Summer reading programs began in the 1890s as a way to encourage school children to read during their summer vacation and use the library and develop the habit of reading.
Clearly, the idea stuck.
I have fond memories of summer reading challenges at the library when I was young. Riding my bicycle there weekly to check out a new book – to get my new star to add to my growing collection upon returning my last book. I was insatiable, and my shiny rewards only fueled my desire to devour books even more.
Whether it is because this concept has become ingrained in our culture from our experience in our formative years or because the heat demands that we seek out a lightweight, breezy read to escape the hottest temperatures, summer is a time to slow down, relax and catch up on reading.
As you plan that last flight, resort holiday or pack the percolator for a morning cup of coffee by the campsite, here are a few recommendations to consider and a sneak peek at what I am starting next.
Summer Recommendation: Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
A tragic story about cults, those that get swept up in them, those that lead and the family and friends left behind. Kwon’s writing style and prose is worth the read alone, but the book delivers a powerful delve into how people search for something to fill a void after a loss. Be sure to read my impressions.
Summer TBR pile: Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
Summer Recommendation: The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
An inspiring memoir of an ‘ordinary’ couple who are thrust into an extraordinarily harrowing reality and circumstance. In the face of adversity, they chose to be brave and embrace the remaining precious moments and against all odds found life.
Summer TBR pile: Wisdom of Shamans: What the Ancient Masters Teach Ws about Love and Life by Don Jose Ruiz
Summer Recommendation: Goth by Otsuichi
Focusing on the darker side of humanity the main focus borders on the line of obsession with murder and death. Beautifully written and creepy, this Japanese novel packs a powerful punch for those interested in horror, mystery and macabre.
Summer TBR pile: The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Summer Recommendation: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Set in Nazi, Germany in 1939 this novel is a new classic. The books takes on a unique perspective as it is narrated by Death, who also foreshadows the story and gives a slight break to the heavy emotional component otherwise prevalent in the story. Beautifully written, this is a real tear-jerker but worth it. Check out my book club questions and guide.
Summer TBR pile: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Summer Recommendation: Circe by Madeline Miller
A fantastic reimagining of the life of Circe that captivates the reader from the start and ends with a breathtaking finale. Miller explores an alternative perspective of the goddess, full of flaws and imperfections that make her much more humanlike and relatable. Be sure to read my full review.
Summer TBR pile: Mythos by Stephen Fry
Summer Recommendation: Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Night Circus is an enchanting story of a drawn-out duel between two magicians, centered around a mysterious circus and the wonders of imagination and dreams. Vivid descriptions and lyrical pose give life to the impossible. Be sure to read my full review.
Summer TBR pile: Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson