob Fee


Democracy in America: Alexis De Tocqueville

The French sent De Tocqueville to America in 1831 and he returned nine months later with this dissertation on what separates America from other countries. Philosophy is the easiest way to summarize complicated theories surrounding politics and economics, and this should be considered the American Bible as it is a testament to how free people should think. Best quotes include “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money,” and “Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

– Nevi Rooks


The Art of Fielding: Chad Harbach

As my dad puts it, this book is about baseball, but not really. In actuality it’s about life, love, college, loss, and the incredible humanity and struggles/triumphs exemplified by sports. The Art of Fielding made me feel nostalgic for college, despite currently being in the midst of it. It beautifully and seamlessly mixes the cerebral quality of academia with the All-American sport of baseball to paint an idyllic, yet still honest portrait of a college campus.

– Francesca Saunders


The Razor’s Edge: W. Somerset Maugham

It’s about a young man named Larry Darrell, who returns from WWI shell-shocked after seeing a close friend in combat. After the war, Larry returns to Chicago and decides to renounce his upper class lifestyle and for a simpler life. He chooses to wander the cities of the world reading books on philosophy and simply “loafing,” much to the chagrin of his friends and family. Larry’s spiritual quest takes him from Chicago, to Paris, eastern Europe, and then to the Himalayas.

“The Razor’s Edge” covers themes about wealth, poverty, and spirituality during the Roaring Twenties and through the Depression that I think are still relevant today. This book is also one of the original “Finding Yourself” novels, but it lacks some of the pretentiousness that you find in modern novels of the same ilk.

– Brian Pisano


Lolita: Vladmir Nabakov

This novel sometimes has an unsavory reputation when people misidentify it as a love story about pedophilia. No, no, no, it is not about pedophilia. Okay, it kind of is — Humbert Humbert is a crotchety old man who is unhealthily obsessed with a young girl he calls Lolita, who also happens to be his stepdaughter. However, though the novel’s content might leave some squeamish, Nabokov’s writing is world-class. He artfully creates an unreliable narrator out of Humbert Humbert — at times, you even feel bad for the old man — and the imagery-rich language with which he writes is excellent. Lolita is literature at its best (for the record, Nabokov wrote it originally in French even though his native language is Russian — enough to make any of us feel bad about ourselves), and you can practically feel yourself getting smarter while you read it.

– Stephanie Karina


The Road: Cormac McCarthy

I recently forced someone to read The Stranger (Camus) and All the King’s Men (Warren), but in spite of that I’m going to have to suggestI’m going to have to suggest The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s incredible how much McCarthy can make you feel about his unnamed characters, and it’s incredible how empty the book can leave you. It’s not as seasonally appropriate as those other books but it’s concise, thought provoking, and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

– Weston Gardner

The Road
The Road


Moby Dick: Herman Melville

Moby Dick because if you can get through that then you can get through anything. I mean that in every way it could possibly be meant. It will also help you understand why modern fiction is terrible and why you should be fishing instead of reading it.

-James Barnes


The Opposite Of Loneliness: Marina Keegan

I just finished reading Marina Keegan’s The Opposite Of Loneliness. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, Marina was a very promising young writer who tragically passed away in 2012, days after her college graduation. To honor her impressive legacy (she had a job lined up at The New Yorker, wrote a play that was gonna be put up) her parents and professors at Yale put some of her best writings into a book. It’s very good, and makes you feel way too many emotions. If most books make you feel about 5 emotions, Marina’s makes you feel at least 11.

-Lance Pauker


Elliot Allagash: Simon Rich

It’s tough to teach old bitches new tricks, but Simon Rich’s Elliot Allagash had my book club gals and I taking a week off from gabbing about our fat husbands, theorizing about ABC’s Scandal, and spilling wine on ourselves.

Rich’s first novel is an absolute hoot. It chronicles Elliot Allagash, an insanely wealthy, martini-drinking, Machiavellian eighth grader, starting at a new school and, out of boredom, transforming the class nerd into the most popular kid through corruption and complete manipulation.

This book was so perfect for us, especially since Scandal’s on break for the summer, and we had a blast afterwards giggling over which one of our sons would benefit the most from an Allagash-ian makeover. No, no, JK, you guys, J.K. Rowling; the Luscious Ladies of Literature would never be that sassy. But it definitely wouldn’t be my Trevor; he’s far too handsome.

– Justin Gawel Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Lance Pauker

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