Summer provides a glorious time when you aren’t burdened down with five papers due in a week or an ever-increasing reading syllabus that brings tears to your eyes. Here’s a comprehensive list of books you should read this summer, whether you want to experiment a little or just enjoy a light-hearted laugh. Whether you’re spending your summer travelling, working or relaxing at a cottage, these books will provide entertainment during your break.
City of Heavenly Fire — Many of us have kept up-to-date with Cassandra Clare’s first series of teen novels, and this summer’s last installment promises a dramatic end of the Shadowhunters. Clary, Jace, and Simon must face Clary’s evil brother in order to save their slowly crumbling world. Although the audience is mostly adolescent girls, The Mortal Instruments series is one many of us grew up with and is definitely worth finishing, even if it is just to make sure not all series end in a heartbreaking, Divergent-style ending. Not That Kind of Girl — Lena Dunham’s advice book is sure to be full of giggles, chuckles, laughs and more laughs. As the clever creator of HBO’s Girls, Dunham has established herself as a comedic icon when talking about the struggles of people in their 20s. Not That Kind of Girl guarantees more of Dunham’s smart, witty self-reflections about veganism and existentialism that may be more useful and enjoyable to read than patronizing tips coming from dieticians or therapists.
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden — If you’re looking for a fun, slightly ridiculous read this summer, then this novel is for you. The girl mentioned in the title is Nombeko Mayeki, who was born in a poor area of South Africa but escapes with a bag full of diamonds and a head full of ideas. Nombeko’s cunning and intelligence take her around the world to the heart of political scandals. This adventurous, hilarious novel is perfect for reading on a sunny afternoon.
Thirty Girls — Susan Minot’s latest novel is a more socially conscious read for the summer. Minot follows the story of Esther, a Ugandan girl kidnapped by the infamous Joseph Kony’s army, and of Jane, a white journalist sent to Uganda to follow the story of the kidnapping. The stories of these two women become entwined as the novel progresses and each must overcome the crises they are faced with. Thirty Girls brings to light some difficult topics and will leave you admiring the depth of human strength and resilience.
Life After Life — Perhaps you want your summer reads to be a little more serious and interesting. If you’re looking to experiment and don’t mind a little time travel, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is a thrilling novel that will make you appreciate the power of an author. This novel follows Ursula Todd, a woman who is having a big problem: she keeps dying. She dies all the time and wakes up with an entirely new future before her. By throwing away an orderly timeline, Atkinson is able to place Ursula in a variety of situations while showing the reader how chronology and certainty are not essential to the creation of a great book.
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